Recently there was a week in which the hospital staff were shown how much their work was appreciated through various means. These included cake and ice cream day, free lunch, day, game day, etc. You know, feel good stuff that mostly consisted of feeding people.
I thought it a good idea since many of the people working in the hospital feel undervalued by the current system and this could boost employee moral. However, what I didn’t anticipate was getting my self-esteem beat-down a couple notches during the week.
One day when I’d forgotten my lunch I decided to take advantage of the free food being served in the cafeteria. I entered the long line of various colored scrubs and talked with some of the nurses with whom I’d worked with in various rotations. As I tried to collect the food being offered the server gave me a rather hesitant look. She then asked, clearly displaying her annoyance:
“You’re a medical student?” (said very slowly and with disdain - try it...it's fun)
Curious as to the reason behind this unnecessary interrogation I answered in the affirmative with a brilliant smile. After all, a smile always works on these types of assholes -right? Almost instantaneously I wished that I had replied differently.
The server proceeded to launch into a full blown rant about the reasons for the appreciation week, the people it catered to, and that, as a medical student, I was not one of those people. With this stunning, newfound, and ridiculous knowledge I was summarily excused from the line and told to purchase my lunch from the cafeteria with all “the rest of the patients and stuff”.
This infuriated me. Not part of the hospital staff? Hmmm. Do I not work here? Do I not pay to take care of patients and other items that other staff members get paid to do? How then am I not considered worthy of your free hamburgers for lunch? Honestly. I want to know.
Truly there was some distaste left in my mouth from that experience. Medical students, apparently, are not considered part of the “team” or “personnel” or even the dental students (as many were receiving their food while clearly displaying their dental school logos on their khaki scrubs) of the hospital. Rather I’m right there with the people I get histories, physicals, and rectal exams on – except I’m paying for the honor without the blanket of insurance to pad the damage.
So I purchased my lunch with borrowed money that I will pay back at a later time with accrued interest. Because, clearly, I don’t need to be appreciated for the work I perform - smirk.
I really feel appreciated now! Thanks!