Sunday, September 16, 2007


I've noticed that there are a lot of people in health care that take shots at medical students and younger residents while they can. As a resident gains more seniority these people begin to behave differently and almost cower from their gaze. Being one of these students who has received harrassment from various nurses, techs, and assistants I can understand how one might get riled up when you're the object of another's fun.

But that's just how it goes during this process. We have almost no power over anyone, can't really get on someone for being a jerk, and have to simply suck it up. Or get flustered, let the person know they got the best of you, and realize that you've now become the "joke bitch" for that floor.

A friend of mine has been given a rather hard time during her Sub-I from just about everyone. The latest was from a tech who prodded her into anger by insinuating that she wasn't cut out for medicine after a comment she made. My advice, had I given it, would be to just suck it up, ignore the insults, and try to keep the chip on her shoulder from getting bigger.

Because if we were to allow every instance of humiliation at the hands of "lesser people" get to us then we'd be demon asses and bitches by the time we're finished with residency.

Part of training to become a boarded physician is to learn limits. When those above us do it, they do it in hopes of keeping us grounded, well aware of our limitations, and more vigilant the next time. When it's done by those below us (like techs, MA's, and the like) they're doing it while they can, because they know in a few short years they won't be able to say one negative word without being severely castigated.

So let the fuckers make fun and just continue to improve. Reacting simply makes them feel more justified and makes you appear insecure about your level of knowledge.


Old MD Girl said...

Sometimes easier said than done, my friend. Good thoughts to keep in mind to keep from letting your annoyance show, though.

Doc's Girl said...

I think it's just plain stupid how staff treat the residents/med students sometimes. Especially when the docs/future docs don't know something, some staff tend to forget that being a student and being a resident--hell, even working in the medical field in general, is always going to be a learning process!

(...and...I'm sure if they were getting paged at 4am while they were fast asleep for something silly, they would be upset about it, too!)

Rory said...

I'm just glad that physicians are never condescending towards techs. ever.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you call techs etc. "below you". I don't get it. As a junior resident I treat everyone with respect and everyone reciprocates. I take the time to teach nurses about cases when they ask and they will give me advice on how to manage something I've never seen before.

Medicine isn't about's about teamwork.

And yes...if I had to say it an experienced resp. tech is "above" me in regards to airway management and an experienced nurse is "above" me in their assessment.

OMDG said...

To wussy anon who wouldn't sign a name:

I don't think MSG cares whether *you* abuse the med students who you encounter (though you probably do and don't realize it/think it's abuse). I think he was just providing tips for coping when it does happen.

There's a hierarchy in every workplace. That's just how life is. AND that's why the teams function well.

Consider this the one way in which I can disagree with a resident and not ruin my grades!

Nurse K said...

Remember, we lowly staff nurses "suck it up" every day when med students are around (at least in the ER) because the med student assessment is usually very detailed, yet very slow and doesn't yield me any orders sometimes for many minutes following the assessment because each case has to be discussed with the doctor. I'm someone very interested in speed and moving product, so to speak. Med students slow down my groove to an agonizingly slow pace.

Today, on the slowest known shift of all time, the med student's patients were waiting 1 hour for orders to be entered, and the patients just tended to by the physician were waiting less than 15 minutes. Yes, I was keeping track in my head. I was bored.

Should people trash-talk you? No, but an entire department is delaying treatment of patients for your sake and your sake alone. This causes back-up that WE have to deal with. A "thank you" every once in awhile would be appreciated.

PS: I like the occasional med student because it's the only chance I get to work with people MY AGE.

Noel Hastings said...

I think EVERYONE is right.

1. No one is above or below, but there IS a hierarchy. Just life, but I try and treat everyone with respect, whether I write orders for them or I take orders from them.

2. Students can learn a lot from others in all fields and we can teach a lot too.

3. Everyone in the hospital is not being inconvenienced for OUR benefit, it is all for the patients. If no one trained us where would you go when you are sick. BUT, I know I slow people down and that is part of being at a teaching hospital. I am sorry it is frustrating and I tell people this when I bring brownies to my nursing team after a hard few days of me being under their feet. Still, it is part of the job in a teaching hospital.

4. I have found being friendly and courteous with a good dose of humor goes a long way. Does it stop all harassment? No. But for those people I simply feel sorry for them that they have that much bitterness inside and I try harder to accept them. If you have studied Aikido, you will know what I mean. Don't meet anger with anger, it does not work.

Anonymous said...

HA! this post is so appropriate. a nurse tried to deliberately run me over with a patient bed today (with a patient in it) because i "stepped in the way."

i was standing with my team in the hallway long before she decided to turn down the hall to turn me into a red X of catastrophe.

i've been lucky. most people at the hospitals i work at are just really awesome re: teamwork and mutual respect - regardless of what educational degree one has. but to be a target for some pissed off nurse who i'd never seen before in my life? ridiculous.

even my senior noticed and told her to "play nice" and then told me i had to excuse her because she was hispanic. last time i checked, ethnicity was never an excuse to be an asshole.


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