1st Nurse: "Kat, do you have any kids?"
2nd Nurse: "See, that's why."
Me: "Why what?"
1st Nurse: "Why you're so good-natured."
Me: "You lost me somewhere."
2nd Nurse: "When we page the other people in the middle of the night, they yell at us. You're just so nice all the time. It must be because you don't have kids."
A poor medical student was stuck on our service this week. It's really no place for her to be since there's very little supervision, and it's not really a good learning environment. I was trying to help her out Wednesday morning since she was just kind of left floundering all by herself.
Being a medical student sucks. During clinical rotations you only have a few weeks to find your way around, and may times physicians and nurses don't think it's worth their time to slow down and teach you anything since you're just going to leave. One of my more pompous preceptors told me once that he was offended that I wasn't logging his "pearls of wisdom" in a book to refer to throughout my training. Sometimes it's all you can do not to laugh.
So here you go, if there's any students or interns out there who have found their way to this website this is what I've learned painstakingly over the past few years:
- Invest in a good coffee maker, preferably one that you can set to automatic drip at 4:30 am.
- Live in a quiet neighborhood.
- Invest in drapes/blinds that block out light well so you can sleep during the day.
- Always arrive 15 minutes early and ready to work.
- If someone offers to let you go home early, leave and enjoy the extra free time.
- Keep in touch with your friends, and do fun things when you can.
- When you don't know something, look it up.
- Develop a good poker face. Nobody likes a doctor who exclaims "Holy Crap!" or gags when they take off a dressing and see someone's skin slide off.
- Never forget to say "Please" and "Thank you" when dealing with nurses, secretaries, or pretty much everyone. You may not be the smartest one they've ever encountered, but if you're a jerk, they won't forget it.
- Develop a thick skin-- the best revenge is to not let them get to you. There should only be a few people on the planet who's opinions matter to you and most likely the person currently cursing or screaming is not one of them.
- Don't point out that someone is practicing medical standards from 1950. Instead find ways to passively suggest other options. For example, "I read about _______, what do you think about trying that?"
- Take time to smile and talk to your patients, sometimes no one else is.