Saturday, May 13, 2006

School of Incompetency

There are many things I love about my medical school. Its location in one a large medical center is ideal. I have had some excellent professors, excellent and caring course directors, and great preceptorship opportunities. For the most part, the administrators seem to listen to students; when things go wrong, they listen to us and try to correct the problem.

However, therein lies part of the issue: the lack of foresight into what could potentially be a problem. For example: we have a very secure grade website. It can only be accessed with a digital ID, stored on an eToken, used on a computer with the software to download the ID. This data is then password protected. Great, right? Well, sorta. It's only great if they actually upload the grades to the website. It turns out that this uploading of grades is a volunteer job, unassigned to any actual worker. The departments can all turn in their grades, but some nameless, faceless person deep in the bowels of the IT department has to actually type them into the computer. Either that or it's all done by fairies. Very slow fairies. Our grades came in on the pharmacology exam around Thursday, over a week ago; I was finally able to access mine tonight. Why the fuss? For me, the fuss is in being OCD and wanting to know my grade. However, there are people in the class who needed to schedule the remediation test who would have been much more inconvenienced. (I'm just really anal that way.)

Then there's today's example. I'm supposed to show up at 8 am on Monday for a two-day long "Technical Skills" class, where I'll get to poke various classmates in the arm and hope that whomever pokes my arm does a good job. To date, all the communication I've received about this class was the email 2 months ago telling me that I got the May dates. I know I'm supposed to be there from 8-5 for two days, but where? Doing exactly what? Should I bring my white coat? Stethoscope, otoscope, ophthalmoscope? Extra bandages? A lunch? Will I get time to go eat lunch? These are important questions, especially those about the food. I get very cranky if I miss a meal, especially when some moron is poking around in my arm veins with a needle.

I might not be so worried about this if this lady coordinating the class hadn't already displayed amazing powers of incompetence. She requests the class to email her back with their first choice of session (of 3), so we do. There are over 200 of us, so this is an arduous process, I understand. Yet, oh wait, uh, um, it's your JOB. Don't send me a snippy reply when I do what you asked me to do. Don't be bitchy with students emailing you to try to swap dates because they're getting married on that date. My favorite, though, was when she sent out the roster list, and my name wasn't on the May dates. It was in June, conveniently located the day I come back from the wedding as a Mrs. and then proceed to my honeymoon. I emailed her frantically, waving my confirmatory email as proof of her error; she finally said "oh, don't worry about it, you're in the May session". No updated roster, no further emails.

Can you blame me for panicking a little? I started to think, what if I didn't get an email because she forgot? What if I don't get to practice poking people and they don't let me be a third year? GAH! But nobody else got an email, either, so at 2 in the morning, I finally found an email address belonging to a "Course Director" for this thing and emailed her, begging for information. We'll see. Perhaps I'll show up on Monday to find 70 med students wandering the halls in varying states of professional/casual beach attire, some (like me, the aforementioned anal one) carrying bags of medical equipment, others without even a pen in their tiny shorts and tube top.

So yeah, sometimes I love my medical school. Others...

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