Monday, September 18, 2006

A Whole New Era

I realized the other day that up until now, I have held a very privileged title: Student. The Student is a special person who is nurtured in a loving relationship with the Teacher, another special individual. The Teacher gently admonishes the Student, guiding the Student toward lofty goals of learning and achievement, mollycoddling and spoonfeeding the whole time. This type of learning starts in pre-K and for me, didn't end until the end of the second year of medical school.

In the third year of medical school, though my title still says "Medical Student", my rank has changed. I am no longer a person to be taken by the hand and guided to knowledge. Nay, I am now a peon of the lowest sort. Nurses groan when they see me coming: "Oh Jesus no, it's a medical student. Lord save us!" Interns ditch us at the slightest excuse: "I can get my work done soooo much faster if I don't have to answer all those damn questions and correct all the mistakes those idiots make." And attendings? Ah, the attendings. See, an attending is not just a "Teacher". No, an attending is a Doctor. Their job is to heal the sick and cure the dying, not to deal with the lowly 3rd Year Medical Student, who is like a fungus growing between the attending's toes.

I had an attending pimp me through a case in the OR mercilessly--I said "I don't know" to the very first question, and he just kept going. One of the questions I actually answered correctly, and he said "No! It's BRCA-2, not BRCA-1!" If I were still the hallowed Student, I could go look up the answer (which I did anyway) and email the Teacher, saying "Sir, I found this information in regards to our discussion earlier." As I am a 3rd Year Medical Student, I would do the former under pain of death (or a Failing grade). Instead, I swallow hard and say "Thank you for that information, sir."

At our clinic, we have a nurse practitioner who covers 2 shifts a week. To be a nurse practitioner, you have to have at least an RN (minimum 2 years), possibly a bachelors (4 years), and a Masters in Nursing (2-3 years). In addition, this particular NP has a PhD (I know this because the initials are on her coat). Let it not be said that I have no respect for the position of Nurse Practitioner--these people work a long time to achieve that title.

However, this particular NP at our clinic is a real work of art. Since she has a PhD, she introduces herself as "Doctor [X], the Nurse Practitioner". I'm not even sure what that means, and I'm in a health profession; patients routinely look bewildered at this introduction and mostly call her "Doctor" (which seems to be her goal). When a patient calls me "Doctor", I correct them; she does not.

I probably wouldn't have noticed the above quirk, but this same NP seems to delight in raking 3rd Year Medical Students over the coals. She barged into a patient's room while I was in there, grabbed a prescription from me and said (loudly) "You wrote the prescription wrong!" She fixed the error with a flourish and handed it back to the patient's dad, saying "I'm sure glad I saw that it was wrong!" In the hallway, she lectured me on the error I had made, using the word "wrong" at least 6 more times, just in case I didn't hear it the first time. I'm wrong a lot. I know this. I don't mind being told that I'm wrong. I just prefer being told in a nice manner, preferably very quietly behind a closed door so that NO ONE could possibly overhear. Seriously, there was no reason to loudly inform the patient's father, more than once, that I, me personally, no one but me, had written that prescription wrong. (Also, the error in question was very small, and the prescription would most likely have been filled, correctly, no questions asked as written.) In one afternoon, this NP managed to loudly correct each of us three lowly 3rd Year Medical Students. At one point, I literally waved a chart in her face for five minutes while she and the other ladies swapped stories about their weddings. HEL-lo, it's Friday afternoon at 3:30, you ladies can socialize later, but if you don't see my patient soon it will be after 5 when ALL of us get to leave (things move slowly at this clinic).

My grade from my last surgical rotation is still pending. By "pending", I mean that apparently the faculty who graded me have not turned in my evaluation yet. Nor have they turned in the evals for the students who rotated through the first month. If these were "Teachers", the people in charge of turning in grades would fuss at them--"I know you're busy, but your job includes turning in those evals." Instead, these are "Doctors", "Surgeons" even. No one would dare suggest that these noble persons were not doing their jobs or were not doing enough work.

Someday, I'll be one of them. I'll be a Doctor. Then you will all bow to me as to a God.

The Fine Print: Naturally, this was satire. Fiction. Lies, all of it, lies. Except the parts that weren't. I've had lovely attendings and very few assholes. I just wanted to attempt to be funny. Laugh! Laugh, damn you!

Fuckers. If you won't laugh then all 2 of you who read this blog should go the fuck away.


Allison said...

don't tell me to go the fuck away! bitch!

Jenn said...

did you laugh? no? then you know what to do.

Barbie said...

another nurse story:
attneding to me: ok, that patient needs a repeat echo.
me in chart: repeat echocardiogram-evaluate pulmonary P
nurse to me after reading chart:are you SURE you want that? *hateful glare that i am distracting her from her conversation about her awesomely long fake nails*
me to her:*suprised expression* ummm, yea. Dr X asked for it.
nurse:*huff* *puts chart aside so Dr X can review it, b/c I am obviously an idiot*
15 minutes later (all the while pnt waiting in room)
nurse to Dr: so for the pnt in room 1 you want an echo?
Dr: yes
nurse:*finally does her job*