Every medical student is really a bit apprehensive when he/she knows they will be assigned a new resident. The same questions always come up…will the resident be nice? Will they understand my busy schedule? Will they make me do a ton of scutwork? Will they make me write most of his/her progress notes? And perhaps most importantly, will they i want to leave early to review for boards or enjoy the occasional night out? After a year . 5 of clinical rotations in various hospitals throughout NYC, I have learned that each resident can fit in to one of three general categories.

The Amazing Resident
The first kind of resident is my favorite. He/she is the one which still remembers what it’s like to have freedom no responsibility as a 3rd and 4th year medical student. They understand that the medical student is strictly there to understand some cool things and see some interesting procedures, then get out of the hospital to review. This resident is nearly always cognizant of the fact that the medical student will not want to work through lunch to complete a progress note that ought to be done by the resident to begin with.

I have also noticed that this sort of resident is usually better and smarter than his/her colleagues. He/she has the ability to get their work done with out a medical student, therefore does not have to depend on him for help. Since this resident is normally smarter compared to the average bear, they often times impart unique clinical knowledge to the student. The funny thing about this resident is that I’m MUCH more willing to do the cheapest of scutwork to greatly help him/her out because of the teaching and knowledge of the medical student’s role.

The Horrible Resident
On another extreme of the spectrum may be the resident that makes the student think that unless you work longer and harder than the resident, then you will ultimately be a horrible doctor and unworthy of the ‘MD’ degree. The darkest of the types of residents will taunt the medical student’s worst fears by threatening the idea of giving you a negative evaluation if you’re not breaking your back to make their life easier. Because of this in the event that you eat lunch before finishing scutwork for him/her even though you’re about to distribute from hypoglycemia, you are unworthy. This kind of resident will berate you if anything goes wrong throughout their shift. This may include yelling at you for misplacing the central line in the carotid as opposed to the external jugular, despite the fact that you’re only an observer through the procedure. And for your information, it will continually be your fault, thus it is easier never to argue and merely accept the blame and declare that you will never repeat.

This type of resident can either be smart or not so bright, but one thing is always true, their idea of ‘teaching’ is very misconstrued. They believe making the medical student call another hospital to obtain medical records, or calling the principal care doctor regarding a patient that they know nothing about, falls beneath the group of teaching, Therefore, this fulfills their role as a ‘teacher,’ resolving them of having to waste their time explaining the reasoning for ordering potassium levels Q4H on the DKA patient.

On the other hand, I have to admit that this kind of resident isn’t entirely bad. Ki Residences Singapore I once had a resident that often left the building before me leaving some of his work for me to complete. He would ask me to obtain an ABG on his patient with respiratory distress, and go back home while I was in the patient’s room. Although this was incredibly annoying, I did so become extraordinarily competent on many procedures. I could now do an ABG blindfolded and I don’t need any assistance other than a nurse to put an NG tube. Thus, I must thank that resident for being a bad teacher and leaving me to learn things on my own.

The Okay Resident
The last type of resident is markedly different than the others, but sometimes has traits of both extremes. I really believe the principal problem that undermines this resident is they aren’t aware of the truth that the student has needs such as going to the bathroom and eating. They tend to forget that the student actually exists and is more than only a fly following them around. This resident isn’t directly vicious (just like the ‘horrible resident’), it’s they are usually too overwhelmed throughout the day and just don’t know how to utilize the student effectively. This results in a medical student that is bored and zones out because he/she is not engaged and is left to stare at the paint drying on the wall.

I don’t want to generalize this group of residents as being not smart, but they don’t get it like many of their colleagues. The fact that they’re overwhelmed by work is because they don’t know how to manage their time appropriately and when needed, ask for help from the medical student. I’ve met quite a few of the residents which are very smart, it’s that they tend to be thorough making use of their patients, which doesn’t allow any time for them to think about how to have the student interact. From my experience, it appears that their strict focus on details is due to their paranoia of making a mistake and somehow killing an individual. This leads me to believe they need to read Samuel Shem’s books and grasp the theory that less is usually better in the healthcare world and their meticulousness is hindering rather than helping.

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