Every medical student is really a bit apprehensive when he/she knows they’ll be assigned a new resident. Ki Residences Singapore 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 let me leave early to study for boards or enjoy the occasional night out? After a year and a half of clinical rotations in a variety of hospitals throughout NYC, I’ve learned that each resident can fit in to 1 of three general categories.

The Amazing Resident
The first kind of resident is the best. He/she is the one which still remembers what it’s prefer to have freedom no responsibility as a 3rd and 4th year medical student. They understand that the medical student is strictly there to learn some cool things and see some interesting procedures, then escape the hospital to study. This resident is nearly always cognizant of the fact that the medical student does NOT want to work through lunch to finish a progress note that ought to be done by the resident in the first place.

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

The Horrible Resident
On the other extreme of the spectrum is the resident that makes the student think that unless you work longer and harder compared to 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 notion of giving you a negative evaluation if you are not breaking your back to make their life easier. Therefore if you eat lunch before finishing scutwork for him/her even though you’re about to distribute from hypoglycemia, you are unworthy. This type of resident will berate you if anything goes wrong during their shift. This may include yelling at you for misplacing the central line in the carotid rather than the external jugular, even though you were only an observer during the procedure. And for the information, it will always be your fault, thus it is easier never to argue and merely accept the blame and state that you will never repeat.

This sort 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 primary care doctor regarding a patient that they know nothing about, falls beneath the category of teaching, Therefore, this fulfills their role as a ‘teacher,’ resolving them of experiencing to waste their time explaining the reasoning for ordering potassium levels Q4H on the DKA patient.

On the other hand, I must admit that this kind of resident is not entirely bad. I once had a resident that often left the building before me leaving some of his work for me to perform. He would ask me to obtain an ABG on his patient with respiratory distress, and go 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 to be a bad teacher and leaving me to understand 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 believe the principal problem that undermines this resident is that they aren’t aware of the point that the student has needs such as going to the bathroom and eating. They tend to forget that the student actually exists and is a lot more than just a fly following them around. This resident isn’t directly vicious (just like the ‘horrible resident’), it’s that they are usually too overwhelmed throughout the day and just don’t know how exactly to make use of the student effectively. This results in a medical student that’s bored and zones out because he/she isn’t 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 are overwhelmed by work is because they don’t learn how to manage their time appropriately so when needed, ask for help from the medical student. I have met quite a few of these residents which are very smart, it’s that they are usually thorough making use of their patients, which doesn’t allow any time for them to consider how exactly to have the student interact. From my experience, it seems that their strict focus on details stems from their paranoia of making a blunder and somehow killing an individual. This leads me to trust they need to read Samuel Shem’s books and grasp the idea that less is usually better in the healthcare world and their meticulousness is hindering rather than helping.

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