Monday, November 12, 2012

Good residents vs. med students

When I was a resident, we'd often have med students rotating with us, notably students who wanted to match with us. If the student was working with me, the program director or chief would usually ask me about them and whether I thought they'd make a good resident.

Often, I wasn't sure what to say. Even though sometimes they were kind of annoying, I wasn't sure if I should just chalk that up to wanting to make a good impression (but not knowing how).

It made me wonder about how (or if) the qualities of a good med student differ from the qualities of a good resident. I believe that there IS a difference.

For example, I think that a good med student is someone who is there to support the resident they work with. They are someone who is eager but can also sense when the resident is too busy to deal with them. They are somewhat knowledgeable, but more importantly, remember information you taught them and are able to apply it. If you give them a task to do, they do it without complaining or asking a hundred follow-up questions. Also, they're courteous to their fellow med students and don't make an effort to make them look bad.

In contrast, a good resident is someone who is diligent, independent, eager, knowledgeable, and dependable. They don't dump work on their fellow residents and are willing to pitch in for help when it's needed.

I think the main difference is that it's hard (and rare) for a resident to be overeager. I haven't experienced much in the way of "resident gunners," but maybe that's just me. I think the main two qualities that make a resident bad are:

1) Poor patient care (which includes anything from not following up labs to poor documentation/signout)

2) Dumping work on fellow residents

What do you think are desirable qualities in a resident vs. a medical student?

15 comments:

  1. I definitely agree that a good med student is there to support their resident. But more than that I think they should also demonstrate the initiative to take care of certain things on their own (following up on labs, imaging studies, etc) as well as to work to maximize their educational experience. Of course there's a fine line between being eager and so over-eager that your Resident will start inventing ways to get away from you! I also feel like they should demonstrate growth over the course of a clerkship- the budding clinician they were on Day 1 should be vastly different than the one at the end of it all. And for the love of God, just be normal. That goes a long way.

    As far as residents- take care of your crap, be efficient at what you do, don't give a crap sign-out or a list of scut to the covering Resident, ask for help when you need it, at least attempt to be some kind of role model for your minion med students, and remember that you are NOT God and that your job is a privilege and that you are very easily replaceable if you turn out to be a jackass at it!

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  2. I predict that for this post you will get:

    - 5 comments from med students or pre-meds about how they fulfill all of those qualities, practically begging you to tell them that you'd think they'd be great med students
    - 3 comments from med students telling you what an unfair mean b**** you are
    - 4 comments from residents agreeing with your criteria
    - 2 comments from residents or possibly an attending pontificating about what their criteria are, with the implication that yours are wrong

    Not going to say which I am!

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    Replies
    1. Apparently people who read this blog are only passionate about whether you should get rice with Chinese food.

      I think you have an argumentative bunch reading your blog. I didn't expect much vitriol from this post.

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    2. What?? I based my comment on the responses I've seen on THIS blog for similar posts.

      I don't get that many comments on my blog, and I don't allow anonymous comments, so there's actually very little vitriol over there anymore.

      My comment was meant tongue in cheek. I'm sorry if it rubbed you the wrong way.

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    3. It didn't rub me the wrong way. I was just joking around. I should have stuck a smiley face in there :)

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    4. This post is funny because I am a resident agreeing with Fizzy's criteria. I was going to post a comment saying the same but OMDG (sort of) beat me to it.

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  3. Haha...you guys are fighting

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  4. Also: a good resident needs to be willing to teach. Not all day, every day, but just have that drive to want their med students to get the best out of their rotation. If I am lucky enough to make it to resident level, I hope I can be as good a teacher as my doctors have been to me!

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  5. A good resident needs a sense of humor... If you can't laugh you just get angry or depressed.

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    Replies
    1. I have a sense of humor (for example, I read Fizzy's blog) but that doesn't keep me from getting depressed :(

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  6. A good med student is helpful, but not stupid about being independent. I will never forget the day that we were doing dye-dilution cardiac outputs on a patient, the PA line was in wedge, and the med student decided the patient needed bicarb or some such thing that comes in 50 cc boluses. Not only did he administer the bicarb, but did so through the PA line. Honestly, we still have no idea why he thought it was a good idea to do this.

    A good resident recognizes the value of an experienced nurse and thanks her or him for saving his/her butt. Tricia

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    1. Thank you! As an experienced nurse,I try to help out med students as much as I can. Partly because I know what it was like to be a student and no one would help you, but also to build good relationships with them as they move through school and their careers.
      Some, however, are of the opinion that nurses "just weren't smart enough to be doctors" and ignore everything we say. Funny thing is, they often don't do well.

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    2. Med students AND residents who adopt that kinda attitude are just digging their own graves! It's hard to fathom an acceptable reason for why their should be condescension between any members of a healthcare team, but unfortunately for some people, adding those two initials after their name makes them think that they have free reign to be a jackass!

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    3. Funny Anon, I feel those initials you speak of should include MD, DO, MS3, MS4, AND RN!! All of the ability to make life miserable for the other team members, or to be jackass's as you put it!

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  7. Thanks for posting this...clearly an eye opener to me :)

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