Monday, July 25, 2011

Tales from Residency: Lunch with attendings

When I was in residency, everyone would get lunch in the cafeteria, including the residents and the attendings. Often when the residents were sitting in the cafeteria, the attendings would come over and join us. We didn't like this.

It wasn't that we disliked the attendings exactly. But in residency, all we really enjoyed talking about was how much our program sucked, how much the other residents sucked, how much the attendings sucked, and how much being a doctor sucked. But if the attendings sat with us, what was there left to talk about? Our favorite on Dancing With The Stars?

There was one attending that the residents especially did not like, who I privately nicknamed Dr. Blabber, due to her propensity to talk to patients WAY too much during rounds, especially weekend rounds. Anyway, I remember one day a bunch of us residents were in the cafeteria eating and Dr. Blabber walked into the cafeteria with her tray.

Resident #1: "Don't look at her! Don't make eye contact!"

Resident #2: "Oh fuck, she saw us!"

And approached our table and things became SILENT. The last thing I wanted to hear during my lunch break were some condescending comments from Dr. Blabber. Like if we started bitching about some inappropriate consult, she would start asking about the consult and say, "That consult must be staffed NOW."

Then one of the residents came up with a brilliant idea. "You can't sit here," he said. "We're having a resident meeting."

I felt a little guilty about that one. And moreover, we couldn't do it every day. Of course, now that I'm an attending, I feel new sympathy for those attendings, but at the time, it seemed so unfair that we only got a short lunch break and we were forced to spend it making awkward conversation with attendings.


  1. The resident meeting. What an excellent idea.

    There are some cool attendings (especially the younger ones) that we don't mind sitting with us, especially since they seem to "get it" more since they just did residency. They also avoid making comments about our work hours (which, I didn't make the work hour rule, you know?) and talking about patients.

    The only problem with attendings sitting at the resident lunch table (even the cool ones) is that we feel like we have to be more professional around them (cause you're like a boss)...and on the lunch break I just want to bitch about stupid crap... :)

  2. A couple nights ago we were waiting FOR FREAKING EVER for anesthesia to come up so we could do a c-section and one of the attendings decided to come hang out in our work/break room. For 2 hours. At 1 in the morning. Awkward doesn't really do it justice.

  3. I'm sorry, I don't understand, what is "lunch break"? By the time I ever make it to the caf, they're closed. Although an attending once paid for my ice cream and I have NO idea who she was.