Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tips for Med School: In the Bathroom

One of your most important duties as a medical student is helping your attending in the bathroom. Even if they don’t look like they want your assistance, they absolutely do. When a good medical student sees their attending enter the restroom, they stay close behind.

The first important job of a medical student is to make sure the bathroom stall is fully equipped before the attending enters:

If the stall is in any way inadequate, it is your duty to correct it. Bring paper towels to clean off the seat. If the floor is very wet, put your white coat on the floor so the attending does not ruin his shoes. If your attending is female, you may be asked to hold a purse or dispose of a used Tampax product.

Now look at the following case study, in which the attending seems displeased. What is the medical student doing wrong?

You guessed it: a good medical student would have replaced the urinal cake without having to ask! You should anticipate your attending’s needs in advance, as this honors-level student did:

You are now ready to accompany your attending into the bathroom and earn a glowing recommendation to the residency of your choice.


  1. I..... don't even know what to say about this one. Too bad it's almost true!

  2. you are a genius! and obviously this is how you landed your spectacular residency and attending position. ;)

  3. Anecdotally, the incidence of med students who follow attendings into the bathroom (or nearly do so) is startlingly high.

    [Embarrassing] full disclosure: As an MS-I I came this close to following my male preceptor into the bathroom. I'd grown used to diligently following him from room to room to med closet in his bustling practice. However, I didn't know a second bathroom existed (much less its location). I realized my near error 3 steps before entry when I spotted tile and a toilet through the doorway.

    Ranks high on my list of most-embarrassing-moments-during-med-school.

  4. PGYx: My friends and I were discussing it once and we had all almost followed a resident/attending into the bathroom at some point. And now that i'm a resident, I've had med students follow me into the bathroom as well.