Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dr. Orthochick: Doppelganger

I had a Little Chick*** with me for a dressing change this morning because they're all required to watch a certain number of dressing changes, G-d only knows why. So whenever I do one, I page all four of them and ask if anyone needs to see one done. Usually they ignore me, which is fine because I can handle these things on my own and I don't need assistance or an audience.

Today one of the Little Chicks (I would give them names but since they're all kind of the same, it's not really worth it) came with me, I guess he was exceptionally bored or had half an hour to kill. It was this giant sacral decubitus ulcer so I actually did need some help with it, so it was nice for me to have a med student instead of having to ask the nurse to hold the patient for me. To reward Little Chick for actually paging me back, I let him do the whole thing. (This is really not all that exciting. I showed him how to do a wet-to-dry dressing and he went to town. He was actually pretty terrible, but the patient was getting a wound vac placed later that day anyway so I decided that it wasn't worth it for me to interfere and he should just learn on his own that tape works better when you don't scrunch it up.) Then since I had just read an article on decubitus ulcers in JAAOS, I tried to teach him some stuff about them. The patient screeched the whole time, but I'm not convinced that it was due to pain and not just her being a tad floridly psychotic.

It was cute, Little Chick responded pretty much exactly the same way as Orthochick.

Me: Thanks for helping me out with that

Little Chick: Thanks for letting me help!

I really am trying to be a good resident. I don't really operate much so I can't bring the Little Chicks into the OR with me, but if I'm doing something on the floor that either I think they'll find interesting or they need to do, I will bring them. And if I'm doing a consult for something other than feet, I'll usually page them to see if they want to see the patient first. And every now and then I attempt to teach something if it's relevant. If I'm doing something, I always try to let them do it too instead of just watching me. If I see they've written a note on a patient, I'll always thank them for doing it.

Me: I saw your note in the chart this morning for Ms. Smith.

Little Chick: Was it OK?

Me: Ummm...didn't she have a laparoscopic cholecystectomy?

Little Chick: Isn't that what I wrote?

Me: No, you wrote she had a laparoscopic appendectomy for acute appendicitis. She had a laparoscopic cholecystectomy yesterday for gallstone pancreatitis.

Honestly, I know I'm not very bright and I don't really know anything about general surgery, but I'm pretty sure the Little Chicks are no more on the ball than I am most of the time. Maybe that's why they remind me of me. Or maybe it's because I get the feeling that even though they screw up a little, they really are trying. And I can relate to that. So I really do like them and I appreciate what they do. And honestly, I like their enthusiasm. I like the way they find it sorta kinda fun to do a dressing change on their own.

***MS3 med student


  1. On behalf of med students everywhere, let me just say that we need more residents like you, OC. Ones who are inclined to think of their students as more than just scut-monkeys (we know we are to some extent) and give us the chance at some real on-the-job learning. Even if you dont perceive yourself as being on the ball, to us, you're still a divine being of sorts- we're all working towards being you in a few years! Which is why no matter what you have to say, teach, or show us, we soak it all up like the sponges we are. Plus at this stage, everything seems "cool" to us and you'd be surprised at how grateful we can be for the chance to try something on our own, even if it's just a routine dressing change. Your mundane Foley catheter change might just be the highlight of our day. (I know that's hard to believe, but it's true).

    It's hard work being a Resident, and having students around likely complicates things further, so thanks for taking the time to think of us. You could've done a much better job on that dressing change and in half the time, but you still let LC try.
    Anyone could've justifiably said "why don't you go read about sacral decubs some more" or handed out that journal article...but you, the Doctor that went one step beyond that- to actually show us the medicine in real time- to us, that's kinda awesome. And more appreciated than you realize. :)

    1. I second that. I am too a medical student.
      Thank you:)

  2. I'm currently a little chick (one who just finished surgery, no less), and I think it's amazing that you page your little chicks to see if they want to come with you. Seriously, this makes you the best resident ever :)

  3. Most of us do try really hard. I promise!