#1: The ethics case series is going to take a very different turn. Instead of boringly describing the by-the-book method for dealing with this kind of situation, we’re going to get real.
#2: Big day in the OR today. Some notable firsts over the last week:
First time getting yelled at by a nurse for doing something everyone else was doing: in one of the surgery units, in the PACU they have coffee and snacks (?for the patients) that I watch the attendings, residents and other med students chomp on for a few minutes. My attending tells me to get some coffee if I want, and I do. As I am putting some sugar substitute (always watching that figure…) a nurse menaces over to me. Every medical student knows this walk – it’s like a zombie chasing you in a horror movie – no matter how slowly they seem to move, you know you’ll never get away.
So, I stand there like a deer in the headlights, honestly within arms reach of six or seven medical students, residents and attendings all drinking coffee.
“What’s your name?” she says. A basic interrogatory. Seems harmless … but even I can see what’s coming.
An awkward pause ensues while she tries to decipher my University Hospital ID badge which is hidden behind four other hospitals’ ID badges.
“Are you a resident?”
“Erm … [Awkward pause …do I admit the truth …] I’m a medical student.”
“Well, what do you think you’re doing?”
I say nothing here, knowing that anything I say can and will be used against me
“You do know that you can’t eat here. This is a patient care area. If you want to eat you have to go to the lounge. What are you thinking?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I’ll get going.” I answer rapid-fire and start walking before I’m done talking, and walk past another five med students and residents all drinking coffee *AT* the nursing station which this lady left to yell at me.
Moral of the story: as a medical student, whatever you do is wrong …
First time doing something stupid in the OR
This theme will most certainly recur, and I will do even more stupid things. In this case, it was forgetting to wear eye protection (I couldn’t find the disposable glasses and hate wearing the face shield cause it fogs when I sweat). Of course, as before, the attending I was operating with was also not wearing eye pro, but the scrub nurse never said anything to him about it. In all fairness she was absolutely right and didn’t kick me out of the OR because she was nice (not something one should count on …). All of this came about because I scrubbed in too slowly (I have no idea how the attending and resident scrubbed so fast I was moving at top speed and they were done before I started my right hand…) and then was rushing to not delay the surgery. Two morals to this story: first, as a med student, be one step ahead of the game, not a step behind, because everything takes you longer in the beginning, and second, don’t rush and endanger yourself or your team. I failed at this today and endangered myself, and I won’t make that mistake again. In other OR related news, I’m apparently really bad at cutting sutures … hopefully that gets better with time too … Also, I screwed up an antibiotic because the attending mumbled, the intern misheard the attending, and I knew he misheard the attending because the drug he thought the attending recommended made no sense, so I said what I thought the attending had said, but then I was wrong … so now I look like an ass (to the intern, he didn’t rat me out or shove the blame on me which was very kind … again I don’t expect that kind of kindness. Also screwed up two of the world’s easiest pimp questions which makes me look like a doofus … so in some sense, nowhere to go but up. Definitely no one told me “good job” today …
On the bright side: I placed my first [female] foley today (successfully and didn’t delay the OR team more than 30 seconds), saw some really cool surgeries, helped reassure a couple patients, and got out early. I think I get along with my team okay, and hopefully I’ll actually start being somewhat helpful (or at least, not as helpless: trying to make copies in the presurgical area was superfun … at least if you were watching me from the outside …).
Stay tuned for more …