Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stuff They Don't Teach You In Medical School: Who's The Boss

I have always believed in helping my fellow medical students. That's even why I set up this blog: so that I could share experiences and insights about the illuminating journey that is medical schoo-- ah screw it, okay fine I set up this blog because life hates me and I figured, I should at least share my misery and make people laugh. There.

Anyway as part of my effort to warn educate other medical students and members of the public, now that I'm a real doctor (I SEE YOU LAUGHING! STOP THAT! -- Editor) I thought I'd start a little series on the real-life stuff you find out as a doctor that you wish those bastar-- uh, loving lecturers had remembered to teach you in medical school.

So for our first lesson, children, I'm going to ask you a simple multiple-choice question. A simple one, but bloody hell is it an important one for doctors, students, and any poor fool who has to visit a hospital actually. Ready? Here it comes:

FROM AMONG THE FOLLOWING STAFF ON THE WARD, WHICH ONE IS THE BOSS?

Click to enlarge. Go on, it's worth it. I slaved five hours to make this! 
(OK so I suck at Photoshop. Leave me alone.)

Choose from among the following answers:

1. House Officers/Interns/Slaves - the lowest on the food chain, even lower than medical students (YES FOLKS! You think you're getting a PROMOTION when you graduate and become a real doctor? HAHAHAHAHA-- wait, you're being serious. --Ed.) and responsible for doing all the crap that other doctors don't want to do.

2. Registrars/Residents/Medical Officers (MO) - senior doctors with years of experience, one step down the food chain from big boss. They run the ward when no boss doctors are around, and are generally the source of both great teaching and great misery for junior doctors.

3. Head of Department (HOD)/Chief of Medicine/Chief of Surgery - the biggest, baddest, most experienced doctor around. Top of the ward food chain and has doctors fleeing before him in terror. House officers have been known to kiss the ground they walk on.

4. Nurses - The front line of medical care to the patients. They do the stuff even junior doctors won't/aren't allowed to do. Run things on the ward when doctors aren't around.

5. Patients - The point of the whole health service actually. Known to be either really nice or complete freakshows. If patient also happens to be a doctor, you're REALLY screwed.

Choose one. Done? Okay what did you answer? Check your number below:

IF YOU ANSWERED

1. - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Nice one. Seriously, I needed a laugh. Thanks.

2. - Not as ridiculous as the previous answer, but still no. Sometimes they are the boss, especially when it's 4am, the boss doctor who usually protects you is asleep, none of your friends are around, and the registrar/resident/MO remembers you as the funny-looking junior who insulted his hairstyle behind his back when you thought he wasn't listening. Oh yes.

3. - If you chose this, congratulations! You have a working brain! 90% of readers chose this option.
It is however, FALSE. Gasp! Why, you ask? Has Angry Medic lost his mind? (He has, but that's a story for another time.) I'll explain in a bit.

5. - Well...this is a tough one to explain. Patients SHOULD be in charge, especially with all this touchy-feely 'patient-centered care' crap that they pound into medical students' heads from day one. But sadly, they are not.

This leaves:

4. Nurses - That's right folks!

And don't you forget it.

A very, VERY important part of life on the wards that they don't teach you in med school (but surprisingly do in Grey's Anatomy. See Mom? And you scolded me for spending more time watching that crap than actually studying. HAH. --Ed.) is that nurses are REALLY in charge of the ward. Piss them off, and they can make life a LIVING. HELL. Treat them nicely and they'll help you put that central line in, tell you which doctors are nice and which doctors to avoid like a Justin Bieber album, and warn you wayyy ahead of time when Mr No-I'm-Just-Going-Down-For-A-Walk is actually smoking at the hospital entrance and is about to set his face on fire.

See, who says reading my blog isn't a waste of time?

*Thanks to Mother Jones RN of Nurse Ratched's Place for inspiring this post. Sort of.

5 comments:

Dr Erhumu said...

Totally true, i find myself using all the polite words in my arsenal when talking to nurses, they are the mafia.

The Angry Medic said...

Dr Erhumu: I KNOW RIGHT. I can yell and scream at idiot parking attendants and medical assistants but when it comes to nurses I become Miss Manners. (also it helps that they are sexay and all want me. Cough.)

Anonymous said...

dammit, got it wrong...that Dr Kelso pic is such a red herring...

Anonymous said...

sorry~may I ask you why the
Head of Department (HOD)/Chief of Medicine/Chief of Surgery
are not the boss??

The Angry Medic said...

Anonymous 5:52PM Hello! Sorry I didn't reply your Facebook message.

It's just a joke - the Head of Department IS the boss in real life, but the nurses have more control over what happens on the ward and how well the doctors (like me) are treated.

I know, it's not very funny anymore now that I've had to explain it. (Not that it was very funny in the first place...) Sorry!