So I met up with my 3rd-year friend a few days back, and we got to talking about his current rotation. He’s on the GI surgery service right now, and I asked him how he liked it so far. “It sucks.” Was his first reply. “Yeah, no shit” I told him. Here’s how the rest of the convo went down:
He gets to work at around 4:30 am every morning and usually doesn’t get to leave the shithole they call a hospital until 8 or 9 pm. Yeah, those hours aren’t made up. Those guys must eat, sleep and shit in the hospital since they’re never home. It’s no wonder that surgeons are so bitter, since the next-door neighbor who has regular hours is home banging that surgeon’s wife every evening.
My med-student friend goes on to tell me that sometimes he finishes his work early in the day – around 2 or 3 pm – but cannot go home or go study despite the fact that there is no clinic and no cases scheduled in the OR for the rest of the day. Absolutely nothing going on, and he has to sit there interacting with the miserable residents until 8 pm or so when Attending Surgeon Dr. No Life finally finds time to round on his inpatients. What a huge crock of bullshit, but the unfortunate thing is that this is very common in medical training. I would say that approximately 50% of the time you spend in medical school and residency is time down the drain. Wasted minutes…and we’re paying for it.
He even decided to bring this up with the chief resident on his service. As expected, they were completely non-responsive to his concerns, only wanting to cover their own asses. The reason given for the students having to sit there an additional 5, 6, or even 7 hours was that “the attending will get mad if he asks where the students are and we’ve sent you home. We’re just keeping you here so we don’t get in trouble.” Well, Mr. I-Like-To-Kiss-Attending-Ass resident, that’s a piss-poor answer for keeping students on the service. I guess you’ll be sending them down for your candy bar and soft drink a few extra times to not completely waste the thousands they are spending on tuition.
There you have it folks, a day in the life of a 3rd-year medical student on the surgery service. In between getting yelled at, physically hit on the hand for holding a retractor incorrectly, and pimped until his ears bleed he gets to fetch the resident’s lunch and dinner. Money well spent.