The following is contributed by Half M.D., the author of www.halfmd.com
The two things that piss me off quicker than anything else are inefficiency and ignorance. So far, the people who run my family medicine rotation have shown both. I’ve had one setback after another in the months leading up to this clerkship. Back in January, I wrote the course director to tell him that I would be going out of town for a special conference during his rotation. He never wrote back.
So I wrote the co-director of the course and told her the same thing. She never wrote back.
Then I wrote to the secretary for this clerkship. It turns out that she had been fired and replaced. I then wrote the new secretary of the clerkship. She never wrote back.
I went to the third year coordinator for my university to ask what was going on. I should have known something was wrong when she suggested that I make a physical appearance to the family medicine office. At that time, I couldn’t figure out why no one in the department could reply to my e-mails.
I then tried calling… multiple times.
I finally got through and confirmed all the information I provided in my original e-mail. Heeding the advice of the third year coordinator, I went to the family medicine office last week to make sure that everything was intact for my clerkship. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that the secretary denied having ever received any information from me about my absences or where I wanted to practice family med. I had saved the e-mails and pleaded, “Here’s all the information right here.” To which she replied, “You should have e-mailed me more than one time.”
Through talking to the secretary of the course coordinator, I had hoped that everything would have been figured out for this week when I finally started the clerkship. I was given the wrong phone number to my preceptor’s office. And then when I finally managed to get through to his nurse, I was given the wrong location of his office.
I showed up bright and early Monday morning ready to see patients, but found out that he had a second practice located across town. I tried calling him at his other office multiple times that morning until I finally reached him at 10:00a.m. Keep in mind that he was supposed to have arrived by 8:30. I had to drive like a madman across town to this other office just so that I could be two hours late to my first day of my clerkship.
If things continue like this for the next month, I think I’m going to punch someone before it’s all over. Today is Wednesday.
Just in case any attendings are reading this, if you ever happen to be in a position to lead medical students—especially as a clerkship director—make sure that you have a good support staff and that everything in your clerkship is well organized. There should be no reason why students are given the incorrect telephone number and address of their clerkship location. We are paying for that education after all.