Before starting my first year, I had heard stories about gunners. I was told that a gunner was someone who hid study materials from his fellow classmates, wouldnâ€™t help his colleagues out with an academic-related problem, or sat in the front row and answered all of the questions in class. After 3.75 years of being around gunners, I can tell you that the initial bit of information that I was provided with was somewhat incomplete. Hereâ€™s your complete crash course in gunnerism â€“ be sure to print it out so you can study it on rounds:
Taken from HoursWatch:
“Here is my typical week.
Monday -6:00 AM to 7:00 PM — 12 – 13 Hours
Tuesday (on call)-6:00 AM to Wednesday at 6 or 7 PM – 36-37 Hours (we do not follow the 30 hour rule)
Thursday -6:00 AM to maybe 6 or 7 PM — 12 – 13 Hours
Friday -6:00AM to 6:00 PM — 12 Hours
Saturday (on call again) 7:00 AM until Sunday morning at maybe 9:00 AM. — 26 Hours
Back to work Monday at 6:00 AM…
Week Total: 98-101
These hours may even be exceeded if others call in sick or there are unexpected surgeries or traumas. What is the most appalling is the week day on calls where we are expected to work in the clinic seeing NEW patients while post call and going well over the 24/30 hour in one shift rule. Our program makes no efforts to fix this and does not report these violations to the ACGME.”
Anonymous Resident, Ohio State University
“Our program has been grossly non-compliant with work hour regulations since June 2003. While we conitinue to get lip-service regarding how the program is still working on being compliant, the truth is that there is no relief in sight. On q 4 call, I work a minimum of 34 hours, and on non-call days, the average day is 10 hours. So, overall, I work close to 90 hour weeks if I have a day off every 7 days, which doesn’t necessarily happen.”
Anonymous Resident, University of Washington
“My medical school has informed the students indirectly that the 80 hour work week does not apply to MS III and MS IV students. We could conceivably be ordererd to work 120 hours a week and if we do not we would fail that course. Could you please tell me where I could find regulations or laws about this? Any legal resources would also be appreciated.”
Anonymous Medical Student
Read more real-life stories at http://www.hourswatch.org/47yourstoriesarticle.htm
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.