Follow posts tagged #med school, #med student, and #medicine in seconds.Sign up
“You will feel like you do not belong. You will have moments when you question your choice to be here. You will feel incompetent. You will see, hear, and do things that will challenge yourself in this profession. Simply put, third year is hard. You will feel miserable. The year is a systematic destruction of the soul. But in the end, you are rebuilt.”—A resident reflects on the process of third year.
Admission #92: Coroner
I’ve spent over a week trying to write a post about my experience at the morgue, specifically the coroner’s office. Initially, I was very excited. “How badass is this?” I thought to myself.
But I’m going to be honest: the whole thing left me feeling pretty messed-up inside.
“The nerd that I am, I looked up ‘sarcasm.’ And ‘sarcasm’ in Greek comes from the word, ‘sarkasmos,’ which means, ‘cutting people up; fleshing and peeling of someone’s skin.' So, basically I’m not away from my original profession.”—Bassem Youssef, on being a cardiac surgeon and a comedian. x
“We, as wives, need to believe in our husbands. We need to be understanding – even when we don’t like it – of their long hours and limited family time. We need to give them a safe place to come home to after being run through the garbage disposal all day. They need to hear, “Thank you for working so hard for our family” and “You are going to be an incredible (doctor/specialist).” They need to hear, “I am so proud of you.” They need to know that they are heroes at home, even if they are peons at the hospital. They are working their butts off in order to learn how to save someone’s life. They need – and deserve – our respect.”—Survivor Stories: What I have learned about being a doctor’s wife
The Burning Flush of Confrontation
I stood there and did my best to explain what we felt was going on, our impression of the possible causes, and our investigations around them, some of which simply could not be done tonight.
The family was not satisfied. “We want answers. Now.” From there came the questions. “Why must it happen later? Why is this test being done? Why will you not take our complaints seriously?”
I reassured everyone that we were checking every avenue, that there was a method and reason behind the tests and explained as plainly and thoroughly as I could. More importantly, I tried to address their concerns up front and with honesty.
Nothing could appease my audience. I could feel the growing dissatisfaction in their tone, the tension that my presence brought to an obviously well meaning and concerned family.
However, standing there, the focus of every pair of eyes in the room, I began to feel the churning of my stomach, the pounding nudge in my chest, and the burning flush of my face. I had become an enemy in the room, an obstacle between the vocal family who wished to be heard and heard by none other but the doctor himself. It was time I excused myself.
I returned quickly to my attending and explained the situation: I had attempted my best to alleviate their anxiety and answer their questions but I had failed. I needed help.
When he arrived, even then the discussion presented challenges. It took a lot of work to come to an agreement and understanding.
The communication channel is open both ways. The solution to defusing a situation like this is always to make people feel that they have been acknowledged, that their concerns have been understood, that they are not an afterthought in this already complicated system of care. Even with that in mind, the discussion can be challenging. It really takes a lot of patience, perseverance, and thick skin to build up the rapport needed in difficult situations.
Perhaps with time and experience, I can find a way to finally manage this myself. For now: please do not shoot the messenger.
Were you ever involved in a confrontation? How did you deal with it?