that med life

If they’re smart enough to be doctors, they’re smart enough to learn to say your name correctly.
— 

My resident.

I don’t have a common typical English name. My name is unique to my culture. It’s always been difficult always being different, an outsider. Especially growing up in the US south. But that’s a different story.

There are two schools of thought on my name: “oh cool so exactly as it’s spelled” and “what in the actual fuck I don’t even know where to start.” The latter are always the loudest and most obnoxious.

First days of school were the worst growing up. I would usually keep track of where in the alphabet the teacher was on roll call and knew she was looking at my name when there was a long pause. I would fake a laugh, raise my hand, and tell them my name. Everyone else would laugh along. I hated it, I was so embarrassed. Why couldn’t I have been named Ashley or Catherine or Megan? Life would have been so much easier.

I grew up to embrace my name and love it. I love my culture, our history is awesome, and my name is badass. I’ve only met one other person with my name and she’s ten years younger than I am and lives in Canada. But my acceptance doesn’t mean everyone else has had the same epiphany about my name. I still get the same looks, well-intentioned but rude comments, and confused stares from all the Caroline’s, Katelyn’s, and Lauren’s.

Some days I own it with a bad ass “no it’s not hard, you’re being dramatic, it’s easy to say and really cool” attitude. Sometimes I have rhyming tricks that I personally HATE but understand it’s a necessary evil because some people have tiny minds and need the extra help. And then I throw in a little history lesson because damn, some people.

But some days I’m exhausted, and I can’t argue and stand up for myself. Some days I’m tired and defeated and I let it go, “I know, it’s hard, a lot of people have trouble. It’s okay.”

My resident caught me on one of those nights. I was on hour 14 of the work day, scrubbing in for yet another surgery. She didn’t keep asking my name because she couldn’t pronounce it, but because she genuinely couldn’t remember what it was because she was having a very similar kind of day.

No one has ever said anything like that to me before. I was too tired at the time to understand and appreciate what she said, but it’s been resonating with me ever since. She’s fucking right. If you’re comfortable speaking in medical jargon with our made-up sounding words, you can say my name. It’s not hard, it’s not my fault you can’t say it, and no, you can’t make up a nickname for me. ✋🏼

how to be an awesome med student (and your intern’s best friend)

Medical students are a precious commodity in the intern world. A good medical student makes it a lot easier to get through the day and get all the jobs done. But it’s a fine line between being a clingy medical student and a helpful medical student, and one that’s difficult to work out. So, this is my wish list for all my future medical students – do this and I’ll be indebted to you for life.

  • Ask for our number and give us yours. I’m always happy to be texted by a keen medical student who wants to put in lines and take blood and clerk patients. If you let me know you’re free, I’ll let you know how you can help.  Just don’t page me. Interns are perpetually one page away from a nervous breakdown.
  • Please carry files on ward rounds. I know that you’re not a human bookshelf, but there are a lot of files and I only have two hands. Any help here is greatly appreciated, and extra points if you volunteer to write notes. It lets me give my hand and my pen a break!
  • Learn to love the list. The patient list is the most important thing an intern has, and we need our medical students to value this. Whether it’s writing down jobs on the list, helping us type it up, or keeping track of the registrar’s list (he or she will inevitably misplace it), your contribution is noted and appreciated.
  • Ask questions. Interns are fresh out of medical school and know a lot of things. Most of the time, we’re happy to answer (and it makes us feel like we might actually be semi-competent doctors!). Just pick your moment – over coffee is good. During a code blue is not so good.
  • Volunteer to do practical things. An IVC resite can take half an hour. If you volunteer to put a new drip in (or even put an IDC in!), we will be forever grateful. I’m even happy to supervise whilst you do it – it gives me a moment to sort through my pages and even delete a few).
  • Remember that you’re going to be an intern soon – and internship means paperwork. The more you can help us with our paperwork, the better prepared you will be for your internship, and the more likely we are to pay you in coffee.
  • If the interns are busy, ask us for patients to clerk. I love it when medical students show an interest in my patients and in learning – do this, and I will always listen to you present your findings. It’s a good skill to learn, and it shows that you’re keen to be a part of the team.

I know this sounds demanding, but spending time on the wards with your intern not only prepares you to be a junior doctor, it gives you a lot of hands-on experience that you can’t get from your physiology textbook. And the more time you spend on the wards, the greater your chances of being rewarded with coffee.

Hope to see you on the wards soon!

My life on Thanksgiving! Someone entertain me! Anyone have kik? Anyone else working? Kik me a face pic with your tongue out all the way so I know you saw this! Plus it’s kind of sexy 😝kik: ringram4521