Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy

29Feb/08Off

Getting Caught

Shadowing.

That word is enough to make a medical student cringe. You see, the vast majority of certain rotations is spent standing behind a real doctor as they see their own patients for 10 straight hours, trying as hard as possible to prevent your eyes from glazing over. The third year medical student quickly learns how to act interested in everything.

Shadowing is incredibly boring. It can be fine if you've got a great doc to follow - especially in specialty clinics which can be way over your head - but usually it's the most boring thing you can do. Especially since we're overworked and tired as it is.

End Prologue.

I'm on my outpatient medicine rotation right now, which I love... I think I'll actually end up in this field. This month, however, the afternoons are filled with - you guessed it - shadowing clinics. Roommate and I decided we would drive out to LA and go to Magic Mountain because we've both got a free weekend. LA is pretty far from where I am, so I figured I'd just ditch my afternoon clinic today so we could leave early and not be driving until 4AM.

I should mention that I think every student on outpatient has skipped at least one afternoon clinic, if not more.

Normally this wouldn't be a problem; a shadowing student is far from integral to the successful workings of a clinic. In fact, all we really ever do is slow the docs down. Usually they don't even know we're supposed to be there. Unfortunately, this particular clinic was staffed by an attending who is known for being a hardass. In addition, unbeknownst to me, there were also 2 patients specifically scheduled for the med student to see†.

I got paged by the Internal Medicine Clerkship Director asking me where the hell I was. Now, instead of doing the smart thing and saying that I was running late and that I'd be there in 10 minutes, for some reason I blew my common sense fuse. Instead I said that I was ditching so that I could drive to LA without being up all night.

Shitstorm.

I have absolutely no idea what the consequences are going to be, especially since when I bolted over to the clinic I was told to get out by aforementioned Hardass Attending, who looked really, really pissed off. I can see a couple ways that this will go down.

1) Clerkship Director decides to dock me a sick day, then berates me about ditching.
2) Hardass Attending calls Clerkship Director to complain, who has to apologize and then berates me about ditching††.
3) Same as #2, but with Hardass Attending telling Clerkship Director they don't want med students at their clinic any more.

#3 would result in some pretty big problems for me. I really hope it doesn't come to that... 'course, this is all my own damn fault.

† This never happens, unless you're in a rural area where they can use all the help they can get. Usually the onus is on you to ask to see a patient before the doc goes in.
††Clerkship Director also governs Clerkship Grades.

Filed under: Best Of, Medicine Comments Off
Comments (6) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Busted. Sorry.

    Those ridiculously beautiful sunny spring-like days we are having here in Cali do not help the urge to play hooky.

  2. Oops. At least you were honest. Too bad that won’t help you in the end. Interesting how that works sometimes.

  3. See…this is why Pittsburgh is nice for Med school…there’s no where “close” to go to even if the Course Director PAIDED you to ditch….

    The Waterfront isn’t all that cool after your 150th time….

  4. I wonder if we’ll ever see you blogging again. :p

    Fingers crossed for you!

  5. Oh man…. that blows. I’m really sorry, but i’m also scared. I was planning to ditch out early on a Friday sometime soon to beat the traffic and drive down the coast. :(
    Why couldn’t we just have been receptionists or something?? (out by 4 pm)


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