Dad: So what are you doing next year?
Bostonian: I'm in the hospital learning how to diagnose patients and manage their medical problems.
D: But what about classes?
B: There are a couple...but only for the really important stuff
D: What about books and tests?
B: Yeah, still have lots of reading to do and a big final at the end...but I'm in the hospital for like 12 hours every day talking to patients, standing around in surgery and chasing down information.
D: So you get your own patients?
B: Nope, the residents and attendings check and redo everything that I do. I can't do anything on my own.
D: Why are you there again?
I guess the point of this post is that I'm not exactly sure how to explain to the average lay person what my role as a third year medical student is because I haven't conceptualized it myself.
Within the context of the delivery of health care, I am at best a leech on the scrotum of everyone on my medical team; a painless annoyance that just sits there sucking up resources, time and attention. At worst, I'm a stumbling block; everything that I'll be doing, someone will have to double check in excruciating detail and probably correct. Everything that I don't understand will have to be drilled into my head. I'll be the pain in the ass at 2 in the morning that needs to get in his delivery before the end of his OB rotation, the speed bump in the trauma room after an 18 hour day, the poor kid with the deer in the headlights look on his face who accidentally scrubs out when the attending pimps him across the sterile blueness of the operating field. The only schmuck in the hospital willingly paying out of pocket to be there, not out of necessity.
On the other hand, I''ll probably be the first one on the wards in the morning collecting labs and scurrying around to not look like a schmuck on rounds and piece together what happened over night with my patients while I
We're sitting in orientation this week, and everyone tells us how amazing of an experience we're in for during third year and spends 5 minutes of their talk blowing sunshine and rainbows up our asses. But at the same time, I'm about to be one of the few people that even the night-shift janitor knows has no real business being on the wards.
How do you make the average person understand what you do without making their head explode in confusion/horror/pity?