Wayfaring MD

I am a family medicine resident who likes to highlight the hilarious in medicine as I write about patients, medical school, residency, medical missions, and whatever else strikes my fancy.

HIPAA is for reals, folks. All of my "patient stories" have been changed to protect patient privacy. I will change any or all identifiers, including age, location, race/ethnicity, sex, medical history, and quotes. Also, I am an anonymous internet person. Why should you trust an anonymous internet person to give you medical advice? Don't ask me, ask your doctor!
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There are times in medical education that you feel like you can’t do anything right. Lately I’ve been feeling that a lot, as has the rest of my team. We walk on eggshells and agonize over every little decision because we just know that regardless of what decision we make, or our reasons for making it (no matter how well intentioned or researched), we will be wrong. 


For example:

  • Rock: I was scolded by an attending for using an antibiotic combination that he didn’t like. Hard place: I used the combo because the attending the week before had told me to. image
  • Rock: My attending didn’t like the way a week-old surgical incision site looked on my patient, so I was told to consult surgery. Hard Place: Surgery said it looked perfect and not to mess with it. Harder Place: My attending tells me to disregard surgery because it’s infected and needs to be explored.
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  • Rock: attending who specializes in pain management says use short acting opiates on patient X.  Hard Place: attending who is older and higher in position in the hospital says use long acting. Meanwhile my patient hates me because their pain is uncontrolled. 
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  • Rock: my attending expects me to know the value of every single lab that is drawn on my patients from memory at rounds. Hard Place: Freakin labs are never flippin resulted by the time rounds starts. 
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  • Rock: my patient’s condition is well controlled on an inexpensive yet sometimes complicated medication regimen (insulin, anticoagulants, BP meds, you name it) due to cost issues. Hard place: My attending says this regimen is unacceptable (though it is both effective and evidence based) and the patient should be switched to the much more expensive, yet less complicated type that will offer the same control. 
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  • Rock: Attending seems annoyed that I’ve called him 4 times today. Hard Place: attending is mad at rounds that I made a tiny decision without consulting him. 
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There have been SO many times in the course of my medical education where I’ve been scolded or ranted at over something I had absolutely no control over. I just had to smile, nod, and say, “yes sir,” and hope it didn’t affect my evaluation. I’ve learned with some attendings to not question why they choose certain drugs or make certain decisions, because they really don’t have a good evidence-based reason for it. They do it because it’s how they’ve always done it. And of course they’re right. 

And I’m always wrong. 


  1. eleebecrazy reblogged this from wayfaringmd and added:
    well then. this is what i have to look forward to….
  2. rachelgerman74 reblogged this from wayfaringmd
  3. bananasandmoustaches said: for the long-acting vs short acting pain med, could you use a long acting as a scheduled med and have short acting as a breakthrough prn perhaps to solve the issue ?
  4. throughmymemorypalace said: Thank you for the perspective! I’m not quite there yet in medical education but it gives me the push to get through this block (and something to look forward to in a few years).
  5. yourcraysisterinchrist said: I am sorry :(
  6. queenoffrizz said: This is the number one reason why I never want to become a nurse, despite my mother hinting at it a couple times. Let me think about thatNO.
  7. blue-lights-and-tea said: Of course! This is how different grades of doctor and different specialities like to keep us on our toes (because they were treated the same way). You’re never quite sure what they’ll say next and then….what exactly did they mean by it! hmmmm