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.
Since a lot of you are about to start the clinical part of your training, and I’m about to get med students for the first time, I figured I’d put together a little how-to (in 3 episodes) with the help of my fellow residents.
Take initiative with your patients. Know all their info: what meds they’re on, their labs, their histories, etc.
Check back on your patients in the afternoon. Follow their labs or tests done during the day and think about what needs to be done about them. Otherwise you’ll find that a ton of stuff has happened the next day and you’ll be out of the loop.
Have your notes written before the resident rounds so they can read them and hopefully give you feedback on them.
Always attempt to write an assessment and plan on your notes, no matter how simple it is. “Continue current management” is usually not an acceptable plan. What needs to be done before this patient can go home?
In surgery, always ask permission (preferably from the attending) to scrub in. I do this still as a resident. If they say yes, get your gloves and gown for the scrub tech because they’re probably not prepared for you.
Ask to do procedures, but don’t expect to get them. The residents are always first in line. If it’s a procedure they’re confident doing and they have time to teach you, they’ll probably let you do it.
If we ask if you want to do a procedure, always say yes. Even if you don’t want to.
In the outpatient setting, always offer to help write the note. Rarely will a resident turn you down, and you will really help them out. They will still review and change it, but it will definitely help.
Be available. You don’t have to be a shadow, but don’t expect your resident to call you for admissions/procedures/check out, because she will forget. If you haven’t heard from the resident in a while, check back in with them. She may have forgotten you were around and might send you home early!