Surgery Rounds – Daunting and Fun
Some services, especially surgery, pre-round before rounding with the attending physician. Surgery rounds are both daunting and fun. If you are seeing a patient who has had a Whipple procedure, be sure you understand each surrounding organ down to the cellular processes they support. As a medical student, you will need to remember the function of the islet cells in the pancreas, and the processes that cause them to release insulin. And that is the easy part.
Every service you rotate through will have teaching conferences for students. Some services have a large conference with attending physicians, residents, and students present. Be prepared. Know the topic the night before, and study it. Know your patients. Don’t speak up unless you know your subject thoroughly. If asked a question, try to answer in an organized and logical fashion. Repeat the question (reflective listening) and then begin with a concise answer, adding detail if asked.
Let Your Resident Shine
Above all, realize that your resident is the key member of the team. Allow your resident to shine. Don’t jump in and answer questions unless asked. Your attending and resident have been through the same experience. No one appreciates a show-off. Everyone appreciates a solid team member. And remember that the point of the entire process is patient care. Your patient’s welfare is the most important thing. You are working hard to ensure your patient’s well being and safety. When you pre-round, you are your patient’s doctor. They know you are a student, but to your patient, you are also their physician.
Practice professionalism. You’re beginning a new life and you should reflect that professionalism at all times, and in all of your communications with others at the hospital. Good relationships with the nursing staff are exceptionally important. Nurses are your friends. They have seen hundreds of third year medical students pass through, and they don’t appreciate arrogance or condescension. They may know a lot more than you do, and are often willing to help students by pointing out abnormalities or problems during the night. Remember your manners. Respect everyone’s work, and let them know they are appreciated.