The Daily Something: Working With Med Students

I love working with med students.

I remember very well what it is like to be a med student, and I cringe at all the horror stories I hear about how residents treat med students badly. Especially on L&D rotations. That is total crap. Med school is hard enough without someone taking out their frustrations and residency-related rage on some poor med student who is trying to learn, who we have a responsibility to teach, so they can go out and be a competent resident themselves soon. And hopefully not scare them out of a career choice just because we were an A-hole to them.

But I don’t love working with them because it’s my responsibility to. I actually enjoy the responsibility of teaching, of watching their knowledge expand before my very eyes, their brains soaking it all up like hungry, impressionable sponges. I love that they love that I make at least half an effort to teach, and include them as much as I can, if my evals from this year are any indication anyway. (They were awesome, literally, the biggest self-esteem boost I’ve had in my medical career to date, reversing at least some of the damage Intern Year has wreaked. Forget the diplomas, I may have those evals framed.) And fine, I love working with them because, frankly, I love having a buddy to hang out with in the trenches (so to speak). When we’re working all buddy-cop style, and I’m rambling on about how great OB/GYN is, I remember myself, and when I’m trying to make it fun for them, it always ends up being more fun for me too.

And also, of course, every time I work with them on L&D call it is invariably A Night Of Firsts. With the last med student, it was The First C-Section. I had them scrub in as third assist (this being The First for them, and all). It was a challenging repeat, the baby was (for lack of a better term) a Big Fella, and I got to be primary. So, I was too busy during the actual surgery to pay much attention to how the med student was faring (aside from the fact that they were right there with suture scissors and bladder blade at appropriate intervals, and didn’t appear to be faltering or swaying in any I’m-totally-going-to-pass-out-right-now sort of way).

Afterwards, when we left the OR to put in the post-op orders, I finally remembered my buddy and asked, “Oh yeah! Hey, So what did you think of your first C-section?!” To which my (completely reserved and apparently introverted up to this point) med student compadre replied, “What. Just. HAPPENED in there???!! OH MY GOD!!! There was just…like…stuff….coming out everywhere!!! And then, there was…like…a BABY!!! And it came out…and it was all, like……….”

(Best reenactment I could find of what the med student did at this point.)

(Best reenactment I could find of what med student compadre did at this point.)

I stopped, watching this graphic reenactment, and then I laughed. Really, really hard. For awhile.

I have done, or scrubbed on so many sections at this point, I forget what it what must look like to people who haven’t. There is a reason why it’s is my favorite surgery. Triple-bypass-multiple-transplant-sterotactic-robotic-Whipple’s got nothin’ on us. I mean, I’m always highly aware of this, but med students are Awesome for (graphically) reminding me of it.

I love working with med students.