Monday, August 13, 2007

The Residents

Dear First-Years;

It has now been over a month since you began your Residency at Chez Healing -- Congratulations! I'm sure you're thrilled to be at such a fine institution. No doubt your medical career, much like your student loan debt, is off to a great start. As the Vampfamily is in the waning weeks of a year-and-a-half residency of our own, I thought it wise to bestow upon you some of our wisdom, observations and learnings from our time there. It is my hope that these pearls can only strengthen your effectiveness as a practitioner of the Medical Arts.

As Lisa said to Wendy..."Shall we begin?"

1. Doctor Torres is hot. There, I said it. But seriously -- what is it about medical dramas that make them as standard to the tv line-up as the evening news? I think it has something to do with the public's desire to see doctors as normal people. Whether that's to humanize you all and make you less scary, or to fill our fantasy of hot docs in every exam room, it seems like we can't get away from them. But no, I'm not so naive as to think your lives are like that. Duh.

2. Nurse know best. Doctor's may make all of the big decisions in a patients care, but the nurses are the ones that really get to know the patients, and see them on a daily (if not hourly) basis. Given this, those of us who enter into hospitals become quite attached to our nurses, and as parents of a child in their care we become quite protective. The message to you, dear Resident, is a word of caution: treat the nurses well. If you don't, they tell us -- and while they may not be able to respond, I am more than happy to impale you on an IV pole.

3. You may "wanna new drug", but we don't. I read somewhere a few months ago that the average hospital patient is given the incorrect dose of medication once a day. I wouldn't have believed it unless I'd seen it, but I have. See, while the nurses give the meds, you write the orders for them. And, although you might find this shocking, we are paying attention. So, you might want to consider actually reading the 30 copies we provide of our son's medication schedule every time we come to visit. Or, if you're feeling like accessing that rare mental process called "common sense", you could log on to his electronic medical file and see it for yourself. Just a thought.

4. Let me out. Let's face it -- you're busy people with a lot to do. Patients have needs constantly -- and somewhere in there you have to sleep. Why burden yourself with patients who don't need to be there? Of course, I am talking about those of us who are twiddling our thumbs, awaiting discharge. Normally, we can see the attending physician at 8am, and not have discharge paperwork completed until 2 in the afternoon. Once, while in the midst of what should have been a simple ER visit, we spent more time waiting for the discharge paperwork than we did actually being seen! I know you have a lot to do before getting to that paperwork, but the faster you get us out, the more money you save - both the insurance industry, and the hospital. Think of the brownie-points! NOTE: When completing paperwork, remember #3 -- correct medication instructions for the trip home would be helpful.

5. Parents - the anti-drug. There comes a time in the journey of families like ours when we know more about our children's medical conditions, and the nuances of his/her treatment, than you. Respect that -- it will prevent me from wanting to hit you when you ask something stupid. Oh, and asking me if I'm a doctor when I make suggestion as to my son's current condition is not really a compliment. In fact, it fills me with dread that something that would come out of my simple mind seems revolutionary to you.

6. One last thing. Anti-nausea medications are the cornerstone of effective cancer treatment. Having them available only in oral form for children with cancer is, to put it bluntly, stupid. Do something about that, would you? Patches, lotions, anything. Could you look into that? Thanks.

Now, get to work.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Vamp Daddy, Great Post! Take care, Ann

cry it out! said...

You are so, so right re: torres. When is that damn show coming back?

Mike

Anonymous said...

As a nursing student a lot of what you said I will keep in mind for my career, great post.....

Lainey-Paney said...

That's a great post too!

I work in a hospital...so I know all about the WAITING ON DC PAPERS...the stupid residents (not at my current hospital...which is a mixed blessing)....

But I have to tell you....having been single & working in the trauma unit & then in the ER (some years ago...) There are a lot of residents that go through the hospital...there is a lot of drama...and yes, X is doing Y, but Z is pissed because Y used to pay attention to her, and they dated, but K (a "2nd year") showed interest in Z, so she dropped Y...and now she wants him back. X & Z used to be friends, and when they had a falling out---X told everyone about how she caught Z giving C a BJ in the back of an ambulance in the ambulance bay.
[true story, but names have been changed to letters to protect the not-so-innocent].

n8 said...

Number 5 is familiar to me too. It is surprisingly frequent that professionals I work with think that the term "professional" means infallible omniscient expert and forget that teamwork formed of invested and interested people of differing skills often out-performs individual efforts. That sounds like a lot of mumbo-jumbo. Simply put, some people need to get their heads out of their asses and understand that we are all human and have something to contribute. Clear communication refines the efforts. "are you a doctor" is nothing if not snarky.

Anonymous said...

When my children were young and and visiting the peditrician, their key phrase was, Hysterical mother syndrome, or Hysterical Grandmother syndrome, meaning that we brought them in for every little thing, which I did not do, and resented that phrase and told them so. You might tell your new residents that what they learn from their patients and their parents is as important as what they learned in school. So hang in there VD and VM,you know your child better than anyone and you have done and awesome job this last year. I am so glad you are near the end of the treatments.
Missouri Cousin, Rosemary