Dismiss Notice
Hey Texans—join us for a DFW meetup! Click here to learn more.

are attendings friends with the underlings at your institution?

Discussion in 'Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties' started by epsilonprodigy, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. epsilonprodigy

    epsilonprodigy Physicist Enough
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    741
    Likes Received:
    79
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    My attending the other day made some comment about how, at a good program, the attendings and residents will be friends, as in they'll go out to dinner on the weekends and such. I'll be honest, this kind of blew my mind. Our attendings endlessly hurt and humiliate us, and often will barely say hello to us unless they have to. I'm pretty tough, but I look at it like, "yes, please, teach me everything you know, but then GET THE **** AWAY from me and STAY away." As it is, I find it so bizzare when someone rips you a new one because of how you held a pair of scissors in the OR, but then wants to chat about football 2 hours later as though nothing happened. I can't imagine taking it to the next level and actually interacting with the perps by choice outside of work. I'm polite and chalk it up to psychosocial issues that I certainly can't fix, but not really feeling the whole "let's be buddies" vibe. What's it like everywhere else?
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. TimesNewRoman

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2013
    Messages:
    2,085
    Likes Received:
    1,630
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    I'm an EM resident. I'm friends with several of my attendings. On a first name basis with most.

    EM is a lot more laid back than surgery. I can't imagine any of the surgery residents calling any of the surgical attendings by their first name.
     
  4. pterygoideus

    pterygoideus turn down for what
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2014
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    54
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Bruh, if your attendings take pleasure in humiliating you, then your program sounds hella toxic. It's definitely not the same everywhere though: I'm just an MS2, but at least for the surgical subspecialty I'm interested in, our attendings are super engaged with everyone from the chief resident to the clueless MS1. The attendings regularly invite the residents out for barbecue or whatever in their nonexistent free time and are generally pretty affable.

    That said, don't take it personal when you get ripped on for a mistake. Surgical mistakes can be life or death for your patient, and I promise you'll never forget how to hold the scissors the right way now. The fact that they act chill afterward is more a sign that they don't hold it against you.
     
  5. ACSurgeon

    ACSurgeon Acute Care Surgeon
    Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Messages:
    1,854
    Likes Received:
    1,821
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I don't think it's unreasonable to have some good resident-attending relationships outside of work. Obviously not with attendings who are malignant. The hierarchy is still there, and they might still rough you up when you need it, but overall a positive relationship. We'll never become psych or EM as a profession where we call our attendings by their first names.
     
    Winged Scapula likes this.
  6. Goro

    Faculty 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    45,769
    Likes Received:
    64,194
    Status:
    Non-Student
    This is a pathological mentoring style, and it's not limited to Medicine. Admiral Rickover, the father of the nuclear submarine, was identical to what you're describing here.

    This personality type only works when masochistic, but driven and capable mentees who try to do everything possible to please their master. They live for the occasional pleasant compliment.


    You can't and shouldn't be this person's "friend"...think of him more as an evil parent.

     
    LeafyTreeTops likes this.
  7. SLUser11

    SLUser11 CRS
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    2,876
    Likes Received:
    765
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I believe residents and attendings should have a "friendly" relationship that is void of malignancy, yelling, condescending comments, etc. However, I'm not sure that being drinking buddies is a great idea.

    During my first couple years as an attending, I straddled the line between buddy and boss, and it was sort of exhausting. Ultimately, you will have to reprimand the residents at some point, and they really don't see you as an authority figure unless you see yourself as one. Overall, I believe the "buddy" surgeon is a less effective teacher than the grey-haired surgeon.

    I don't go to parties and go out to eat with the residents except for special occasions (holidays, end-of-year celebrations, etc). Then again, I have a young family, and I don't really do that with ANYBODY inside or outside of medicine very often.
     
  8. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
    Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    38,585
    Likes Received:
    26,777
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Like @SouthernSurgeon, I was really only friends with attendings who'd been residents or fellows during my training and had stayed on/come back. There were only 2 attendings I can think of that socialized with a few residents (one ended up marrying a medical student but that's another story ;) ).

    Otherwise, I would find the dissonance difficult to rectify. I use the same policy at work: I do not go out drinking with my employees or any other social events except our annual holiday dinner. I've noticed that our PA made that mistake early on and the staff now has difficulty treating her with as much respect as my partners and I; I think they cannot separate friend from boss.
     
  9. stevesteve123

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2011
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    37

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Psai

    Psai Snitches get zero vicryl
    Physician 2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2014
    Messages:
    10,921
    Likes Received:
    22,113
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    I am also interested in the sttory
     
  11. dienekes88

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Messages:
    1,738
    Likes Received:
    148
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Learning doesn't happen without a little bit of sympathetic tone. However, what the attending considers "a little bit" may vary. Teaching style depends in part on how the attending was taught, though, and I have a suspicion that early formative experiences as a resident teaching medical students also affect a surgeon's way of teaching. There's also a world of difference between abrasive commentary (even maybe condescending comments) while the attending is guiding you through the case... and yelling at you while you try to assist him in the case.

    Really great to hear the perspective from the other side.
     
    #10 dienekes88, Aug 16, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015
    Winged Scapula likes this.
  12. thedrjojo

    Physician 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Messages:
    23,826
    Likes Received:
    15,946
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    Our program is very cordial and there's some social relationships, but I think boundaries are appropriate. One of our transplant guys will go play basketball with some residents on the weekends, I'm Facebook friends with some of my attendings (But don't drink or have crazy parties that I'd be worried about posting a picture of), but I'm not besties with any of them
     
    ThoracicGuy, Psai and Winged Scapula like this.
  13. epsilonprodigy

    epsilonprodigy Physicist Enough
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    741
    Likes Received:
    79
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    It's so interesting to get others' take on this. I never really doubt my desire to go into surgery- what I do doubt is my ability to learn what I need to, and develop the confidence I'll need when I'm at the helm, in this sort of environment. I'm hard on myself: I know when/if I screw up, and will be hard on myself afterward even if my superiors shrug it off. I can shake off the rough treatment for now, largely because if I really do deserve a lashing, I've already given myself one twice as hard as any power-tripping attending could. Conversely, if I'm getting read the riot act because I put the patient's socks on "wrong" after surgery, I can see it as a reflection on the tantrum-thrower's attitude, not my competence. Over time, though, I worry that I would learn to doubt myself and feel "lower" than everyone else-after all, we rarely hear the details of what our peers endure. Obviously this would not be good for learning or patient care.
     
    Winged Scapula likes this.
  14. VagusKid15

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Medical Student
    I'm an intern and CT surg was my first rotation. One of the young attendings took me out for a burger and beer when I finished the month. This may have been in part to me mentioning I was interested in CT and it was sort of a mentorship vibe but still awesome. It's unique that the nicest surgeons at my program are the CT guys.
     
    ThoracicGuy likes this.

Share This Page