epsilonprodigy

Physicist Enough
7+ Year Member
Jun 17, 2009
735
81
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?
 

TimesNewRoman

EM/CCM
7+ Year Member
May 14, 2013
2,878
2,984
Status
Attending Physician
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?
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.
 

pterygoideus

turn down for what
5+ Year Member
Mar 11, 2014
28
54
da OR
www.worldstarhiphop.com
Status
Resident [Any Field]
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.
 
About the Ads

ACSurgeon

Acute Care Surgeon
10+ Year Member
Jun 8, 2008
1,966
2,210
Status
Attending Physician
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?
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.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Winged Scapula

Goro

Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
58,991
88,699
Somewhere west of St. Louis
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.

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?
 
  • Like
Reactions: LeafyTreeTops

SLUser11

CRS
15+ Year Member
Feb 22, 2005
2,879
780
Status
Attending Physician
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?
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.
 

Winged Scapula

Cougariffic!
Staff member
Administrator
Lifetime Donor
20+ Year Member
Apr 9, 2000
39,916
28,347
forums.studentdoctor.net
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.
 

dienekes88

10+ Year Member
Jan 21, 2008
1,768
194
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?
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.
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.

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.
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.
Really great to hear the perspective from the other side.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Winged Scapula

thedrjojo

10+ Year Member
Jun 20, 2008
23,995
16,447
Status
Attending Physician
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
 

epsilonprodigy

Physicist Enough
7+ Year Member
Jun 17, 2009
735
81
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.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Winged Scapula
Jan 25, 2014
3
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.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ThoracicGuy
About the Ads