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Don't Be Sarcastic

Discussion in 'Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties' started by Kaustikos, Sep 25, 2014.

  1. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It 7+ Year Member

    Jan 18, 2008
    Always Bespin
    I'm sarcastic. I'm facetious. The reason I've loved surgery thus far is because the staff is just like that.
    Well, I was made aware recently (today) that during grand rounds, faculty, attendings and residents were told to stop being sarcastic around medical students. The presenter said it was a change being promoted and encouraged in other schools (sure... ) I was curious. The reason was that students didn't know/arent familiar with it.
    So what gives? I'm a bit annoyed because it means you guys have to stop being yourselves. The funny part being that nurses/techs aren't affected ATM (which I've learned is funny since they feed into it by being like that).
    I'm embarrassed because I never had a problem with it. Also because of how stupid it seems to take the opinion of people in school who know nothing outside of school as reason to punish surgeons teaching us.
    "stop being sarcastic!"
    "yeah, sure"

    In the end, we tally'd the amount of times the fellow was sarcastic and fined him. The scrub tech walked out with a brand new car.
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  3. SouthernSurgeon

    SouthernSurgeon Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    I've monitored my behavior around medical students ever since my second year.

    I'm a rather sarcastic person as well, and I was on a service with a legendarily funny/sarcastic chief.

    We both got written up for lack of professionalism anonymously by a medical student. And this chief had won a major teaching award the year before and usually got along great with students.

    Among other complaints were that we were (allegedly) demeaning towards patients.

    This resulted in emails and a meeting with my PD.

    So now I am much more conscious around people I don't know well (ie students). I don't think any of my friends would ever think I'm callous or demeaning to patients - I in fact am known within our residency for being rather touchy feely with old people and cancer patients.

    Anyways. I check myself and make sure to keep that side of myself reserved when I am with studs. I hate it, but better that than the alternative of offending the PC police
    pmapunk66 and Winged Scapula like this.
  4. vhawk

    vhawk 2K Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2004
    It is very weird but we got almost this exact same lecture today
  5. SouthernSurgeon

    SouthernSurgeon Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Maybe you're at the same progeam
  6. balaguru

    balaguru 10+ Year Member

    Aug 15, 2007
    Keller, TX
    Program directors are on a mailing list. Maybe this was a recent topic of discussion.
  7. SLUser11

    SLUser11 CRS 10+ Year Member

    Feb 22, 2005
    It was not a recent discussion on the APDS listserv, but it probably is a good piece of advice. Medical students are very impressionable, and we lead by example. A lot of the bad behavior they witness from us is our own coping mechanisms since life in surgery (and surgical residency) is hard, and we deal with death/dying every day, making it feel less dramatic to us.

    I try my best to be on good behavior, but I still frequently slip up. The harder part for me, as a young faculty, is not trying to be buddy-buddy with the residents. It makes the day-to-day routine easier when everyone feels like peers/equals, but it makes the instruction/evaluation/reprimanding of residents harder when they don't see you as an authority figure.

    Sarcasm or not, probably the best thing we can do for the students is not talk s#@t about other specialties (ER, IM, etc), and develop positive communication skills with these other doctors. Of course, it's easy to do at 8am on a Monday when you're well-rested, and harder to do at 2am during a busy call night when they make your life inappropriately harder.
    Winged Scapula and pmapunk66 like this.
  8. vhawk

    vhawk 2K Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2004
    I generally (and genuinely) agree with you SLUser, but I am at a program that is very benign and goes out of its way to facilitate a great experience for the med students, and I find myself sometimes asking....who cares? Who cares if a couple of medical students see some behavior that they personally dont like? Who cares if they have a bad experience on a surgery rotation? Who cares if a kid who was never going to go into surgery...still doesnt go into surgery? Not every experience has to be amazing. Not every situation has to cater to every single participant in that situation. If you dont like what people say, and later on someone asks you to give your opinion, then its fine for you to give negative feedback, and point out that you didnt like what people said. But why do we have to care?

    Its not like they are failing their surgery shelf because their experience is so malignant. Its not like no one from this med school has ever gone into surgery because its so malignant and terrible. I had several rotations in med school that I found to be unpleasant. Most of the time it was because that field just "wasnt for me" but some of the time it was because I was with a ****ty resident, or whatever. So what?

    I wonder if some of this is just a consequence of the push to try to quantify everything. Now that med student reviews are normalized to a 0-100 scale and we can see that last year we were a 94 and this year we are a 78, SOMETHING MUST BE DONE! LOOK AT THE NUMBERS!! But I guess I just dont see what the big deal is.

    As a possibly unnecessary caveat: I personally very much enjoy teaching med students and trying to give them the best experience possible, I routinely have the highest evaluation scores from med students, and have never received a negative comment from any of them. This isnt bragging, I just dont want it to seem like I just have sour grapes. I do it because I enjoy the medical students. But just because I enjoy it doesnt mean I pretend like its this massively crucial important thing that everyone must do.
    Winged Scapula and SLUser11 like this.

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