Yadster101

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Hey all,

So I'm a devout Muslim that prays 5x a day. Although that may sound hard it's really not bad. I wake up at ~5am pray for a couple minutes and go back to sleep. Rinse and repeat for the other prayer times which can be done approx anytime between 12-5, 5-8, 8:30-9:30, 9:30- late into the night. The times change according to the number of day light hours, but what I posted above is a good general range.

how difficult is it going to be to arrange for my prayers during rotations? Most hospitals have a chapel and it takes me less than 5 mins to pray. On a side note, if you were Muslim , could you imagine one of your attending lowering your grade? Should I mention that I'm going to pray or just say I need a quick break? Do they normally watch you like a hawk during rotations?

Thanks!
 

sliceofbread136

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Hey all,

So I'm a devout Muslim that prays 5x a day. Although that may sound hard it's really not bad. I wake up at ~5am pray for a couple minutes and go back to sleep. Rinse and repeat for the other prayer times which can be done approx anytime between 12-5, 5-8, 8:30-9:30, 9:30- late into the night. The times change according to the number of day light hours, but what I posted above is a good general range.

how difficult is it going to be to arrange for my prayers during rotations? Most hospitals have a chapel and it takes me less than 5 mins to pray. On a side note, if you were Muslim , could you imagine one of your attending lowering your grade? Should I mention that I'm going to pray or just say I need a quick break? Do they normally watch you like a hawk during rotations?

Thanks!
It could, especially during surgery. But hey that's life, do what you gotta do
 

girlofgrace7

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I second the above. Surgery is probably the only rotation that will likely be an issue (maybe ob/gyn if you're on like gyn onc or it's crazy busy). The other rotations, it will likely not be an issue to slip out on either side of lunch or when you go to use the bathroom or when you step out to preround or see a patient if you don't want to draw attention to stepping out to pray. I'm a pediatric resident, and most of the time, it doesn't matter to me one way or the other when/if students are there all the time since they often go to work on stuff in their own workroom when our workrooms get crowded, and they have so many legitimate reasons to be gone (lectures and tests for their rotation) that it's tough to watch them too closely even if I wanted to (which I don't... as long as I can tell they care and are doing what's expected like presenting patients on rounds, I usually send them home as early as possible if nothing is going on and I'm too busy to teach much that day). Surgery can be a different story though. I had several all-day surgeries as a med student (some of my classmates had ones that went a solid 12-15 hours for flap procedures and such) where I wasn't able to step out to eat or urinate or anything. If it's not a surgery that takes forever, it shouldn't be a big deal to go in between surgeries though. If you get to pick or rank which surgical services you rotate on, ask around about how long the surgeries usually are before submitting that list. Usually, the most notoriously long surgeries are adult ENT stuff (if they are doing flaps), neurosurgery, CT surgery, and oncologic surgeries.
 
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Yadster101

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I second the above. Surgery is probably the only rotation that will likely be an issue (maybe ob/gyn if you're on like gyn onc or it's crazy busy). The other rotations, it will likely not be an issue to slip out on either side of lunch or when you go to use the bathroom or when you step out to preround or see a patient if you don't want to draw attention to stepping out to pray. I'm a pediatric resident, and most of the time, it doesn't matter to me one way or the other when/if students are there all the time since they often go to work on stuff in their own workroom when our workrooms get crowded, and they have so many legitimate reasons to be gone (lectures and tests for their rotation) that it's tough to watch them too closely even if I wanted to (which I don't... as long as I can tell they care and are doing what's expected like presenting patients on rounds, I usually send them home as early as possible if nothing is going on and I'm too busy to teach much that day). Surgery can be a different story though. I had several all-day surgeries as a med student (some of my classmates had ones that went a solid 12-15 hours for flap procedures and such) where I wasn't able to step out to eat or urinate or anything. If it's not a surgery that takes forever, it shouldn't be a big deal to go in between surgeries though. If you get to pick or rank which surgical services you rotate on, ask around about how long the surgeries usually are before submitting that list. Usually, the most notoriously long surgeries are adult ENT stuff (if they are doing flaps), neurosurgery, CT surgery, and oncologic surgeries.
So it's common for a single surgery to last 10+ hours?
 

Smurfette

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First of all, it's not like your surgery rotation is going to be all 8+ hour surgeries. Most of the time, cases are much shorter and you should easily be able to take a few minutes between cases to pray.

Second of all, if you know you're going into an extraordinarily long case where you would need a prayer break, let the resident and attending know at the beginning of the case that at some point between time A and time B, you'll need a break. Then sometime during that time window (and not when the SHTF or right at a crucial point like an anastomosis or something), say "I'm going to step out for a few minutes" or if unsure about timing, ask if it's an ok time. Go pray. Come back in. It's ok. No one will penalize you. The only way this would be an issue is if you abuse it (ask for breaks when you don't need them, or frequently disappear for abnormally long periods of time) or use your faith as an excuse to get out of doing certain cases altogether.

When I was a chief, I appreciated it when a student would pull me aside and let me know if they needed an accommodation during the rotation. Usually going to pray is unlikely to be noticed since you have some flexibility in times. But letting your team know will help alleviate anxiety you have about it, as well as prevent awkward moments later on when a wrong assumption is made or you have a gunner classmate who tries to point out your absence.
 

floatingribs

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Depending on where you live I'm fairly sure they've heard of Muslims needing short breaks for prayer plus outside of surgery time wise it's the equivalent of a quick bathroom break. (i asked my uncle about this for me in the future and the best policy is just to let them know in advance). Also I'm fairly sure if you're losing point just for praying comes under discrimination but hopefully it works out well!
 

Merely

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Is it possible that they lower your grade because you're a muslim? Yes, it is possible but probably unlikely. Just depends on who you get. Good luck.
 

FactorV

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how difficult is it going to be to arrange for my prayers during rotations? Most hospitals have a chapel and it takes me less than 5 mins to pray. On a side note, if you were Muslim , could you imagine one of your attending lowering your grade? Should I mention that I'm going to pray or just say I need a quick break? Do they normally watch you like a hawk during rotations?
For most rotations, this should not really be a problem. My advice would be to contact the clerkship director before you start each rotation and let them know that this is what you need to do. Be completely upfront about this, it's important to set the expectations of the residents and attendings you'll be working with. Furthermore, if the clerkship director says that this is OK, and you run into trouble with a disgruntled resident or faculty member, you can always fall back on "Hey, I cleared this with Dr. XXX the clerkship director."

As a tip for your surgery rotations: if you're going in for a long procedure, and you know you're going to have to break your sterility and leave the OR to pray, let the scrub know you may have to leave in the middle of the procedure and then come back in. Give the scrub tech an extra sterile gown and an extra set of sterile gloves in your size. Also, have someone teach you how to don a sterile gown and gloves by yourself, without the scrub helping you. That way you can offer to gown and glove yourself when you come back in if the scrub is too busy to help you do it.
 

DrBowtie

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The best way to handle this is be 100% upfront about this with all members of the team. You don't want to be that guy who disappears all the time that no one knows where they are.

Also, you're going to have to read the room and choose your times carefully. Don't become a distraction to team function and you'll be fine.
 
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Goro

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Have you talked to an imam about this? You might be able to get a "bye"
 
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hallowmann

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You'll find 5 min breaks all throughout the day. If you don't feel comfortable, with the exception of being in the middle of a procedure, you could say you need to use the bathroom, which would likely also be true for ablution. I have run into physicians that were particularly critical of certain religious and ethnic groups, that I would understand someone being apprehensive about bringing up their religion to certain attendings and residents.

It was very rare on rotations that you wouldn't find 5 min when you can get away. Obviously, choose a good time. If your schedule is such on a rotation where this becomes a problem, you can/should be upfront with your attending/resident. I'm sure you'll even have muslim attendings from time to time pretty much wherever you are (whats the stat, 5% of US docs are muslim?). I would also look into the requirement for combining in your particular school of thought, because based on Prophetic traditions there are numerous reasons to do so.

Just wait until you are home
This is not always a possibility, especially during the winter and when you might be in the hospital for 12-16 hours that encompass all daylight hours. Nondenominational chapels exist in every hospital I've been in. OP might even find congregations praying in his hospital at designated times.
 
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Fenixak

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Apr 30, 2014
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Hey all,

So I'm a devout Muslim that prays 5x a day. Although that may sound hard it's really not bad. I wake up at ~5am pray for a couple minutes and go back to sleep. Rinse and repeat for the other prayer times which can be done approx anytime between 12-5, 5-8, 8:30-9:30, 9:30- late into the night. The times change according to the number of day light hours, but what I posted above is a good general range.

how difficult is it going to be to arrange for my prayers during rotations? Most hospitals have a chapel and it takes me less than 5 mins to pray. On a side note, if you were Muslim , could you imagine one of your attending lowering your grade? Should I mention that I'm going to pray or just say I need a quick break? Do they normally watch you like a hawk during rotations?

Thanks!
Yes, it is going to hurt on rotations. There will be so many times that you will not be able to attend clinical activities. Even though you probably could go and pray whenever you want, people will probably roll their eyes and not appreciate it much. People get their grade lowered for so many reasons, mostly small. I would be surprised if your assessments did not suffer even a tiny bit. I've had poor evals for leaving at 5:30pm to pick my children up from daycare after a 10 hour surgery. They wanted me to stay for another 10 hour surgery (finished at 7:30 am).
 
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Yadster101

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Yes, it is going to hurt on rotations. There will be so many times that you will not be able to attend clinical activities. Even though you probably could go and pray whenever you want, people will probably roll their eyes and not appreciate it much. People get their grade lowered for so many reasons, mostly small. I would be surprised if your assessments did not suffer even a tiny bit. I've had poor evals for leaving at 5:30pm to pick my children up from daycare after a 10 hour surgery. They wanted me to stay for another 10 hour surgery (finished at 7:30 am).
Well the consensus seems to be that it's nbd. Also how will there be "so many times" that I won't be able to attend clinical activities?. I can schedule the prayers around a pretty wide schedule, and if I combine prayers (which may be allowed under certain circumstances) then the schedule is even more flexible. It's not much longer than a bathroom break. Do you really miss so many activities if you want to use the bathroom in the next couple of hours?

Also you're point about leaving at 530 doesn't really apply. Prayers do not prevent me from staying for multiple 10 hour surgeries. That would be difficult, but not because of the prayer schedule.
 
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PrettyLadyDoc24

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Well the consensus seems to be that it's nbd. Also how will there be "so many times" that I won't be able to attend clinical activities?. I can schedule the prayers around a pretty wide schedule, and if I combine prayers (which may be allowed under certain circumstances) then the schedule is even more flexible. It's not much longer than a bathroom break. Do you really miss so many activities if you want to use the bathroom in the next couple of hours?

Also you're point about leaving at 530 doesn't really apply. Prayers do not prevent me from staying for multiple 10 hour surgeries. That would be difficult, but not because of the prayer schedule.
If you plan ahead you should be golden, even on Surgery. No one ever noticed when I stepped away and I mainly just excused myself with no explanation!
 

Fenixak

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Well the consensus seems to be that it's nbd. Also how will there be "so many times" that I won't be able to attend clinical activities?. I can schedule the prayers around a pretty wide schedule, and if I combine prayers (which may be allowed under certain circumstances) then the schedule is even more flexible. It's not much longer than a bathroom break. Do you really miss so many activities if you want to use the bathroom in the next couple of hours?

Also you're point about leaving at 530 doesn't really apply. Prayers do not prevent me from staying for multiple 10 hour surgeries. That would be difficult, but not because of the prayer schedule.
I was giving you an example of getting lower scores even when having a good reason (i.e. kids). You want to be excused a few times a day for prayer. A lot of rotations will be okay, but there will be some that will be extremely difficult. If you have to pray while your in a surgery that starts at 11 and goes til 5:30, you'd have to scrub out to go pray. That would most likely be looked down upon by some people. Patient care comes first.
 
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Yadster101

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I was giving you an example of getting lower scores even when having a good reason (i.e. kids). You want to be excused a few times a day for prayer. A lot of rotations will be okay, but there will be some that will be extremely difficult. If you have to pray while your in a surgery that starts at 11 and goes til 5:30, you'd have to scrub out to go pray. That would most likely be looked down upon by some people. Patient care comes first.
Well for children, I assume that you wanted to be permanently excused for the day. I just need a few minutes and then I'm good to go for how ever many hours are needed. Couldn't I try to do a surgery rotation that does surgery from like 6am till like 3 pm?
 
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Well for children, I assume that you wanted to be permanently excused for the day. I just need a few minutes and then I'm good to go for how ever many hours are needed. Couldn't I try to do a surgery rotation that does surgery from like 6am till like 3 pm?
That surgery rotation doesn't really exist, at least not at my med school. I worked 4am-10pm some days. Some days I got really lucky and was done at 6pm but I worked at least a 14 hour day x5 and then like 5-12 on weekends because my team didn't operate on weekends
 

Fenixak

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Well for children, I assume that you wanted to be permanently excused for the day. I just need a few minutes and then I'm good to go for how ever many hours are needed. Couldn't I try to do a surgery rotation that does surgery from like 6am till like 3 pm?

Look, you asked a question, I gave you my opinion. If there are moments where you are looking at your watch, leaving clinic/surgery/lecture/conference to go pray, you are bound to get someone to think you are disinterested or not putting patient care first. But honestly, who cares. I was trying to paint a picture that no matter what you do for whatever reason, someone is bound to take it the wrong way. There is even a running joke about not sitting down on chairs as a 3rd year med student because of it lowering evaluations. You will be fine either way. Just be up front about where you are going and how much time you need.
 

Syncrohnize

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OP, Muslims (I know it's not an ethnicity but it does correlate highly with the middle eastern/south Asian population) have a pretty solid footing in medicine just like Asians/Indians. My recommendation is that you seek advice from MSA members at your school to see exactly what they did. Anyhow, asked a couple of friends and they all said it was totally chill even during surgery. I do agree with an above poster that it may depend on location.


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The way that most busy, practicing Muslims that I know deal with this is by praying back to back (as in praying dhuhr right before asr and then praying asr - same thing for maghrib and isha) which will decrease the number of breaks you need to take to pray. People should understand if you communicate well and time it right.
 

Sleman

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Hey

Why don't you consider grouping the prayers (Noon-afternoon & Sundown-night)
 

Mad Jack

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Yes, it is going to hurt on rotations. There will be so many times that you will not be able to attend clinical activities. Even though you probably could go and pray whenever you want, people will probably roll their eyes and not appreciate it much. People get their grade lowered for so many reasons, mostly small. I would be surprised if your assessments did not suffer even a tiny bit. I've had poor evals for leaving at 5:30pm to pick my children up from daycare after a 10 hour surgery. They wanted me to stay for another 10 hour surgery (finished at 7:30 am).
Sounds like you had some dickish attendings.
 
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