Would it be a bad idea to do a 4th year rotation with a hostile classmate?

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kgamon8

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I'm a below average 3rd year student with no mentors. I also am not sure whether to pursue peds becuase I didn't have a great rotation. Friends who went to an offsite community rotation LOVED it and highly recommended as the attending does full scope peds (inpatient, level 2 NICU with opportunities for intubations) . I reached out to him and his office early this month to set up an early april rotation to figure out if i can do this for a career. I also wanted a strong letter and find this hard to obtain at my school where you get a diferent attending evey week

Another student (who already worked with him third year and has a letter) is livid becuase i took "her" month. She accused me of sabotaging her and says that I don't deserve this rotation becuase I'm not committed to peds and only doing it for a letter. She says she needs this for her career. I'm not the nicest person ever but no one has ever been this harsh to me in school, I get along with everyone. (In comparison to me, she already has great letter, she has honored every rotation, step score definitely above me and shes set on peds and I'm trying to figure things out.)

But she then called me to inform me that the competition is on and she will be joining me in May. Literally every other month before ERAS is full. I want to switch out because she honestly sounds like she will make this bad for me, she knows the hospital and the attending already. I feel terrible but I had a great talk with the attending on the phone and think I might have a chance. I do feel bad as she has the relationship with him and had planned on coming back. Ultimately I have to think of my future and my mental health.

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I'm a below average 3rd student with no mentors. I also am not sure whether to pursue peds becuase I didn't have a great rotation. Friends who went to an offsite community rotation LOVED it and highly recommended as the attending does full scope peds (inpatient, level 3 . I reached out to him and his office early this month to set up an early april rotation to figure out if i can do this for a career. I also wanted a strong letter and find this hard to obtain at my school where you get a diferent attending evey week

Another student (who already worked with him third year and has a letter) is livid becuase i took "her" month. She accused me of sabotaging her and says that I don't deserve this rotation becuase I'm not committed to peds and only doing it for a letter. She says she needs this for her career. I'm not the nicest person ever but no one has ever been this harsh to me in school, I get along with everyone. (In comparison to me, she already has great letter, she has honored every rotation, step score definitely above me and shes set on peds and I'm trying to figure things out.)

But she then called me to inform me that the competition is on and she will be joining me in May. Literally every other month before ERAS is full. I want to switch out because she honestly sounds like she will make this bad for me, she knows the hospital and the attending already. I feel terrible but I had a great talk with the attending on the phone and think I might have a chance. I do feel bad as she has the relationship with him and had planned on coming back. Ultimately I have to think of my future and my mental health.
This is straight up some toxic gunner level nonsense. Is there any physical evidence of these exchanges? If you're >70% sure this person is legitimately about to make your life hell, its definitely worth bringing up to your administration. I'm taking what you said about their behavior at face value, but if this person is legitimately like what you're describing, its not someone I would want to work with until they check themselves.
 
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This is straight up some toxic gunner level nonsense. Is there any physical evidence of these exchanges? If you're >70% sure this person is legitimately about to make your life hell, its definitely worth bringing up to your administration. I'm taking what you said about their behavior at face value, but if this person is legitimately like what you're describing, its not someone I would want to work with until they check themselves.
She’s not stealing it from me. She asked the doctor while I went through the clinic office. So it’s definitely a miscommunication problem and not me trying to steal it or vice versa.

After saying that on the phone she apologized and said we’ll be a great team and I’m not sure what to believe bc she was very rude on the phone and said she wouldn’t share procedures

I’m not a great student while she is can’t really afford admin getting involved and this doc is community
 
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She’s not stealing it from me. She asked the doctor while I went through the clinic office. So it’s definitely a miscommunication problem and not me trying to steal it or vice versa.

After saying that on the phone she apologized and said we’ll be a great team and I’m not sure what to believe bc she was very rude on the phone and said she wouldn’t share procedures

I’m not a great student while she is can’t really afford admin getting involved and this doc is community
I'm not saying you're the one that is toxic here. The other student is. Especially with this new info that she said she wouldn't share procedures.

I was only advising going to admin if you had anything physical evidence (I.e. texts) to go to them with. If you don't have anything in writing, and it's all been verbal, then no reason to get them involved because they're not going to do anything.

This is your education and you're paying for it. No other student has the right to tell you that you don't deserve a clerkship or intimidate/belittle you for "not being committed to peds." This could be a different experience from your last peds clerkship, and may help influence your career choice. It sounds like the student already realized what she said to you was toxic. If you're still not sure where you stand with her, you should have a conversation with her and explain you're still uncomfortable and make it clear that your education is your priority just like hers is to her.

Hopefully that allays your concerns, but I'd still be on guard for gunnerish moves from this person. If she's boxing you out of procedures, then be vocal to your attending and ask for hands on opportunities.

If you're not feeling comfortable with working with her after that conversation, then yeah for your own sanity back out of the clerkship.

My point is that this person needs to know that her behavior crossed a line, if she hasn't realized it yet.
 
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You have every right to be there and it sounds like a great experience.

I'd be hesitant to let her win unless you are truly worries to be walking on eggshells. Just be nice, get there early, and don't trust a thing she says. Give the attending no reason to doubt YOU if she starts saying stuff.
 
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I wouldn’t worry about it too much unless she’s already gotten in your head. The attending will be driving the ship and deciding who does what. Work hard, be prepared, and ask to do things. Speak up if you feel you aren’t getting opportunities.

As a gift to you, I will give you the little trick that will get you all the procedures you want on any rotation. Here it is:

Ask to do the thing right before the thing.

Instead of asking to intubate, ask if you can practice bag-masking. Ask to set up for the central line and ultrasound the vessels. Ask to set up and clean the wound/prep for a lac closure. Whatever the thing you want to do is, ask to do the part right before it.

Why? Because not only is the before part highly educational, but it puts you physically in position to do the next part. Much easier to place a central line if you’re already gowned and gloved and holding the probe. Easy to intubate if you’re already in position holding the mask. Takes very little to hand you a laryngoscope and a tube and let you take a crack at it.

There ya go. My trick for getting oodles of procedures. Works like a charm.
 
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medical school inevitably pits people against each other. Medical students and residents often get emotionally beaten down in every possible way, then we put on a national clinical skills exam (used to rather) that tests bedside manner/empathy, lol. Oh the irony.

Her behavior was rude and uncalled for, but she may not be a bad person, may have just made a poor choice, letting emotion get the best of her. I would say not to let it ruin your experience- as an attending if I saw two medical students competing in front of me, then I would just give them a simple task of "Whoever brings me starbucks the most days, wins". Im just kidding on that part, but seriously, the overachievers are obvious, and hard work/being personable are valuable traits that are often admired.
 
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I wouldn’t worry about it too much unless she’s already gotten in your head. The attending will be driving the ship and deciding who does what. Work hard, be prepared, and ask to do things. Speak up if you feel you aren’t getting opportunities.

As a gift to you, I will give you the little trick that will get you all the procedures you want on any rotation. Here it is:

Ask to do the thing right before the thing.

Instead of asking to intubate, ask if you can practice bag-masking. Ask to set up for the central line and ultrasound the vessels. Ask to set up and clean the wound/prep for a lac closure. Whatever the thing you want to do is, ask to do the part right before it.

Why? Because not only is the before part highly educational, but it puts you physically in position to do the next part. Much easier to place a central line if you’re already gowned and gloved and holding the probe. Easy to intubate if you’re already in position holding the mask. Takes very little to hand you a laryngoscope and a tube and let you take a crack at it.

There ya go. My trick for getting oodles of procedures. Works like a charm.
Yeah this is great advice. Another thing I found to be helpful was to start setting up for a procedure like you’re going to do it and have done it before. For example, my first trauma shift, we had a guy come in who had like 6 lacs that needed to be closed. So I got the lac kit, my gloves, the suture id use, lido, etc etc. Put it all on a mayo stand in the patient bay. The attending came in and saw I had gotten everything ready, looked it over and saw everything was in order, and told me to proceed. I did that so many times during third year, it worked every single time.
 
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Yeah this is great advice. Another thing I found to be helpful was to start setting up for a procedure like you’re going to do it and have done it before. For example, my first trauma shift, we had a guy come in who had like 6 lacs that needed to be closed. So I got the lac kit, my gloves, the suture id use, lido, etc etc. Put it all on a mayo stand in the patient bay. The attending came in and saw I had gotten everything ready, looked it over and saw everything was in order, and told me to proceed. I did that so many times during third year, it worked every single time.
Exactly. I think some students stand around hoping the attending will set everything up and then ask them to do the procedure. Very rarely happens. But a student who sets up and does it well looks like someone who knows what they’re doing. That’s the person who gets to do the procedure unless there’s some compelling reason a student shouldn’t do it.
 
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I'm a below average 3rd year student with no mentors. I also am not sure whether to pursue peds becuase I didn't have a great rotation. Friends who went to an offsite community rotation LOVED it and highly recommended as the attending does full scope peds (inpatient, level 2 NICU with opportunities for intubations) . I reached out to him and his office early this month to set up an early april rotation to figure out if i can do this for a career. I also wanted a strong letter and find this hard to obtain at my school where you get a diferent attending evey week

Another student (who already worked with him third year and has a letter) is livid becuase i took "her" month. She accused me of sabotaging her and says that I don't deserve this rotation becuase I'm not committed to peds and only doing it for a letter. She says she needs this for her career. I'm not the nicest person ever but no one has ever been this harsh to me in school, I get along with everyone. (In comparison to me, she already has great letter, she has honored every rotation, step score definitely above me and shes set on peds and I'm trying to figure things out.)

But she then called me to inform me that the competition is on and she will be joining me in May. Literally every other month before ERAS is full. I want to switch out because she honestly sounds like she will make this bad for me, she knows the hospital and the attending already. I feel terrible but I had a great talk with the attending on the phone and think I might have a chance. I do feel bad as she has the relationship with him and had planned on coming back. Ultimately I have to think of my future and my mental health.
I'm sorry you have to deal with this on top of other stressors in life. Best thing to do is just focus on yourself and ignore this person as much as possible. With Covid life has become stressful and I've seen the worst come out in people. Just focus on making sure you get a residency spot.
 
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You could consider this:

Keep the rotation. Don't let this self-righteous person bully you out of a rotation or learning opportunities. I would recommend documenting all your interactions with them thus far. You could consider taking this to an admin/mentor you trust. Let them (the admin/mentor) know the whole situation and let them know you have documentation of your interactions with this other student thus far. I'm not sure anything is actionable at this point. However, if you have problems down the road/during the rotation, you will have documentation already so it becomes less of a he said/she said situation.

Hopefully said admin will say 'duly noted, thank you for letting me know' and things will be documented. I don't think it's worth stirring the pot with an admin doing anything more than helping you document at this point (give the other student the benefit of the doubt). However, again, you have your story documented if something happens down the line.

As others alluded to she may have had a bad day/bad stressor at the time. From what you've said, she sounds like she's just downright obnoxious, but you can give her the benefit of the doubt while still protecting yourself.
 
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However, again, you have your story documented if something happens down the line.
Highly agree with this. By bringing this up now, you’ve already put yourself on record of this happening. Now if you have to go with something actionable, she can’t just try to explain it away as a misunderstanding.
 
Also, if you go the route I mentioned, don't ever show your hand to them. If they are unprofessional during the rotation, don't let them know what you have done as a means to hopefully tone them down...just continue to document and make people/admin/mentor aware as you deem appropriate. If the other student does something severely out of line, then it would be time to do something about it.

Again, by this method, you protect yourself as much as you are able, potentially do not let the other student get away with this behavior if you find it is recurrent and not just a 'had a bad day' phenomenon, and you come out on the other side knowing you are/were the professional acting individual.
 
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I would text her w/ just about every communication y'all have at this point too. Evidence is key, should things happen. If that is the case, both in-person and through written communication, give absolutely no ammunition to her whatsoever. And if you text/email/etc back, write down everything you mean to say and leave no stone unturned. That is to say, "I feel" statements are great, and also write out what you DON'T want the Interpretation to be as well. Like this, "While I've voiced my concern to you, I would like to note that in no way do I mean [x, y, and z]". That way, your intentions are written without the ability for someone to say, "well I felt extremely threatened by her b/c she said [blah blah blah]".

You keep your rotation. You need this. You need this to do what you want. She probably does not. This is arguably more important for you to do well at. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise. That is to say, be genuinely kind to her, etc. but never put up w/ s*** you don't deserve.

And if you think you can finesse it, it may be worth talking to your doc about it, if they're willing to listen. Tell them your concerns, how you feel, and the fact that you just wanted this on their radar b/c it was concerning to you and you don't want anything to jeopardize your hard work. And I'd follow that up with something that indicates you're more than willing to do the work and not change based on this issue that has come up, etc. The fact that they'll get the same good work from you no matter what. That, to me, shows that you're covering your basis, but under any circumstance, you'd be doing the same good work no matter what and not try-harding b/c someone else is nearby, etc. Speaks to integrity.
 
I would go and do it, because it sounds like a good opportunity that is right for you. You can be respectfully distant of your painful-sounding classmate. Faculty were once in the same position as you (not all that long ago), and can see through this kind of stuff.

Edit: In response to the above- I would not talk to this faculty member about this situation. It sounds like they are doing your school a favor by having students work with them in a semi private practice job. The LAST thing that person wants to hear about is inter-student drama. Just show up, do an excellent job, be polite, ignore your classmate when they are being absurd, and it will show.
 
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I'm a below average 3rd year student with no mentors. I also am not sure whether to pursue peds becuase I didn't have a great rotation. Friends who went to an offsite community rotation LOVED it and highly recommended as the attending does full scope peds (inpatient, level 2 NICU with opportunities for intubations) . I reached out to him and his office early this month to set up an early april rotation to figure out if i can do this for a career. I also wanted a strong letter and find this hard to obtain at my school where you get a diferent attending evey week

Another student (who already worked with him third year and has a letter) is livid becuase i took "her" month. She accused me of sabotaging her and says that I don't deserve this rotation becuase I'm not committed to peds and only doing it for a letter. She says she needs this for her career. I'm not the nicest person ever but no one has ever been this harsh to me in school, I get along with everyone. (In comparison to me, she already has great letter, she has honored every rotation, step score definitely above me and shes set on peds and I'm trying to figure things out.)

But she then called me to inform me that the competition is on and she will be joining me in May. Literally every other month before ERAS is full. I want to switch out because she honestly sounds like she will make this bad for me, she knows the hospital and the attending already. I feel terrible but I had a great talk with the attending on the phone and think I might have a chance. I do feel bad as she has the relationship with him and had planned on coming back. Ultimately I have to think of my future and my mental health.
This is either a troll post or you are exaggerating.
 
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