Who do You Think You Are?
Dear Sir or Madame,
I am exceedingly glad to be done with the rotation. I have been a resident for almost two years and that month was perhaps the worst experience of my medical career. You made what should have been a moderately unpleasant experience which is what we expect on rotations in your specialty into an almost unendurable ordeal which no one in any other career except ours would tolerate with as much good humor as I did.
I have most certainly quit jobs for less, and it is only the iron grip on my gonads enjoyed by the hospital that kept me from telling you to “admit your own goddamn patients.”
Now, the fact that you had it harder when you were a resident, something you pointed out on every possible occasion, is completely irrelevant to me. I don’t care. Let’s just assume I am a pussy and leave it at that. I’m not about to change my ways now just to please you. You’re not my mother. You’re not my father. Hell, you’re not even in my chain of command and your bad evaluation is going to sit in my file doing nothing until, one day, some alien archeologist sifting through the sterile rubble of our planet deciphers it and comments to his collegues that you were a real horse’s ass.
You accused me of being unenthusiastic and on this charge I am completely guilty. I am interested in most aspects of medicine including your specialty but if you expected me to clap my hands and squeal for joy at 4AM when confronted with the twelfth admission of the night it is no wonder you were disappointed. As even you grudingly admitted that I did my job and everything asked of me, I don’t know what else you expected except for me to kiss your ass and pretend I live for every-third-night call
I was also less than thrilled to be pimped over the phone in the early morning hours when all I was trying to do was admit an uncomplicated patient. If you want something other than what I ordered for the patient have the goodness to tell me as I am not a mind-reader. And as I am usually physically ill at that time in the morning from fatigue, dehydration, caffeine, and lack of sleep, just tell me which of many formulas you would prefer for me to use to calculate creatinine clearance and I will use it. Don’t make me decide and then ask me to justify my decision.
Did I mention it was 4AM? I don’t care. We weren’t even talking about a renal patient. On every occasion when we spent an hour on the phone picking the nits off of nits I had a board full of admissions from the other services I was covering and a couple of pagers that that would not stop beeping. If I am to sit under a tree in the agora soaking in your wisdom in the socratic manner than call off the dogs from the other services. We don’t have time. I would have also liked to have layed down for an hour or two after I cleared the board and you were seriously slowing me down.
Additionally, if you were reading the lab values off of your computer at home, why did you have me repeat them to you over the phone? This is just sadism on your part and why, after I found out, I refused to do it. Who do you think you are, anyways? You don’t pay my measly salary, I have sworn no oath to be your little scut whore, I’m about ten years older than you, and there is absolutely nothing in it for me to repeat numbers to you over the phone. And your weasel-like excuse that it was good practice make no sense. Practice for what? My eight-year-old can read numbers over the phone. I reviewed the lab values and the fact that you seemed to think I had not belies the trust you purported to have in me as a fellow physician.
I also didn’t appreciate your patronizing attitude and how you called me “Doctor” in an ironic and insulting manner. On one hand you insisted that you expected a lot out of me (“doctor”) and that you expected me to think independently (“doctor). On the other hand you micromanaged every single decision to the point that when I asked you why you didn’t just come in yourself and eliminate the middleman, I was being completely serious. The premise that you were treating me like a fellow physician was ridiculous. If you treated your colleagues like that I’d be surprised. And as I am working for about a tenth of what you make on an hourly basis, well, the reality is that you treated me and every other resident who has worked with you as low-wage sweat shop labor.
Not to mention that If I was a valued colleague you wouldn’t have been so snotty when I gave you my opinion.
That’s another thing, if you don’t want my opinion, don’t ask for it and don’t get all bent out of shape when I give it to you. In my opinion, my job on the rotation was to provide cheap clerical labor for which you otherwise would have had to pay somebody a decent salary. I think I’m on the money with that opinion, at least from my point of view. If you don’t agree, well, you don’t agree and the fact that I didn’t apologize for my opinion should tell you something.
In the end, I think that’s what really pissed you off. When you called me on the phone at the end of the rotation to express your displeasure with me and my attitude you were probably expecting the usual obseqiousness to which you are accustomed and some sort of apology with a promise to do better.
But you don’t own me. I did my job even though I don’t like you and I’ll be damned if I’ll apologize to make you feel better about your personal control issues. You do your thing, I’ll do mine, and I will never have to work for you or with you again.
P. Bear, MD