Allow me to just rant about this AGAIN. Different story, same outcome. (I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, but I wanted to be sure that I passed my exams first. Hah.)
A few weeks ago I rotated through Orthopaedics. Now, even though the Musculoskeletal System was my biggest nemesis during our theory rotations, I was really looking forward to Ortho. I wanted to take the metaphorical bull by the horns. We had a lot of ward rounds scheduled with different consultants to optimise our learning in all the different sub-specialties.
At our first contact session with each consultant, they would take it upon themselves to give us a little “advice”. I really liked this. A lot of it focused on must-know topics for ortho, and a lot of them focused on general wellness, or tips for our future as junior doctors.
But one consultant had the following to say at the end of our first ward round with him. This was in our first week of Ortho so, as you can imagine, our theory was not up to scratch.
“It’s time to work now. Study more, sleep less. Start drinking really strong coffee. Next year you will chronically be sleep-deprived, and you may as well learn to cope with it now.”
Some of my colleagues giggled sheepishly, and he looked real dang proud of the talking-to that he had given us. I stood with my mouth half-open, and the only reason I didn’t say something that probably would have gotten me a disciplinary hearing or a bad ward mark was because I was dumbstruck.
Because, EXCUSE ME?!
I want to know if a doctor – this one or ANYone – would EVER give that kind of advice to a patient? “Mmmmh, yeees, yes, I see, yes, sleep is verrrry important for your biopsychosocial wellness, but I absolutely agree that it is in the best interests of your future career to work yourself half to death and become caffeine-dependent. Oh, THAT get’s my doctor-approved stamp RIGHT THERE!”
Well hell no, I would think such a doctor would be accused of negligence.
For that matter, I wonder if a doctor would ever give their child this advice? “No honey, I understand that you are exhausted and want to have dinner with us as a family tonight, but it is absolutely imperative that you study until you qualify for burnout so here is some extra strong coffee, now go study!”
I’m still so mad about this. Because what I’m trying to illustrate above is that no doctor in his right mind would advocate our kind of lifestyle to his patients or his children, so why do they try to impress it on medical students?
A few weeks later, thirty minutes before my final surgery exam, I heard a supervising doctor remark to one student, “Well, sleep is always good, but not the night before your exam.”
Say what? Say WHAT?!
So yes, sure, I’ve gone without sleep at times. And more often than not I’ve kicked myself, because my brain was mush. And yes, I’ve made unhealthy choices. But for a supervisor to encourage those kinds of choices, as if it is something to be proud of, as if we are somehow above the need for healthy lifestyles? That is not on.
I’m done, guys. I just cannot with this absolute ridiculosity (not a word, I admit) of these people.