Wednesday, November 7, 2007

How to prevent disaster?!?!?!

I've learned that no matter how big the hospital seems, it has the potential to shrink at just the wrong moment. Today I was reminded about how important it is to carefully monitor everything you say, regardless of what your intentions are. I seem to find myself asking questions in the wrong manner or venting about a less than optimal experience at just the wrong time. I somehow managed to disparage an entire medical specialty today with one simple question.

The question was innocent enough, but it's all about context. It is impossible to predict what reaction someone may have. I think the difficulty is that you are constantly being evaluated as a medical student, in a way that you are not really sure what to do sometimes. I don't have any desire to be disingenous about my goals or career plans, but at the same time I want Attendings to know that I take their rotation seriously. You want to be eager without being over the top. You want to be interested without being patronizing. You want to learn without fear of a negative evaluation.

It is interesting that sometimes learning and the process of evaluation don't coincide, and may even conflict. Studying for the test, and being prepared for life aren't necessarily the same thing. In medicine, you hope these two line up. You also hope that ultimately truth prevails regardless of context.

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