Tuesday, February 12, 2013


      As I sit here contemplating my rank list, which is due next week, I find myself putting the programs in order of how friendly and inviting the people at the interview were as opposed to the location and prestige of the program. I have been advised that I am better off making an excel spreadsheet and using a point system rather than haphazardly placing these hospitals in order of how I feel at the current moment. However, given the fact that my rank list can determine the next 4 years of my life: my location, my happiness, and the kind of doctor I will become, I think that going with my gut is important. Anyone can pick the program with the most prestigious name, but if the residents are miserable, they will be less likely to go the extra mile during residency, and that will inevitably influence how they practice medicine in the future.
      On most of these interviews, I was thrilled at how nice the other applicants were. On many of them, I left feeling like I would be happy working with any of them for the next few years. There was only one interview where I met a girl I did not click with, despite the fact that we had just a 5 minute conversation. The reason for this, was that the girl was being competitive with me. While I tried to chat and be friendly, she behaved in a way that would make one think that I was the enemy, and that there was just one anesthesia spot in the program we were interviewing for (I think there were 10). I cannot understand why someone would behave like that, because you never know when you will meet people again- we could end up working together as residents or even attendings in a few years, so why be anything but friendly?
      I feel lucky enough to have made great friends in medical school, friends who not only wanted to do well themselves- but genuinely wanted to see their friends succeed as well. I could always count on them to help me out when I didn't understand something, and likewise, they knew I had no problem spending hours with them to explain topics that I had more clarity on. Apparently, and rather unfortunately, this atmosphere is not commonplace in most medical school communities. Medical school is supposed to be a cut-throat environment where everyone competes with each other for better grades and is willing to throw their "friends" under the bus if it means a higher grade for themselves. After all, one cannot just enter medical school and declare "I want to be a plastic surgeon." In order to become a plastic surgeon, they have to obtain the highest grades and board scores to even have a chance at getting a plastics residency, and the fewer people that have stellar grades, the fewer people they have to compete with for the limited plastic surgery spots available.
      I never realized how competitive people could be until I was on a rotation with several medical students from another school. Every single one of them were "gunners," which for those of you not in medicine is defined by urban dictionary as: "a person who will compromise his/her peer relationships and/or reputation among peers in order to obtain recognition and praise from his/her superiors." That definition seems about right in my opinion. I was quite spoiled before that rotation, because I was accustomed to my classmates and I working together to get things done and helping each other get through the day. To put it mildly, I was quite shocked at the behavior of the other students. I had never had anyone purposely try to make me look bad on a rotation. It was an unpleasant experience, and I truly believe that such behavior could very well be detrimental to patients. To me, it seemed like those students were so focused on outshining their peers, that the quality of their patient care had to suffer. There was even a hot minute where I felt myself gearing up to start behaving competitively to give them a taste of their own medicine. However, when I thought about it, I realized that that is not the type of person I am, and that I didn't want to behave that way. I was not going to let other people justify poor behavior on my behalf. If they were going to pour their souls into making me look bad, then let them. So, I just went about my business, did the best job I could, and figured it would catch up to them later somehow. I felt like the residents and/or attendings would eventually realize how they treated others, and it would come back to bite them, even if I wasn't around when it happened.
      When I hear or see people behaving this way, I am always reminded of a quote from the movie Ladybugs. Remember Ladybugs? It was that awesome 90's movie with Rodney Dangerfield and Jack√©e Harry about an all girls soccer team. They dressed a boy up as a girl so they could start winning because the coach would lose his corporate job if they didn't win. This was because the person who sponsored the team was very rich and his entire focus was on winning the game and being the best. His own daughter was on the team, but he did not want her to play because she was not very good. Of course this upset her, but he did not seem to care much about his daughter's feelings. He even threatened the coach (Rodney Dangerfield) when he put the daughter in the game anyway. To which the coach replied "What good is it being the best, if it brings out the worst in you?" It is one of my favorite quotes, and basically how I feel about cut-throat atmospheres where people try to get ahead at the expense of others. I do not think anyone, including the people behaving that way thrive in such environments. I know I certainly don't. Which Is why I would never intentionally put myself in a place like that because of a prestigious name. It is also the primary reason why I am going with my gut feeling when it comes to ranking residency programs.

1 comment:

  1. Oh I miss that movie, it used to be on TV all the time. I don't know the last time i've seen it, but I would thoroughly enjoy watching it now. And, I totally agree with you