Okay, so I'm probably going to get a lot of crap for this, but I have to say this latest crop of med students is . . . kind of dumb. Or lazy. Or both.
Admittedly, I don't know that much about what's involved in med students' rotations through our ED, but I do know that they are there as part of their education, and maybe they should take a little interest in what's going on?
I understand that they are tired and stressed out and sometimes freaked out and miserable. Believe me, most of the residents are, too. But past students haven't acted quite as strange as this bunch.
They seem to spend a lot of time lurking around: near the doctors' station, in corners, in the trauma room staring at the cabinets. "Do you need to find something?" I always ask, thinking their resident sent them over to get supplies. "No..." comes the answer. "Okay, just ask if you need something."
One refused to do the infamous DRE (digital rectal exam) that most med students are sent to do--to get some stool to smear on a guiac card to see if there's blood in it. He presented me with the card and said, "Dr. So-and-So needs some stool on this." I told him to go ahead and get it, and he told me "I don't need to do that, since I'm going to be an anesthesiologist." Not if this behavior continues! Apparently, the resident he's with is very frustrated with him, because he doesn't want to do anything; she thinks it's a cultural thing and that he has a problem taking instructions from a woman. Great.
I'm just not used to the way these students are kind of dragging ass all over the place. Ask them to do something and they roll their eyes. I've overheard several presentations, and when they forget something and their supervising doctor asks them to go back and clarify it with the patient, it's as if you asked them to stick their whole arm up their own assholes.
One of them came up to me and said, "Dr. Blah Blah wants you to give 2 Percocets to the guy in the asthma chair area." Since there were like four men in that area, I asked, "What is the patient's name?" She responded, "Dr. didn't give me a name. She just said, 'Tell GuitarGirlRN to give the guy in the chairs 2 Percocets.' " I said, "Ok, but I need a name. Could you find out for me? Or point him out?" She sucked her teeth and said, "I don't know which one! I'm just telling you what Dr. said to me!" and walked away.
Even in interesting situations like a code, or a trauma notification, they're hanging back, lurking around doorways--not jumping in like previous classes. I understand being shy or unsure, but when people are asking you, "Hey, come on over here and do some chest compressions," or "Spike this bag of fluids," or "Come look at this x-ray, what do you see?" and you're looking around like "Who, me? Uh, my laundry is done, gotta go..." I just don't see it as a good thing.
If you're lost, I'll help you and tell you where to go. If you don't know what supplies you need to start an IV, I'll show you. Need gauze? Okeydoke. Need to find a urinal so you can get a specimen? Right over here. Even if I'm busy I'll help you or find someone who can. I'm not mean. I'm happy to show you how to put in a Foley or start an IV. But you need to shake a leg and show some interest--or just pretend! Fake it til you make it, med student!