Please be nice to medical students

  1. Hi all,

    I just graduated from medical school. First off, I'd like to say that I've had many pleasant interactions with nurses. However, I would also like to say that I've had some very bad experiences with some nurses that seem to only pick on medical students. For example, on my emergency rotation, I had to do a 2 hour triage shift with the nurses. From the outset, I was told (rather rudely) by the nurse I was working with to bring the patient's chart up to the floor. I did this twice before I got fed up and told an attending emergency physician about this who then laid down the law. I would've let this pass, but many of my student colleagues and I have had many other interactions with nurses that have left a sour taste in my mouth. I realize that as a medical student I had very little experience compared with some of the nurses. But I still think that I should be treated like a human being. And these run-ins with nurses had nothing to do with my lack of knowledge or being an idiot on the floor--well except for the one time where I didn't know I had to pull my own glove and gown in the OR and got yelled at by the circulating nurse. Or the other time when I couldn't intubate this patient in the OR and the CRNA shoved me out of the way to intubate right in front of the attending anesthesiologist. This all seems to stem from the fact that I was wearing a short white coat. Heck, I think in the hospital hierarchy, we are the bottom of the barrel, below nursing students, PT students, etc.

    The point of this post is to tell you guys to please be nice to medical students. We have it hard enough already from the constant pimping from our residents and attendings. Please be our friend on the floors.
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    About cantor2537

    Joined: May '06; Posts: 1

    73 Comments

  3. by   PANurseRN1
    Maybe the CRNA shoved you out of the way because the pt was becoming, oh, I don't know...hypoxic? Needed an airway? Sometimes, there really isn't any time to say, "Excuse me, would you mind very much moving so I can put an airway in this pt.? I'm sorry that I have to do this in front of your attending, BTW. I'm so sorry if that somehow diminishes you in the eyes of your attending."

    That said, I think most nurses try to be nice to med. students. For every horror story you've related, though, I can best each with tales of enfante terrible med students who acted entitled, treated nurses like crap, made messes and expected nurses to pick up after them, etc. We don't wait on you, and we don't clean up after you. As far as the chart thing, it was a two hour shift, and you complained almost immediately; not cool. Could you not have sucked it up for two hours? Would you have complained if it had been a resident asking you to do the same? I'll bet not.There may have been a perfectly good reason for the nurse to have asked you to do that, but who knows?

    It's a two-way street. I am more than happy to go out of my way to help med students, but the ones who come packing an attitude, not so much. I won't do anything to compromise pt. care--that's unethical--but niceties can and do go by the wayside when someone acts like a jerk. Fortunately, we don't get many rude med. students where I work now.
  4. by   Ruby Vee
    you'll find, for the most part, that nurses seek employment at teaching hospitals because they like to teach. part of our job is teaching interns, residents and medical students. i'm somewhat bothered by your reference to telling the emergency physician who "then laid down the law." your post made no reference to having first tried discussing the matter with the nurse in question to see if you could work things out with her. maybe she's working with a migraine, far too busy to stop and explain things to you more than two or three times, too short staffed for bathroom breaks or otherwise under a lot of pressure. maybe you just rub her the wrong way because of your attitude, your body odor or because you look just like her ex. on the other hand, maybe you've simply mistaken directness for rudeness. i think you'll find that your life as an intern will go more smoothly if you try to get along with the nurses than if you try to sic someone with more (percieved) power on them. after all, we can call you at 2am just to find out if you're sleeping.

    to be friends with the nurses, try treating us with friendliness and respect. you're going to run into some cranky nurses who you won't be able to get along with -- just as we run into some cranky medical students and physicians we can't get along with. but you can learn an awful lot from us when you listen!

    ruby (and if the experienced icu nurse ever asks you "are you sure you really want to do that, doctor?" -- you don't!)


  5. by   Nurse1966
    I like med students...it's the interns that can drive me nuts! They had a lecture on rhabdomylosis once, and wouldn't you know the next month just about every other pt was diagnosed with rhabdomylosis! Really though, I try to be kind, and my theory is "be good to my patients and I will be good to you". Good luck!
  6. by   hospitalstaph
    Quote from Nurse1966
    I like med students...it's the interns that can drive me nuts! They had a lecture on rhabdomylosis once, and wouldn't you know the next month just about every other pt was diagnosed with rhabdomylosis! Really though, I try to be kind, and my theory is "be good to my patients and I will be good to you". Good luck!

    Reminds me of Micro students that are convinced that they have been infected by a helmith everytime they get a stomach ache

    T
  7. by   goats'r'us
    sorry you met a few sucky nurses in your time. i promise we're not all like that, and personally i like med students and interns because they're nicer and more approachable than the big guns.
  8. by   Jo Dirt
    Maybe you should use this experience as an opportunity to remember how to treat others.
    The more doctors I am around the more entitlement, apathy, attitude and complacency I see. Talk about leaving a sour taste in a person's mouth. Part of this is due to the pedestal people tend to place doctor's on, part of it is the unreasonable expectations people (lay people, mainly) have of doctors. I remember in school learning about a study at a college out in California where a group of students were divided into "prisoners" and "guards" and how the study had to be called off because of the negative impact (to the point of being dangerous) it had on the pretend prisoners.
    It is the same concept with doctors. You will find no shortage of people wanting to kiss your ankle, look up at you with admiration waiting for you to say jump so they can ask how high...I find it rather disgusting, myself. I find it even more disgusting how easy it seems to be for most doctor's to accept that role of high and mighty superior...like that ER doc who "laid down the law" to the other nurses because they didn't happen to act how you would have liked them to act.
    Yes, it is too easy to play the role of the emperor, jumping around like Rumplestilkskin when things don't go your way. Out of the doctors I have dealt with I would say about 2% have had the character not to let it go to their head.
    Let this be a valuable learning experience for you.
    Good luck.
  9. by   jrring1019
    Just to make you feel better, these same nurses are the same way to new nurses, new RT's , new CNA's etc..... It really does not matter, but I have seen med students get the most because of the attitude they come with. You really have to prove yourself as competent and intelligent.

    If you get pushed aside when you are not performing a task correctly it is because pt safety is a higher priority than your experience!

    And as for the nurse who yelled at you for the gown and mask....you will have learn to ignore people like that because you will probably meet a lot of them before you finish your training. And the next time when you pull your own stuff, another nurse may tell you to not touch anything in her OR!
  10. by   fergus51
    I'm nice to everybody until they give me a good reason not to be Hopefully thanks to these bad experiences, you will remember to be nice to those under you as well.
  11. by   TazziRN
    And by getting the ER physician to "lay down the law" to that triage nurse, you made an enemy. ER nurses can be very abrupt, because we often have no time to be otherwise. We are too busy to worry about a med student's feelings being hurt, and often we don't know that we hurt anyone's feelings because we are too busy to pay attention. We are more concerned with the feelings of our pts. I love to teach, but if I had the law laid down to me by my boss by a student who couldn't be bothered to find out if there was something else going on, that student would have no more time from my day.
  12. by   Wen83
    I personally don't think it's just med students. I'm a nursing student and there are quite a few times where I run into nurses who pick on either me and/or my fellow students to the point where we feel like complete idiots. At the end of our day we would talk about it and wonder why we would get treated in such a way especially since they were once in our shoes. Please don't get me wrong because not every nurse is like that (some of us have even gotten crap from RT!) There just are some people (not just nurses) who are like that and we just need to learn from the experience and move on. As my dad once told me (when I came home crying because of how a nurse treated me when I was working as a nursing assistant) no matter where you work, there's always someone out there that's going to leave a sour taste in our mouth. Best thing to do is let them know directly that you don't feel like they are treating you right as a human being.
  13. by   TazziRN
    Wendy, people who treat you and your fellow students like that, will treat everyone that they consider "inferior" the same way. You can't really do anything about them except try to let it roll and realize it's not personal. The OP made an enemy by doing what will be perceived as whining to someone higher up....."Daddy, she's picking on me!"
  14. by   ortess1971
    Quote from jrring1019
    Just to make you feel better, these same nurses are the same way to new nurses, new RT's , new CNA's etc..... It really does not matter, but I have seen med students get the most because of the attitude they come with. You really have to prove yourself as competent and intelligent.

    If you get pushed aside when you are not performing a task correctly it is because pt safety is a higher priority than your experience!

    And as for the nurse who yelled at you for the gown and mask....you will have learn to ignore people like that because you will probably meet a lot of them before you finish your training. And the next time when you pull your own stuff, another nurse may tell you to not touch anything in her OR!
    Good point about the intubation-the patient is of the utmost priority in any given situation..As for the not getting your own gown and gloves...It seems as though med students aren't expected to do this anymore. I've worked at teaching hospitals where the med students were absolutely expected to pull their own gloves and gown. Now, what we are getting 9 times out of 10 is a student who doesn't introduce his or her self to the scrub or circulator and goes out to scrub, comes back in and wonders why the scrub isn't jumping to glove and gown them. If you feel like you're at the bottom of the totem pole, it's because you are...But that does change- it's just that traditionally, the scrub gowns and gloves the attending first, then the assistant and the med student is last. The med student is a guest really, much like any other student. I myself try to be good to the med students( giving them tips on how NOT to contaminate themselves etc) but this goes both ways. Respect is a two way street.

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