Are you familiar with those obnoxious t-shirts we med students sometimes wear? Especially the one that says, “Trust me, I’m a doctor.” I’d like to take this moment to address this t-shirt, and discourage you from doing what it says.
First of all, we’re not doctors yet; we’re still med students. Physicians don’t wear that t-shirt. And if you see one wearing one, please consider averting your eyes and going the other way. Second, where is the humility? And third, I’m still two months from graduation. (To the day…!) What makes you think that three years and eight months of medical school has taught me enough to be trustworthy?
When you ask for my assessment and plan, and then say, “sounds good,” that’s not okay. When you ask, “what dose?,” frankly, my dear, I have no idea. (Thank goodness for electronic orders, amazing pharmacists, and sharp nurses.) And when you ask if I think the patient is having cardiac or non-cardiac chest pain, do you really want my med student opinion? Please, for the love of Gleevec, just get the EKG and troponins cooking!
Today I introduced myself to a patient with, “Hi, I’m Rae. I’m the med student.” Afterward, my attending said, “Here, I ask that you introduce yourself as Student Doctor Seltzer.” [I giggled, conjuring up emails and follies skits about Student Doctor MostRidiculousMedStudentEver.] “Seriously,” he said. “You’re going to be a physician in two months, and this way you can get used to going from Student Doctor Seltzer to Doctor Seltzer.” [I got really uncomfortable.] “It took me five years before I was okay with it.”