Thursday, March 1, 2012


Dear Nurse,

I am grateful for you. When the first thing out of your mouth on my first day of a rotation is "We like Chocolate" I laugh. You know how to bring a smile to my face on day one. See, you aren't unique. You are a pattern that is as predictable as a Hollywood marriage. When you say that statement, I know the following truths to be true:

1. When you saw WE you really mean YOU like chocolate

2a. Whenever I see you after day 1 you will say "Hey, where is the Chocolate?"
2b. You will most likely add in some threat, wielding your pseudo-power on my grade. Like you can make or break my evaluation.

3. When the pattern is clear that I will not be bringing you anything, you will make a snide remark about my intelligence and how I don't "get it."

See, I understand. Med students also happen to be quite predictable. This kind of crap may have worked for the other students walking through the door, you know, the merit you think you gain by demanding chocolate from the student on the first day. You have been able to convince students that bringing you chocolate is going to somehow make us better physicians and perhaps even get us a better grade which could ultimately get us into the residency we always wanted. So if the poor souls who end up not matching to a residency had only brought chocolate to the demanding nurse, they would have matched? Spread the word! Well, I am kind in some ways. I want to help you out. Here are some truths from my view:

1. Just because you like something doesn't mean saying it out loud will get you anywhere. This isn't facebook, I don't care if you like this photo, this comment, my location, who I am hanging out with, that I just got done at the dentist, that it's time for GTL, and I definitely don't care if you like chocolate.

2. The best way to get something at the end of a student's rotation is to be nice. Introduce yourself to me. Help me navigate the new work environment. Let me in on the unknown rules (Dr. X likes students to do Y or Never do this in front of Dr. X, he hates it). Always have my back. If I am doing something wrong, correct me quietly. If I should be doing something, correct me quietly. If I keep coming to you with questions or asking for help, it isn't because I am stupid, it is because I trust that you have my back and are watching out for me. And most importantly, it is probably because you are always sweet to me. You may know where object A gets placed because you have worked here 10 years, but I understand that if I put object A in the wrong place, it will make your job harder, so I ask, not out of stupidity, but out of respect. That respect should be mutual. By demanding something day one, you automatically lose that respect. Some respect is earned and some comes with the territory, but that territorial respect is easily lost.

3. Saying that I don't "get it" makes me laugh. It doesn't scare me because I know it is coming. When that comment comes...out a room full of people, the dialogue always goes something like this:

You: "Where is my chocolate? You must not get how things work around here. You don't get it, do you?"
Me: "Oh, no. I get it. Loud and clear. You like chocolate and you want me to bring you some."
You: "The last student got it. He brought me chocolate."
Me: "Must have been a third-year. They typically fall for the 'get me chocolate or get an F' gag."

I created a nice flow sheet for you below. Feel free to use it as a tool to help you discern which route to take. Glad we could have this talk. Good luck.