On my first rotation, I had my first encounter with a difficult team member during ward rounds. I think it’s important to acknowledge that so far this has been a rare occurrence. Nonetheless, this individual was not only visibly annoyed at my presence, but also extremely abrupt.
The abruptness and confrontational nature of his demeanour is what was most challenging. I can understand that medical students are not easy to take under your wing, especially when lumped on top of the already busy schedule of most staff in a busy hospital. Only thing is, he wasn’t really doing any of that! We had a great consultant who was more than happy to take us aside and provide us with what he thought were necessary teaching points for our level.
The situation reminded me of all those teamwork workshops you’re told to attend at one point or another, but everybody is just like ‘meh’. That information would have probably come in handy, but can’t do anything about that. The registrar also happened to be from a surgical specialty, fuelling the pre-conceived idea that many, including myself, had of the kind of people that occupy surgical positions. However, I gladly admit that those ideas were incorrect, as I have been side by side with many a surgeon and they have been nothing but concerned for our welfare and helpful.
If you are wondering how I dealt with the situation, I think one of the most important things is to remember that you are just as important as anybody else on that team. If you think of it in terms of long term sustainability, you are not there to just make up numbers (even though it feels that way sometimes). You are the future for all those that stand at the ward round with you. A team that appreciates and understands that, is a team that benefits the student most.
In translation, the consultant, registrar, resident or intern were all once students. Therefore, clinical development of us as students is in the hands of all of those mentioned. Let me reiterate also, the large majority understand their responsibility and genuinely feel the need to contribute to your learning. But for those that let that point slip, I will quote another registrar’s response to my statement about being a newbie, ‘we were all newbies at one point.’