Importance of Relationships and Professionalism

by Mohammad Hajighasemi-Ossareh, MD

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    00:01 Welcome back to the third year of medical school lecture series.

    00:04 Today, we're gonna discuss the importance of making friends with the interns and residents on your service.

    00:10 Developing relationships with these people is gonna be absolutely vital to your third year medical student success.

    00:18 We're also going to discuss the importance of being an active and engaged member of your working team.

    00:23 The more that you do with a third year student, the less the residents have to do and the more you're seen as a valuable asset.

    00:30 So, let's discuss the importance of relationships.

    00:33 As we described and discussed in previous lectures, when you start the first day of your rotation as a third year student, get there early and start introducing yourself to the team members.

    00:44 Do your research beforehand. Talk to students in your school who have done the rotation you're about to start previously and find out from them, where are you supposed to go in the morning? Where does the team usually meet? Most services of a rotation have like a secretary or a point person.

    01:01 You should send this person an email beforehand saying, hi, so and so, my name is blank, I'm a third year medical student, I'll be starting this rotation on Monday, today is like Friday so try to, you know, or maybe ask them on a Thursday, give them time to get back to you. Where does the team usually meet? Do you have any documents I should read beforehand? Kind of get yourself out there.

    01:22 Tell them your name, tell them that you're a third year student, tell them that you're excited and you wanna work with a team and you really wanna have a head start. They're really going to appreciate that email.

    01:32 Don't feel like you're burdening anyone.

    01:34 Yeah, I'm sure that person doesn't want one more email to reply to but again, everyone's very respectful of a third year student who's eager to start working, and it doesn't mean become annoying and start hounding people with emails, that's what you shouldn't do. But it's always okay to say, you know what? I'm starting, I just wanna do well. Where should I meet? What should I prepare beforehand? People are happy to help you. Now, the importance of getting there early and saying these things is something that most students don't do and they end up hurting themselves.

    02:06 They show up kind of late, they don't know where to go.

    02:08 On the first day, you really wanna be looking sharp and available.

    02:12 You don't wanna be late and confused, and you know what? This personal story broke my heart.

    02:18 I've seen medical students show up at 8:00 AM in the morning once, that's just an hour usually before rounds. Then, they came up to me and they told me, oh, hey, my name's so and so, I'm here on service with you as a third year medical student.

    02:32 Well, as you could imagine, this insanely frustrates us and it extremely frustrates the entire team.

    02:39 Now, we're sitting here, it's an hour before rounds, we all got there at 6:15 or 6 before morning report.

    02:46 This person strolls in at 8:00 AM, we've already seen all the patients, we've discussed what we wanted to do, we're ready for rounds, and now I got a student coming in at 8:00 AM.

    02:55 They don't have a patient to present on rounds 'cause they didn't come early enough to receive one and it makes us look back during attending rounds because if we have a student available with us and they're not talking about a patient, the attendees gonna look at us and say, hey, why didn't you guys give the medical student a patient, what's wrong with you? So, not only will the medical student look bad for not presenting, now we're gonna look bad for not having taken responsibility or managerial role to give the student a patient to follow.

    03:26 Now, when you have a patient or a student in this case show up late, it really is a liability on the services you can imagine.

    03:32 When that happens, that student does not look like an asset, they look like a huge liability and now I'm already upset on the first day, and don't forget, use your emotional intelligence here.

    03:44 First impressions are so important, don't ruin them.

    03:48 When I met that student, even if he had been a rock star every other day.

    03:52 Okay, if he was a rock star, maybe I would've been like alright, he had a rough start, but if he was just an average student, I'm always gonna remember that bad first day and it's gonna give me a weird emotional tone with him the whole time so don't be that student, come in early, show that you're eager, don't be a liability, be an asset.

    04:10 Now, what you need to do as a student is come and obtain the contact information for each member of the team, the intern, the resident, and maybe the fellow depending on your team, some fellows are not that friendly, they're a little bit more senior and they expect you just to talk to the intern and resident, you usually won't be texting the fellow.

    04:29 Now, you'll be working very closely with the intern on your team and also the resident so it's best that they can just text you and get a hold of you by sharing contact information.

    04:39 Since these are your point people, being in constant contact just makes life easier.

    04:44 The worst thing you could ever do as a medical student is be difficult to find.

    04:49 You want to be around when your team wants you around because if they want you around, they're being nice enough to give you a patient, teach with you, or work with you. Now, let me give you a quick side note, that patient earlier, or excuse me, that third year medical student earlier who rolled in at 8:00 AM, an hour before a round and told me, hey, I'm here on your service, that guy didn't share contact information and I'm not gonna go out of my way to try to do it for the student.

    05:14 I need to let the student grow on their own, I can't baby them that much so here I'm telling you, so you have an edge going into the rotations.

    05:23 As a third year student, the residents and interns are just too busy to baby the students.

    05:27 We want you to grow on your own so when the medical student says, hey, give me your number and I say, oh, okay, sure, and when I'm upstairs on OB GYNE admission, I'll just text this student 'cause he was nice enough to give me his number.

    05:38 Hey, we got an admission to ED, see you in five minutes.

    05:40 This student however didn't give me his contact information and unfortunate, I could never find the kid. When we were upstairs and we had a code going, and we had intubate, I couldn't find the kid. He could've had the opportunity to be there with me or if we had an admission, how am I gonna get a hold of the kid so that and he wasn't always around us, so don't be like that guy.

    05:59 Be always get the contact information, be in constant contact, and always try to be around your team and the key here is that you want to do what your team does.

    06:09 If you see your team writing notes or putting in orders, you should be doing that too.

    06:15 If you don't have your own notes to write or if you can't place orders as a medical student, that's sometimes common in hospitals, ask the team, well how can I help you guys do that? I see that you guys are working and I wanna help.

    06:27 Maybe I can't put in orders based on my name but can I do it for you or can I help write notes.

    06:33 If you see your team going to lunch, go with them.

    06:36 Remember, you guys are a unit and you stick together.

    06:40 It's almost military like, you guys are a team, you're working in a very challenging environment, you have to use each other as support. Now, don't make yourself into the medical student who's always studying in the corner. It's okay to study sometimes.

    06:55 Sometimes the service does get quiet and there isn't always work to do but there are some days where there's constant work to do, but overall, you should be like an intern or a resident.

    07:05 Like I said, always work a level or so above you, do what they do.

    07:10 When you see the residents and interns working, you should be working, ask them how can I help? And if they tell you, oh, you know what? Don't worry.

    07:17 This is just some kind of busy work we're doing, go ahead and read, it's perfectly fine then that's okay but always try to be active.

    07:23 Don't just assume you're okay to go read in the corner or disappear, always be with your team, do what they do.

    07:30 Now, let's discuss the importance of professionalism.

    07:33 Earlier, I discussed the importance of showing respect to the senior members of the team and always being professional and well-behaved during attending rounds.

    07:42 This may sound odd, you may be wondering, I mean, come on Mo, why'd you need to be so formal? Give me a break. Well, the practice of medicine really is routed in tradition and formality.

    07:54 Like the military example I gave earlier.

    07:57 We in medicine do respect the hierarchy of medicine and the hierarchy is based on knowledge and experienced based.

    08:05 A medical student that is seen as lacking professionalism or worse yet, is seen as being disrespectful is going to be an extremely big problem.

    08:15 So, you as a medical student always need to respect and you even as an intern or resident, or anything, should always be respecting the hierarchy. People above you do have more experience, they do have more wisdom, we do need to be more professional and we wanna learn from the people above us so always be professional, always be respectful.

    08:35 A medical student who is not professional or respectful will not be tolerated and that's an extremely big problem. As a third year student, it's your first time in the hospital, we want to make it a seamless and easy process for you.

    08:47 So be professional, people would teach you more, you'll rise in the ranks happily, don't make problems for yourself. Also, when you apply to residency, they will check each student's medical transcript and to make sure that one, you didn't have any evidence of what we call lack of professionalism and the reality is that most medical schools will actually put on your transcript, oh, during this rotation, it was brought up that the student was not professional.

    09:16 Now, this is a very rare thing. You really have to be bad to make this happen but just so you're aware.

    09:22 If you do act inappropriately, it will follow you and you don't want that when you apply to residency.

    09:28 You wanna have a great, seamless, matching into residency and go on and have your great life.

    09:33 Just use your common sense, be professional, be respectful.

    09:38 Now, depending on your team, you'll feel the level of formality that is present among the group.

    09:44 Some teams are very formal and they create this very strict working environment while other teams are more fun, constant laughing, having a good time while getting the work done.

    09:55 Just use your emotional intelligence and see what kind of service are you on.

    09:59 As a personal example, I remember, when I was on my medicine team, it was a fun group, it was a mix of guys and girl residents, we were always laughing, having fun, ordering pizza but we always got our work done. But when I was on my OB-GYNE rotation, it was strict.

    10:15 There was minimal laughing, the senior residents were always very serious marching around, and that was just how to service was so I was more quiet and reserved during those rotations.

    10:25 Again, just feel out what the team is like and kind of match it.

    10:29 You just wanna blend right into the team and remember, since the third year medical student is really a guest to the team, it's a guest to the team of matched residents.

    10:40 So, the team is composed of residents who picked that program and matched there, and they live there and work there, and you as a third year student will be coming on as a guest and leaving, so you need to abide by the rules of the team and the key here, highlight this, your goal is to make yourself fit into the team. You always wanna be yourself, don't ever be something you're not but always make an effort to fit in, become a core member of the team. It's always better to blend in than to stand out like a sore thumb.

    11:11 It's always better to be part of the meadow or be a tall nail that'll get hammered.

    11:15 Don't be that person. Always blend in with the team, make yourself accepted.

    11:20 Now, take it from personal experience. We as residents will also grade medical students.

    11:27 The attendees grade medical students and it's an important question we ask ourselves during every evaluation is well, did the student fit into the team and that subjective component of being part of the team is what really makes the difference. Being part of a team and working hard, then you're seen as a beautiful asset to the team, you'll be liked by your team, we'll make a greater effort to teach you and you'll get great evaluations.

    11:53 If we have this subjective feeling that, ah, you know, that student was kind of weird, they weren't really there with us, then you'll probably get okay evaluations.

    12:01 Do yourself a favor, be engaged, be active, be respectful.

    12:06 You'll get more out of it, we'll want to teach you more, and you'll get better evaluations, your life will just be easier. Easy to do, just be cognizant of it.

    12:14 Now, let's summarize what we've discussed.

    12:17 What you need to do is build relationships with the interns and residents on your team, be engaged and be excited to work. I want you to work like a resident, help the team with their work and what they're doing.

    12:29 Don't just spend your days in the corner studying, work when you're at the hospital.

    12:34 I want you to always be professional and well behaved.

    12:37 It's not recommended, it's a strict expectation.

    12:41 Inappropriate or unprofessional is just not tolerated in medicine and I know you guys won't do that but I'm just gonna highlight it.

    12:48 Fit into your team, become a member of the team.

    12:52 Take the time to bond.

    12:53 You're gonna be meeting people that at some point may become colleagues with you.

    12:56 They've all been medical students, they're now residents, they know the struggle, they're happy to be friends with you.

    13:02 A team that's close to each other sticks together and takes care of each other.

    13:06 Be a member of your team and fit in.

    13:09 Thank you.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Importance of Relationships and Professionalism by Mohammad Hajighasemi-Ossareh, MD is from the course Med School Year 3. It contains the following chapters:

    • Importance of Relationships
    • The Importance of Relationships
    • The Importance of Professionalism
    • Lecture Summary

    Author of lecture Importance of Relationships and Professionalism

     Mohammad Hajighasemi-Ossareh, MD

    Mohammad Hajighasemi-Ossareh, MD

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