Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Cool Resident

Woah! I think it's been ages since I last blogged. Partially cause I was out holidaying for New Year's and then I was detoxing from New Year's. Anyhow, I still had my awesome phone on me where I jotted down all the other itsy-bitsy ideas that I wanted to write about. So, if you were taken aback by my December Delirium, January, or what's left of it, should be a good ride.

"The cool resident" was born when I was interning in Internal Medicine. My first and third year residents were extremely likable, efficient, friendly, & respectful, while the second year was none of the above. As usual, I was spending the on-call evening with friends (sadly also on-call) in the canteen, sipping tea, discussing resident horror stories where we just labelled our senior colleagues as cool or idiotic. What better judge of residents could there be than a bunch of nosy fresh interns, right? Anyway, the concept of the cool resident evolved over time and rotations and here's what we've come down to:

  1. The Cool Resident realizes that blood collection, hematology, histopathology is a part of a resident's job description and the intern is merely helping them out, NOT the other way around. He/she promptly starts work in the morning without ringing the interns if they're late, thinking that their oh-so-sexy-morning-voice is enough motivation to be on time for the "morning chores"
  2. The Cool Resident  takes full responsibility for errors on the interns' behalf. Vicarious Responsibility is a reality, not a theory! 
  3. The Cool Resident gives full credit to the intern for any clinical cues picked up. I hated my senior resident who told the professor he'd diagnosed a patient with Cheyne-stokes when it was I who had pointed it out! (angry fists flying!)
  4. The Cool Resident never allows the intern to pick up the bill. I know this is kinda silly, but hey, I'm yet to meet a resident I like who left the food bill to me
  5. The Cool Resident  chooses to order the awesomest chicken tikkas and ice-creams when on-call & makes sure the intern eats with the residents in spite of the workload at the time
  6. The Cool Resident protects the interns from the nurses and the ancillary staff
  7. The Cool Resident preferably plays a musical instrument or sings, even if its terrible. I can't tell you how the sound of crappy old Hindi songs just lifts you up after a night on-call
  8. The Cool Resident has a tattoo. I'm just partial to them, period.
  9. The Cool Resident allows the interns to perform procedures and offers full guidance during the same. Conversely, after enough practice, he/she lets the intern loose on patients.
  10. The Cool Resident trusts the interns' clinical judgement when no resident is around
  11. The Cool Resident takes the interns out drinking, because they did a good job
  12. The Cool Resident rings up the interns months after their rotations have ended to bitch about their current interns. Its fun getting nostalgic together
  13. The Cool Resident speaks to the interns with respect and realizes they wouldn't be where they are today without a solid foundation. They offer the same to their interns.
  14. The Cool Resident protects the interns from the professors, associate professors and lecturers, and fights for the interns' rights as stated above
  15. The Cool Resident offers to teach every step of the way, even if it means making the intern sweat for the carrot. Give & take. 
  16. The Cool Resident makes you go, "Sigh, when I'm all grown up, I'll be just like him"


  1. Points # 9 and 10 are all that is required to make a resident cool.
    Good job on cheyne stokes.

  2. Good list. Half of it you have compiled imagining what you are going to be like in the future na? I can just make out.

  3. I'm sure the fact that I've only met Cool Residents in my Surgery posting has something to do with what goes into the making of the Cool Resident. And wow, Cheyne-Stokes..that is impressive! :)

  4. @mkk: Points 9,10 pertain to a "Good" resident, I'm talking about "Cool" ones
    @aayushi: Point#16 added just for you
    @Tangled: the fellow with Cheyne Stokes got apneic every 2 minutes or so. All the residents just kept staring wondering if he'd gone! And I felt a homicidal rage the next morning at rounds when the Reg goes, "Ma'am, the patient was exhibiting Cheyne Stokes, went into uremia". And yes, most surgical branches have "cool" residents. I suppose its difficult to hold grudges with people when you can vent with scalpels :D

  5. I totally get that feeling, man. There was a patient in the MICU, this 78 year old lady who was brought in with respiratory depression with a suspected BZD overdose and the next day I noticed she kept cupping her hand and touching her mouth with it. I asked her son why she did that and he told me it was because she was a bidi smoker from the age of 16. And surprisingly, no one had elicited this piece of history before so I told the houseman who was like, oh yeah, it must be COPD! And the next morning in the rounds, he promptly tells the asso prof he'd unearthed this important smoking history. It did piss me off but then knowing the kind of person he was, I did expect it from him.