Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Last Day

No melancholy here. I've been mentally preparing for this day for quite some time. It was amazing to me how many people stopped by to shake my hand and thank me for our time together. Some surprised me. One of my techs wouldn't let go of my hand until he told me that I've been an inspiration to him and he wants to be like me. Seriously? I had to think really hard about our interactions and honestly I can't come up with anything specific (or even general) that would make him so passionate. Regardless, I was honored by the sentiment.

I did get to tell a great story on my last day. I have been teaching residents now for 6 years. It takes 5 years to become a radiologist after medical school. One year is internship and the other 4 are with me. I take extreme pride that in my 6 years, we've had a 100% pass rate on the oral boards. I had a part in that.

Anyway, E was a brand new 1st year resident in my second year on the job. I was still new at the teaching thing and thought humiliation was a viable teaching tool. E was taking a case in front of a large group of doctors and he was butchering it. It was obvious he didn't know normal anatomy. I interjected and forced him to stop taking the case. Instead, I just pointed to stuff and had him name the parts. I got in a lot of trouble for my actions from the command, but to his credit, E came up to me afterwards and told me that I was the first attending radiologist to actually give a damn in case conference.

Fast forward to last month. E is now a graduated radiologist. He was lucky enough to stay on at our hospital as another attending doctor. He is no longer my student - he is now my colleague. He and I are sitting in a cardiology conference, and his pager goes off. He looks over at me and asks, "Can you get this for me?"


He told me later that when he thought about what he asked, he got a little queasy. Seriously, I would NEVER have considered asking one of my attendings to respond to one of my pages. Even now! We both had a good laugh about it. He even admitted that he lost a little sleep over it and even went home and talked it over with his wife, trying to decide the appropriate action. Should be apologize? Maybe I didn't notice.

I noticed.

In the end, it was a great 6 years. Every student should have the opportunity to give something back. I've paid my dues many times over. Now it's time to move on.


Wes said...

Congratulations and good luck. It was nice you got a little picture of your impact before you left as well.

K said...

Time for another cigar. Or some single malt, if that sounds better.

Clink! NH WP Sir

BWoP said...

I wish you all the best on the next leg of The Fantastic Life of Dr. Chako!

BamBam said...

You GO brudder!

(and by that of course, I mean West)


Anonymous said...

I don't understand your story.

Why did he ask you if it's such an unusual thing? Why is it an unusual thing? If he talked to his wife about it, he must have known it was bad, but I guess I don't understand why.

Sorry, I don't know much about radiology and even less about etiquette among doctors.

DrChako said...

Good point, Anonymous. I suppose I should clarify. Medicine is quite hierarchical. Asking someone to answer your page is something a senior doctor might ask a resident or student. The implication is, "I'm too busy or important doing whatever it is I'm doing to stoop to something as trivial as answering this page." Asking a subordinate to get it is often expected and can even be thought of as a reward. I realize how canine that seems, but it's just how things work.


Anonymous said...

But I thought you said he was your colleague. Sounds more like the doc was asking for a favor

DrChako said...

Well, he is my colleague now, but just one year prior he was my student. And based on his reaction to my story, he totally understood how inappropriate the question was. The good news is that we're now friends and had a good laugh about it. In fact, just hearing me tell the story validated his feelings about the event. Despite the faux pas, I took a little pride in the fact that my student would have enough confidence in himself to even consider asking me (or any other attending physician) to "get his page."

My apologies if this doesn't come across as intended. He and I both understood the story and that's why it pleases me to tell it.


Josie said...

Seems similar to the receptionist in our office asking me to make coffee. I was stunned...didn't quite know how to react...and certainly knew she wasn't following protocol. Of course she knew this too, but she had different motives from your "colleague".

Her request was more like a child looking for a reaction from a parent to see how much she could get away with.

My final answer was no.

OhCaptain said...

Good luck in your next round of adventures! It's good to look back and feel that sense of accomplishment. Just be sure to work well with your new team of IT professionals ;-)