Self-confident Selfies

Why do we all take selfies in our surgical gear? I know I’m guilty of it and most of my colleagues have done the same. I never take selfies on other rotations… I started wondering today “why is that?”

Conclusion: Same reason we all took a million pictures the day we got our short white coats… And now we can’t wait to get out of them for good.

It’s so funny how the way we dress dictates our behavior and how we are treated. It sends a strong nonverbal message to those around us of our standing in our medical education (which is sometimes complicated by non-medical students wearing short white coats…a rant for another day). I don’t know about the rest of my class, but I am fairly confident in my short white coat now and the newness has definitely worn off. I’m now at the point where I would rather wear scrubs and surgical booties and be “that girl” in the cafeteria at lunch, because it broadcasts a new/more interesting role than the dime-a-dozen short white coats.

Some patients don’t know the “code,” though. I’ve been asked almost daily if I’m almost an orthopedic surgeon, because I am currently finishing my internal medicine rotation on the post-op orthopedic floor for knee and hip replacements. It stuns me every time one of them calls me “doc” or “doctor,” or asks if I did their surgery while the other surgeon watches. Gosh I hope not!

But these increasingly frequent interactions have made me realize I’ve grown in my confidence when I approach patients. I never felt uncomfortable with it, not even at the beginning of the year. But no doubt has my bedside manner improved and become more natural. I definitely have gotten the “flow” of a patient encounter down, and can tweak it based on the clinical setting- be it pre-operative, in a peds clinic, in a hospital setting, or in a family practice office. I guess that’s the whole point of third year! Those sneaky administrators must know what they’re doing!

As my third year of medical school draws to an end in the next couple of months, I would like to take a moment to thank all of those people who have encouraged me along the way- my husband and family, friends, Attendings, and support staff (including nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, medical assistants, nurse practitioners, and office managers). This is not an easy road- looking back over my posts shows I have been challenged physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. But it has also been the most rewarding time of my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!


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