Nurses are the greatest ally of medical students

by Shawn Vuong

Besides the fact that I am going to marry one, I want to say that nurses are the greatest ally to the medical student.

“Nurses can make or break you.”  I don’t remember where I read this quote, so I do not know who to give the credit to, but the quote is true.  Nurses talk about doctors and medical students all of the time.  They know all of the doctors’ quirks and habits, and they quickly learn those of the medical students.  So, it’s a great idea to have them on your side.

But it’s not enough to just talk to one.  Nurses talk.  And boy do I mean they talk.  Piss off one nurse, and you might as well dodge that whole floor for awhile.  Another good reason to stay on their good side.

Here is the best part though.  Since nurses know so much more about the attending physician than any of the medical students, they can give you hints on how to make the attending happy.  Such as:

“Oh that Dr. A, he loves a student that shows initiative.  So ask a lot of questions.”

“Dr. B gets annoyed if you do not follow her until she dismisses you.”

“Well, every time Dr. C is with a medical student, he likes to ask about the patient’s allergies to see if you’ve reviewed the chart.”

These pearls of wisdom can make you look like a star to your attending.  If you hadn’t known these things, you would of course look like a moron until you figured them out.  And in the third year of medical school, where an attending physician’s subjective opinion of you decides your grade, these pearls from the nurses are definitely worth a few boxes of cookies or chocolates.

Grab a nurse, and make her your friend today.  You won’t regret the decision, believe me.

Shawn Vuong is a medical student who blogs at Medically Mind Numbing.

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