Friday, March 02, 2007


The main drag about being a resident physician is that your time doesn't belong to you. No matter how much I hustle and bustle to get things done or how hard I work to keep cases and clinic moving on schedule, the limiting factor is ultimately the staff physician that I report to. My job is never complete until I have their approval.

Most staff physicians are great about keeping up. But they can get bogged down by their own responsibilities and administrative work, so I'm left waiting for them to finish what they need to do so that I can get them to work on what I've been working on all day. Then there are a handful of staff that are easily distracted and take forever to do something. Or a few that are just inherently slow. So some days, after I've busted my butt all day, I find myself doing a lot of "hurry up and wait."

This can be beneficial, as I often use whatever extra time I might get during the day to pee, eat, or fool around on the internet (like I'm doing now). But most times, it just leads to frustration because instead of being able get all my crap done early and go home earlier, I'm just standing around waiting for them.

People often ask how long residency lasts. It depends on the particular field. A residency in general surgery is a five year committment. Why five years? Because after five years indentured servitude, most of us would go nuts if we had to endure any more time being a resident.