Thursday, July 12, 2007

Field Guide to People at the Hospital

1. Hauling ass down the hall at approximately mach five. Wearing nice clothes under a white coat. Has more electronic devices attached to them than a cardiac care patient--phone, pager (sometimes plural), Palm Pilot, etc. May act like the most important person in the area code. Congrats, you've found a doctor (note: surgeons are the same genus, but a different species: they wear scrubs, and act like they're the most important person in the tri-state area).

2. Also hauling ass, but wearing scrubs; may wear colorful scrub tops with seasonal themes (leaves in autumn, Santa and holly or snowmen in December, pumpkins around Halloween). Manages stress with grace; deals with constant bullshit from patients and doctors alike without snapping and putting a bedpan over anyone's head (usually). This is the nurse (note: primarily a description of RNs, but of some LPNs as well). RN=Registered Nurse; LPN=Licensed Practical Nurse. An RN has a greater degree of education than an LPN (and frequently has more of a clue what's going on than our next breed, the intern).

3. Dressed like a doctor, but looking distinctly more bewildered, as if caught in the headlights of an oncoming Mack truck (the role of the truck is frequently played by the attending physician). Most prized possession: the new top-of-the-line Lippmann stethoscope they went hungry for two weeks to pay for. Don't hide it as a practical joke, and certainly don't borrow it to auscultate to heartsounds of the gentleman in room 47--the one with impetigo. Diet consists of bagels and danish at morning meetings, pizza at Grand Rounds, the odd catered meal from a pharmaceutical rep, cafeteria food when there's nothing free available, and odds-n-ends from the vending machines when spending the night on call. Oh, and coffee. Lots of delicious, delicious coffee. This is the intern. Or resident--the difference is much smaller than either group makes it out to be.

More to come!

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