I'm not like the other people here.
There's a personality to being a doctor-- maybe it's not even about being a doctor, a personality to being someone who's sees themselves as professionally successful, ambitious, driven, I don't know-- it's not that the other residents care more, or work harder, or are better than I am. And I'm not even sure it's that they get more fulfillment out of it or like it more than I do. It's that they're so enmeshed in the hospital, they're so completely consumed by their professional lives as residents that they don't even think about the rest of it.
Not that there's any time to have much of a life-- there isn't. But I worry about that-- I feel like I have other needs, that I can't be at the hospital 24 hours a day, that I need sleep, I need friends, I need to have other things in my head besides the work. And that my entire existence shouldn't necessarily be defined by the job. And that wanting to leave when my work is done-- being able to joke about things with my colleagues-- being a human being instead of a medical robot-- can't be a bad thing.
But that makes me different. And not in a good way.
I'm being vague, when I don't have to be. One of my residents gave me a lousy review. Most of my reviews have been really good-- surprisingly good-- especially from the attendings. Apparently I'm competent at this, even if I don't always feel like I am. The attendings like me, they trust me, my patients like me, and I haven't made any colossal mistakes (yet). Most of the residents I've worked with have been fine-- I've clicked with some more than others, of course, but they've been fine.
And yet one of them gave me a lousy review. He said I'm always working with an eye on the clock, that I push too hard to leave, that I don't seem invested in being there. He said I don't care enough-- not in exactly those words, but close. And I'm not really sure what to make of it. He's right that I work with an eye on the clock, he's right that I want to leave when I'm done-- when we're on days, it's 6AM to 7PM-- on our feet, racing around the hospital all day-- so, yeah, if none of my patients are in acute distress, I am thrilled to be done at 7PM and sign out to night float. That's what night float is there for. This resident routinely stayed until 9, 10, 11 at night-- did it hurt the patients? Of course not. Did it help them? No, not really. There's always more to do. There's always labs to follow up on, family members to talk to, notes to write. If you wait around long enough for someone to stop breathing, someone will. Or there'll be a new admission. Or something will happen that needs a doctor's attention. But we have a night float team. And I need sleep, at least sometimes, to be a decent doctor the next day, and actually help my patients.
And wanting sleep can't make me a bad person. Or at least I hope it can't.
And, see, it almost wouldn't be so bad if he gave me the lousy review but sat me down and talked to me about it. I could explain that, yeah, maybe I don't like staying for quite as many hours as he does, but I try to be efficient and get things done and help the patients, and I could apologize if I seem like I'm rushing to leave, and we could be, I don't know, civil about it. Instead, I feel like he gave me the lousy review and now he's my enemy. Every time we pass in the hall, I feel like he's giving me a dirty look.
And I walked into the ICU last night, just to say hello to the night float people over there-- and he's in there, and he wouldn't even say hello. He and a bunch of his friends were talking about nothing-- the hospital food, whatever-- and he made a point to not include me, he made a point to not be friendly. As if I've done something personally offensive to him-- as if somehow-- even if he thinks I'm a lousy resident, which I don't think I am-- this is a personal issue for him.
Maybe I am too detached. Maybe if I felt more personally invested, I would stay until midnight every night. Maybe I'm wrong for thinking the job doesn't have to consume every moment of my life, and every piece of my existence.
But even if that's true-- and I hope it's not-- why does it mean this guy has to be my enemy? I don't want an enemy. I've worked with residents who don't seem to be that great. It's unfortunate for the patients when they screw up, and it makes my life as a doctor more difficult. I don't feel like I take it as a personal affront. I don't think it means I'm less civil to them as human beings. I may not want to work with them again, but I don't hate them.
Clearly I'm letting it get to me.