* * Anonymous Doc

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One nice thing about the outpatient service is that sometimes your patients don't show up.

I don't mean that to sound so negative. But when you're in the hospital, you are virtually *always* busy. The to-do list is always full, there are always labs to check, there are always things to follow up on, families to call, patients to visit, tests to order, consults, interns and students to check in on, new admissions, discharges... the entire day is a battle to keep up. From the moment you walk in, you're fighting a losing battle to leave at a reasonable hour.

And then there's the outpatient service. Where, barring something astonishing, you see a handful of patients and then the clinic closes for the day and you get to go home. One patient doesn't show up, you surf the Internet for twenty minutes, do some reading, whatever. Two patients don't show up and you get to catch up on e-mail, maybe chat with an attending. Three patients don't show up and they probably give you someone else's patient to see, but then it's almost like you're doing someone a favor. You can actually end the day feeling like you helped someone out and didn't just try to tread water in your own little bubble.

Sure, it's probably different when you're not a resident and you're actually in practice-- and whether your patients show up determines whether or not you get paid, and a no-show means you're wasting a block of time in the office for no compensation. But on salary, I don't know, it's hard to feel so terrible about it.

So if you go to a clinic for your medical care-- do your doctors a favor. Make appointments when you don't need them, and then don't show up. They'll thank you for it.

Okay, maybe that's not quite the advice I should be giving out...

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