* * Anonymous Doc: From Resident to Attending

Monday, June 18, 2012

From Resident to Attending

I don't quite understand how people go directly from resident to attending in the same hospital.

You've spent three years being tortured, on the bottom of the totem pole.  And now all of a sudden you're supposed to be able to turn around and be the boss?  And enjoy it?  You've spent three years asking questions and now you're supposed to be the one giving answers... which is hard enough as a transition generally, but in the same place, surrounded by the same residents, nurses, other attendings?  The people you've spent three years being afraid of are now your peers?  You call a consult and someone who you've taken orders from for the past three years comes down-- and now you're supposed to be able to stand your ground and act like you're his equivalent?  You're in charge of people who you may have worked with a day earlier as co-residents, as peers, as friends?  And now you're the one making them stay late and write notes?  You were the one trying to leave early... and now you're the one making them stay late.  And they're supposed to be able to respect you?  I don't quite see it.

I'm glad I'm not staying here and becoming an attending, but what I find interesting is that the people who are staying here are the ones who complain the most, who seem to hate it.  And, sure, you can hate life as a resident and still want to be here as an attending... but to come back every day to work in the place that tortured you... why?  Why do you want to do that, except perhaps because you want to pay it back and torture future residents so they suffer as much as you did?  I don't want to be the first residents that a new attending has, especially if the new attending hated being a resident, hates the hospital, and has an agenda to make sure I don't have it any better off than he did.  Maybe that's no one's conscious agenda, but subconsciously, under the surface, can it be avoided?

Two more weeks... two more weeks...


  1. Back in my days as a property manager (aka Apt. Manager aka glorified Babysitter) I had a boss who never promoted on ths same property for that very reason. At the time I hated it but in hind sight it is very clear why she had that rule.

  2. i wish my resident boy as lucky as you are, only have two weeks left
    so i can just start a new life with him...

  3. You can do it! Two weeks will fly by, just think of all the time you spent getting to this position in life!

  4. And that is why you fail...

    Remember the Dr. [Bill] Jones? The one who was way to comfortable in his being a doctor when he was only a med student or intern? Yeah. You need belly up to the bar and act like you belong here. Now, not later.

    If you act like you belong were you are, few will question you, even those Attendings that you worked for before. Sure they may have thoughts about this or that, or question in their own head about the past and your new role. But you can't concern yourself with their thoughts and motivations. You can concern yourself with results and behaviors; Your results, your behaviors.

    If your medicine is good, and you treat people well, then who cares what they think?

    Your behavior, your results. Behave like an intern and get results like an intern then you are an intern; I don't care how many years you have been Attending. Behave like an Attending and get results like an Attending and you are an Attending; Even if that is today-or two weeks and one day from today.

    I love the blog.

    Act like you belong where you are and things will go much smoother.