Most med students are quick to catch onto the fact that “sipping coffee” is synonymous with “standing there, doing nothing” (or even – god forbid! – “taking it easy“). It’s one of the many little rules you’re expected to absorb from thin air on your first day of third year.
Sure, it depends a lot on your hospital and team – but broadly speaking, having a cup of coffee in one hand during rounds gives off a certain “devil may care” attitude that doesn’t bode well for your med student reputation.
(That said – I did it on surgery rounds because 1) I already knew I wasn’t getting honors, 2) there were no old-school attendings, 3) I deeply suspected the residents were too sleep-deprived to register the sight of me, let alone notice a small coffee mug, and 4) it was freaking surgery; I needed coffee. I mean, screw it, I’m not a machine.)
But this is SUCH a good example of why medicine is insane: there is nothing intrinsically lazy, unethical, or dangerous about simply holding a cup of coffee outside a patient care area.
But dude, if you’re on the bottom of the totem-pole of medicine, it makes you look like you’ve forgotten your place, and we can’t have that now can we.
So, right: Reddit’s medicine section has been having a discussion about it:
I cannot believe how many non-medical people responded to this topic by raising hell about how inconsiderate it would be to drink coffee in the patient rooms. YES, WE KNOW.
But honestly – even if the medical team taking care of you does dare to flout JCAHO rules by bringing closed containers of coffee into the room for the whopping 3 minutes they spend with you – unless you are NPO or on chemo, I can’t help but feel detecting a slight whiff of coffee in your room at Crack of Dawn O’Clock is not unreasonable.
But, right, the point here is that we are talking about drinking coffee in the hallway, not a patient care area.
… Yep, pretty much.
It’s such a dead-on example of why students leave med school hating medicine: “don’t drink coffee within sight of your superior” is – for better or worse – the sort of thing we end up internalizing as “professionalism”.