10 Things Med Students Shouldn’t Do

This is my first year of being a senior resident and it is only January; and yet I have seen all these things happen.

Sadly, this has all led me to the grim realization of why I got such good evals as a medical student: it wasn’t because I was some sort of social genius. (And yes, I really thought I might have been a social genius.) No, it was because I did not do the following things, ALL OF WHICH I HAVE SEEN WITH MY OWN EYES.

Seriously, if you don’t do these things, don’t worry. You will be fine. Your residents will love you.

  • Do not claim to be late to rounds because you had a “Cat medical emergency last night.” Unless your cat is dead. But even then…. maybe don’t use the phrase “cat medical emergency”.
  • Certainly do not voluntarily (and eagerly!) disclose that your “Cat medical emergency” consisted of “I thought my cat was constipated but he wasn’t.”


  • DEFINITELY do not follow that up with “So the vet prescribed him kitty prozac. And I couldn’t sleep because I was so worried about the side-effects of the kitty prozac, so I was late.” Believe you me, I would rather you had just overslept.
phone 2

No judgement for ‘kitty death’. Lots of judgement for ‘r/o kitty constipation.’

  • Do not respond to the attending’s hopeful query “So, are you interested in [our specialty]?” with “Eeeeehhhhhh…
  • If a 4 month old is mildly tachycardic, do not suggest obtaining orthostatic vitals.
  • When a patient is admitted with, say, an asthma exacerbation – and you have happened to read in a past note that they are undergoing long-term therapy for PTSD- it is probably unnecessary and ill-thought out to open with “Hi! I’m a med student! So… it sounds like you were raped? Like, last year I think the chart says? How is that going?”

uh no


  • If I go through your patient presentation with you twice before rounds, in the most open, non-judgemental of ways, asking you repeatedly ‘Any other questions?’ – it is in the foolishly earnest hope that in front of the attending the words “So.. they were born at 38 weeks… is that preterm? Sorry, haha, I don’t know what preterm is” will NOT come out of your mouth.

what is this jeez no text

  • I will point out to you that the healthy teenager with the urine output of “0.3 cc/kg/hr” is likely not saving their urine. This is a gift. I do this to HELP you. I do NOT do this so that you can present the patient to the attending as “Initially, we were worried about kidney failure. After a lot of thinking about it, we  discovered that the patient was not saving their urine. Doing this led us to rule-out kidney failure, which we were initially very worried about, as I said.” (WHO IS WE. I DON’T EVEN KNOW YOU.)
  • Do not demonstrate “Suprapubic tenderness” by helpfully palpating my uterus.
  • Seriously, just… hands off your senior resident’s uterus.


7 thoughts on “10 Things Med Students Shouldn’t Do

  1. Oh my god…..thatexplains a lot for me. Totally identified with the thinking I’m a social genius or something part. “So you we’re raped?” Oh my god…..double facepalm.

  2. Hilarious! This will be good to share with my peers prior to going on rotations/clinicals.
    and…so glad you’re alive and posted something 🙂

  3. Hysterical… One of mine asked a nurse if she knew what she was doing while the nurse was drawing a baby’s blood- in front of the family…

  4. This is so true! There are medical students who will ask you ‘well, so the patient (clinical scenario) is not breathing, so what?’ or ‘is it cancer?’ while you are doing a diagnostic procedure on an awake patient.

  5. Pingback: So I’m a fellow now | Action Potential

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