Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Trust Me...I'm (Halfway) A Doctor

I got to thinking today while I was in the ER seeing patients. ("Thinking"....what a concept!) A nurse had just asked me what drugs and labs I was planning to order for a patient I had just seen. To which I responded with perfect practice, "I'm just the medical student...I can't make that decision. Let me talk to the doctor and I'll let you know."

I might have been able to make a few good guesses about what the doctor would order....but chances are, something would have been wrong.

It is sort of nice not having any responsibility for the patient. I can't mess up. Well, I can.....but there is someone to catch my mistake. Plus, unless I knowingly do something harmful to the patient (like punching him in the face), I can't be held responsible.

What a scary thought to think that in a little over one year I will be the responsible one. The nurses will ask me that question and I'll have to respond with an appropriate drug and lab. I won't have the luxury and safety of saying, "I'm just the medical student..." By then I will be a doctor. Gosh....scary!