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Sarcasm Lost

This morning I read a reply to a comment that I left in response to someone else’s comment on my last post.  The comment itself was meant to be totally sarcastic, and I know that the person to whom I replied would have fully appreciated and understood my sarcasm.  Unfortunately, someone who came along and read the post later seemed to totally have misinterpreted my sarcasm as being just plain rude/inappropriate.  I guess that’s the hazard that comes with using sarcasm in writing, and especially when people who don’t usually read your writing, come along and see what you’ve said.

Anyhow, after reading the comment, I did reply.  However, i have been bothered all day by the thought that perhaps other people who haven’t been following my blog that long might have also gotten the wrong impression.  So to clear the air, so to say, I’ll summarize my thoughts and my comments somewhat succinctly:

I was complaining about how as a still fairly junior resident, I continue to have learning opportunities for more complex or interesting patients/procedures taken away by more senior residents claiming that they need the experience more than I do.  This has, historically, always happened.  I feel strongly that taking learning opportunities away from learner is counterproductive and rather UN-collegeal; unfortunately, there isn’t much I can do to change it.  Whenever I express my concerns to other people, I am invariably met with the same response every time: “Well, just remember that when you are a senior resident, you will bet to take the good cases from the juniors.”  Apparently that is supposed to make it all better and all worth it in the long run.

I feel that this is completely and wholly inappropriate.  First, I feel like there is a reason this residency program takes 5 years – it’s because there is so much to learn.  So why should all the complicated learning be crammed into the last 2 or 3 years?  Also early exposure often leads to better learning.  Finally, if everyone was just allowed to be exposed to experiences as they happened, over the course of the 5 years we would all get similar learning experiences and graduated confident with our capabilities.  I realize there are some exceptions to this, but this is just a quick overview of the issue and what I believe.

So in my last post, when someone expressed empathy in their comment about how it sucks that these experiences are still being taken away, I replied with heavy sarcasm and said, “well at least the positive side is that one day I will get to be the one taking these experiences away from other excited junior residents.”

For the record, I don’t think that is a positive thing, and I hate that I will have to make other residents feel the way I’m feeling now just so that I can get the hands on experience and training that I’m not getting now.  I really wish it could be different, and as the second commenter said, shouldn’t we be more collegial and willing to help each other in our learning.

Yes.  We should be.  But the sad part of this whole situation is that we aren’t and there seems to be no interest in changing that attitude anytime soon.

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