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Item: Attitude is Everything: Lesson Learned
Attitude is Everything: Lesson Learned
May 18 2012, 1:03 PM EDT (view original item)
It's easy to complain about things from our past, but it is much harder to remember the positive experiences that we have about any given period in time. I remember having a particularly rough week during my student internship when I was asked to perform yet another Barium Enema. I knew I should have been grateful because many of my classmates were struggling to gain experience with the exams, but I already had my fill and then some. It seemed like I was assigned every single one that walked through the door, and the staff techs would mysteriously disappear about ten minutes before the appointment time for a scheduled BE.
Late one morning, after already completing three Barium Enemas compared to my classmates' two or three chest x-rays, another requisition printed for... you guessed it - a BE! The Lead Tech looked around the room as everyone avoided eye contact with him, and when our eyes met, I knew what was about to come out of his mouth. The words came out in slow-motion, "Jeremy, go ahead and do the last Barium Enema for the day." I tried not to roll my eyes.
My body language must have indicated that I was disappointed anyways because the Lead Tech pulled me into an unoccupied x-ray room and asked what the problem was. At first I said "nothing" and just wanted to be dismissed to get the exam over with. He persisted saying "I need to know what's bothering you before you do this exam." Then I unleashed my frustration telling him how it wasn't fair that I'm the only one doing all the BE's and how I understood that even though I'm a student (I'm pretty certain I used the term "slave labor" somewhere in there), that even the other students weren't being asked to do them. I told him that I felt picked on somehow. For once, someone asked my opinion without any restrictions, so I gave it to him.
He looked at me very calmly and said "If that's how you really feel, I will assign it to someone else, but I was hoping you would do it." I didn't understand why he wanted me to, so I inquired. What he said to me made me feel small. He said "You are really gentle with the patients and take a lot of time to make sure they are comfortable. I really wanted my mother to have the best care possible, but she's uncomfortable with me performing the exam." I shrunk.
He started to leave the room and I stopped him to tell him I would be happy to do the exam. I apologized for the display of frustration that I expressed, and thanked him for the reassurance for the quality of patient care that I attempt to provide. I also assured him that I would take great care of his mother.
I had never felt so awkward, embarrassed, and foolish. After a few hours, I still felt the need to explain that I had never been complimented by anyone on my performance, so I was caught off-guard when he explained the reason behind assigning me all the BE's. We had an understanding from that moment forward and I never questioned his assignment of tasks after that.
It is easy to feel victimized when you are a student, especially if you are not always given positive feedback
and you feel like you're doing the "grunt work." At the end of the day, as students we are there to learn. We practice through repetition to gain expertise in our skill set. I should have viewed this exam as an opportunity to gain experience, and it always helps to receive a little encouragement along the way.