Wednesday, February 03, 2010

scut i have done, medical school edition, part 3




When I tried to pick the particular scutwork to depict in this comic, I tried to be as selective as I could, because I'm sure most of you will agree that not all scut is created equal. Some is related to patient care, and therefore somehow justifiable (even if occasionally disgusting/demeaning/mind-numbingly boring), whereas some scut is just kind of like hazing--humiliation for humiliation's sake. At least she didn't make me clean the stool with a toothbrush.

Have your own stories of scut? Share them with us in the comments section!

19 comments:

  1. My worst one was as an intern..I was assisting facilitating support groups, and it was a group for Stage IV metastatic cancers. One of the women became ill after an adverse reaction to chemotherapy during the group, and vomited and had diarrhea everywhere. When the group left the room to go to another room to continue the group, and after the EMS workers had left, the therapist called to me, and said "This is perfect work for an intern..." and then pointed over to the closet, where the cleaning supplies were. That was a fantastic day.

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  2. Anonymous12:33 PM

    My worst one was as an intern..I was assisting facilitating support groups, and it was a group for Stage IV metastatic cancers. One of the women became ill after an adverse reaction to chemotherapy during the group, and vomited and had diarrhea everywhere. When the group left the room to go to another room to continue the group, and after the EMS workers had left, the therapist called to me, and said "This is perfect work for an intern..." and then pointed over to the closet, where the cleaning supplies were. That was a fantastic day.

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  3. When kids vomit or have accidents in school, do the teachers clean it up or do they make the kids clean it up themselves? I wonder...

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  4. You have to admit, teacher or doctor cleaning up diarrhea is not a fun job. Also, I think anonymous's point was that as interns you are there to learn, if you had the time it's understandable that an intern would help with patient sanitation and cleaning. But it was probably unfair that the cleaning was assigned to the intern when there is probably much more appropriate ways for the intern to help out. I obviously thought too much about this topic...

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  5. Erika4:50 PM

    At least it wasn't a stool sample?

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  6. "Perfect job for an intern..." Give me a fucking break!

    Hospitals have housekeeping staff who are plenty familiar with cleaning up accidents of the bodily nature. Jobs in any large organization are stratified and compartmentalized for a reason - efficiency. While the interns are cleaning up the diarrhea are the housekeeping staff writing antibiotic orders or seeing to the long line of people waiting in the emerg? It's not about the intern being "too good" or something to clean up diarrhea, it's that it's NOT THEIR JOB.

    The person who decided this was a perfect task for this intern is essentially saying "I have nothing else for you to learn or help with today - so you might as well do someone else's job - and an extremely unpleasant one." Total disrespect for that intern's time. Why not let this person go study instead? I'm sure they would appreciate it.

    Interns are there to learn and to help with patients' MEDICAL CARE. Sure now and then everyone in every job needs to pitch in and do things that aren't strictly part of their job description, but efficency suffers as a result.

    THe thing about scut is that medical trainees are these completely spineless and often useless THINGS just hanging around at the complete mercy of whoever's in charge. Actually teaching them to be useful require effort, so sometimes the teachers resort to LITERALLY having them clean up someone's shit instead.

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  7. Anonymous6:20 PM

    Cleaning up diarrhea? Its complete and total hazing.

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  8. Anonymous8:16 PM

    Considering that you probably have no idea how to cope with biohazardous material since you didn't have training, that was probably the least safe thing the therapist could have done for her patients.

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  9. Blueberry cheesecake11:36 PM

    I don't know all hospitals, but what I read displayed a horrifying lack of two things in the hospital administration, and I suspect, a city, urban hospital:

    1) patient transport(-ers): wheeling people, beds, wheelchairs, oxygen tanks - even empty ones - from one end to another, one floor to another, and from one building to another.

    2) biohazard transport (-ers): people, or machinery, that transport blood, urine, stool, sputum, pus, tissue etc specimens from bedside/ ward to the laboratory.

    3) cleaners/ janitors

    Honestly, can a hospital not have the basic systems above that help (immensely) run a hospital?

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  10. Blueberry cheesecake11:37 PM

    Got carried away, turned out there were THREE things...

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  11. Anonymous1:24 AM

    I'm probably sensitive as an Ob/gyn, but I sense form your cartoons that your Ob rotation did not treat you well, Michelle?

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  12. Aaaaaaaand I totally thought you were talking about a stool sample for awhile here. So it could have been worse?!

    Too much nursing school for me!!

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  13. Anonymous12:17 PM

    as a resident at an urban, public, city hospital- yes we were short on all those three things. Frequently the only way to get a patient up to the floor from the ER was to bring them yourself. And harass housekeeping as above to get a room clean- not their fault it wasn't clean, they have too many rooms to clean and not enougth time.

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  14. Former teacher here: in a case of vomit and diarrhea in the classroom, we call the janitor! We don't make the student teacher clean up the mess.

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  15. I think M made a FAB point-- It's not that we don't want to clean it up because we're Too Good. We aren't better than janitors. We are, however, responsible for LEARNING. While "don't piss off the attending" may be the lesson of the day, it certainly isn't contributing to a medical education.

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  16. Anonymous1:21 PM

    Not "scut" per se, because it was not related to medical training -- or any training purpose that I can identify, other than that essential life lesson cited above of "don't piss off [your superior]" -- but your post reminded me of the time I had to clean a fast food restaurant men's room with a toothbrush (no placenta, but believe me - plenty of other biological waste in there).

    I was in high school, and along with another girl was among the newest hires. We both came into work one Sunday (probably our second or third week) and were met by the manager, hand behind her back, and the question "Red or yellow?" We stared blankly. She turned to me, presumably because I had some negligible level of seniority, and repeated "Red or yellow?" "Red?" I responded. Out came the hand from behind her back with two packaged toothbrushes of the incredibly cheap variety, one red and one yellow. She handed me the red one, and my co-worker the yellow. We continued to stare back at her, less blankly this time, due to the concern (fear!) that had crept in following her reveal. And the manager told us we would be spending our entire shift making the restrooms sparkle with our trusty toothbrushes, and we could determine amongst ourselves who would clean which but the longer it took us to decide the longer we would have to stay to finish the cleaning. The other girl was a total whiner, so I gave in and let her have the much less disgusting ladies' room -- and she STILL quit the next day.

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