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Thursday, January 21st 2010

Annoyed To Be In The Operating Room

It’s sacrilege to not want to be the OR if you’re a surgeon, or a wannabe.

I’m guilty of it this rotation. Not only am I not actively seeking out the OR, I’m attempting to avoid it. And today, spending the day in it against my wishes, I’m peeved.

My disdain is multifactorial. Some of the reasons for avoiding scrubbing in are personal and beyond discussion here. But, in part, the fact is I’m tired of general surgery. I want to be a neurosurgeon and if I never see the inside of an abdomen ever again I would be beyond comfortable with that. Even agreeing that any operating time is good learning experience I can’t shake that sentiment.

Toss me anything with a neurosurgical faculty, an osteoma or a shunt or a trauma crani, and I would be there with glee. But I just cannot shake my distaste for what I’ve been doing over the past seven months or for what I had to do today.

Despite my own misgivings about scrubbing in, I can’t understand future general surgeons refusing general surgery (or its subspecialties) cases. I faced such today.

There was a single OR running today with four cases.

There are five residents on my service. It is highly over staffed. Four of the residents want to be future general surgeons. I’m the lone outcast. One was on call, I understand him not wanting to drive across town to scrub in. That left three others, all of whom are seeking to impress the faculty, to garner a good evaluation from this rotation. I’m alone in having my evaluation bear no impact on my future. I’m alone in not wanting to be a general surgeon. And yet I was sent to scrub in.

My response was frank annoyance, hardly professional, but I figure hardly misplaced in full.

It’s true I’ve managed to avoid the OR but for a handful of times and left the responsibility (and may I opine, privilege) to the general surgery wannabes on the services. I imagine them figuring I needed to shoulder my share of the ‘scrub in burden’. But what a ridiculous notion. The fact general surgery residents figured scrubbing in as a burden; essentially refused several general surgery cases out of what I can’t help but call laziness is bizarre and worth criticism.

My own avoidance of operating experience is something of laziness although my reasons on this particular rotation, as I said, are complex. But if anyone could be afforded an excuse for such it’s myself; with nothing at stake on this rotation unlike all the others.

And while throwing ones fellow residents under the bus is something of a shameful act I have to ask about today, “What the hell?”

The one guy with the most legitimate (at least I feel so) excuses for not going into the OR is prodded in so everyone else can take a lazy breather?

I’m annoyed.