Monday, June 29, 2009

Favoritism

Usually I try not to post twice in a row, but I'm angry about this now.

On my way out the door on my last day of residency, I was chatting with two male junior residents about how much I enjoyed residency and wouldn't even mind if I had another year left. This may be selective amnesia on my part and I probably deserved to be smacked for saying that, but I love my field and I thought (most of) residency was awesome.

However, as I spoke with these junior residents, I got the distinct impression that they thought the only reason I enjoyed residency so much was that the attendings have been favoring me.

They cited the example of an attending that I will call Dr. Smith:

Dr. Smith has a reputation, in general, for favoring female residents. Several (but not all) of the male residents dislike him and say that he gives them a very hard time. A few residents were annoyed that he didn't make me go to the grand rounds that took place once a week at 6AM. Dr. Smith told me: "Fizzy, I know you have a baby and you've got a lot on your plate, so since you're not going into my field, I don't want to push you to do this."

I overheard another resident complaining that Dr. Smith didn't force me to do this once a week afternoon clinic for the undergrad students (note: don't talk shit about someone when they're standing three feet away). It is true that for the first month of our two month rotation, I didn't have to do the student clinic, but the underlying truth was that there was no school that month so there were no patients. The second month, when school was in session, I worked at the clinic. Yet a couple of residents insisted that my month free of the clinic was all because of favoritism.

I worked hard on that rotation to impress Dr. Smith, not by kissing up but by having a strong knowledge base. My shining moment was when I was doing a procedure with Dr. Smith and he was pimping me nonstop through the whole thing. Finally, after about half an hour of pimping, he said to me: "I can't stump you, can I?"

It bothers me that other residents think that I've been favored because I'm a mother. Just because I enjoy residency, it doesn't mean I haven't worked hard. If I've received any favoritism, I'd like to think it's because the attendings know I'm hard worker. I also study my ass off. We had two major exams this year and I got the highest score on both by a large margin.

A friend told me that any time an attending likes a female resident, all the men will say it's because that attending favors women, not because she's actually a good resident. I'm beginning to wonder if that's true.

7 comments:

  1. Who cares? You know you are good, and that is all that matters. And, you know what: if the medical establishment is starting to give physician parents (not just mothers, but fathers too) a little break because they have competing obligations with families, well, that's not such a bad thing either.

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  2. Or maybe those male residents favor an explanation that keeps their egos intact :)

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  3. What Tempeh and Mark said.

    You're good. Those guys are losers.

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  4. You should be proud. You obviously impressed Dr. Smith. Sounds to me like your fellow residents were jealous, and yes, I wouldn't be surprised if it had something to do with your being a mother and a woman.

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  5. Everyone tells me that they're jealous, but I honestly can't imagine anyone being jealous of me....

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  6. Why wouldn't they be jealous? You're a mother, woman and STILL got the highest scores on your tests.

    Don't feel bad because you enjoyed residency.

    Good luck in your future.

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  7. Who cares what they think, even if you are being favored. Every boss has people they like more or less, and you seem to have fallen on Dr. Smith's "like" list. I'm sure there are times when the other residents have been favored by other attendings for no other reason than they liked the same football team. It all works out in the end.

    Just tell yourself that they're just jealous. You can also reassure yourself that they probably wouldn't have been able to handle being a mother and a resident, which you so obviously have done a good job of.

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