ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: Spike Collar Sold Separately

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Spike Collar Sold Separately

My medical school is big on ceremonies. The White Coat Ceremony, to mark our entrance into the medical profession, make us feel like we are real doctors from day one, and allow us to wander around town looking official and impressing women with our doctor garb when we, in fact, know nothing. The Cadaver Memorial Ceremony, to give us a chance to reflect on the year that was anatomy, how much we did (or did not) learn, and how far down into hell we were going to go for making fun of any sexual organ irregularities in the donated bodies we cut open. The Second Year Banquet, held before the second year is actually over and before any of us have taken the boards, marking the moment we...umm...ehh…accomplished… uhh…nothing. The Professionalism Ceremony, held at the end of my current round of clinical skills orientations today that required us to literally reaffirm the vows of “humanism” as future doctors that we first took in the White Coat Ceremony two years earlier, bringing new meaning to the term “married to my job”.

Given this penchant for ceremonies, I found it odd that my school forgot to commemorate perhaps the most defining moment of our entry into the medical profession with a ceremony of its own. For what, you ask? Please ask. C’mon, just play along. Ask. OK fine whatever, I’m going to ramble on anyways:

This past Friday we had the privilege to shell out $120 (per year) to receive our very own…(cue drumroll)…shiny…slightly used…encased...


Yes, from this moment on until we decide to retire or become dermatologists, we will be slaves to these pagers and the people at the other end of the page who desire our presence or attention at ungodly hours of the night, in the most horrid of conditions, and under the most extreme amount of stress. While it may seem unfathomable to you that I am able to contain my excitement over finally receiving this key accessory to make my fake doctor costume complete, I am stunningly able to do so nonetheless.

It is with this defining moment in mind that I propose a new ceremony to be added to the clinical foundations/orientation portion of our third year curriculum: The “Is This Thing Really Supposed To Go Off At 3AM?” Pager Ceremony Extravaganza. In it, we can have naive third year medical students file into an auditorium, get in alphabetical order, and proceed to walk to the front of the class, where the ceremonial rituals begin. Rather than be fitted for a white coat to be placed over their shoulder by one of the deans of the medical school, a lá the White Coat Ceremony, students must walk past a series of pictures depicting their families, friends, the beach, and so on, only to have someone throw these pictures into a growing bonfire on stage. They are then verbally harassed by various superiors, and given that as third year medical students we are literally at the bottom of the food chain in the hospital, this cast of characters includes attending physicians, chief residents, residents, interns, fourth years, nurses, physician assistants, biostaticians, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, pharmacy residents, pharmacy interns, pharmacy techs, candy stripers, janitors, volunteers, the patients themselves, their families, friends, distant cousins, and, finally, the homeless people who live down the street. Lastly, each student receives their pager, which is firmly bolted to their waist. They then must listen to the annoying ring of the pager while receiving the words of wisdom that were given to me this afternoon, by the chief of surgery at the hospital I will be working at, regarding pagers:

“I firmly believe that everyone has a predetermined number of pages they can receive in a lifetime, and once you pass that limit, you die.”

With that, the ceremony is complete.

This post is in honor of the page I just received from a friend that startled me so much (because I wasn’t expecting anything) that I almost fell backwards out of my chair.


(Note to self: stop being so overdramatic for next post.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should be glad they didn't supply you with Nextels. There is nothing more annoying than hearing someone yelling at you from inside your pocket, or your purse. Well, there are more annoying things, but that one is pretty bad.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Ms. Charisma said...

Have I told you before how much I love your blog?

Ah, medical school, so much more glamourous than graduate school.

And you aren't the lowest on the food chain. What about those first-years?

p.s. women are really impressed by doctors.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fake Doctor,

You forgot to add Pharmacists, Pharmacy Residents, Pharmacy Interns and Pharmacy Techs to the list!
Let me tell you the pager is a lot better than the cell phones that we have to carry at work, they always ring, and never stop. When you are already on the phone, when you are eating, when you are in the bathroom, ring ring ring all the time.
At least with the pager you can call them when it is convenient for you!

9:17 AM  
Blogger Admin said...

right, forgot that...changes made accordingly

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget biostatisticians, either. Did I mention that I never arrived at work before lunch last week?

5:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are too funny. I am currently dating a 3rd year surgical resident and every time his beeper makes the ungodly noise, I cringe...a few more months and I may, just MAY develop an aversion to it.. maybe a nervous tic?
He also claims that he is still at the bottom of the totem pole...when does it change?

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It's "biostatisticians".

Sepaking of which:

The Other Jew said...
"Don't forget biostatisticians, either. Did I mention that I never arrived at work before lunch last week?"

Don't believe him. I was in at 8 AM today, because I really had to get some work done. Of course, I left at 5, once I was through for the day. But I had to work out, and then take a dance class. That means that I won't get home until after dark. Oh, woe is me.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the blog =)

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Oh god, that was so funny. :D
and so true.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Cheap Steroids said...

But all of these ceremonies have their sense and advantages!

6:05 AM  

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