Thursday, 23 October 2008

Lunchtime Etiquette

Since properly starting clinics in the beginning of October my medical student friends and I have been subjected to a crash course in hospital etiquette. Noone bar consultants sit in the front row in meetings/presentations, you always offer your computer to a doctor if they stand near the one you're working on and you refer to everyone more senior than you by their surname even if they have been introduced by first name. All these were pretty easy and obvious to pick up but the other day my firm of medical students encountered a little social awkwardness.

We had teaching with an SpR (or whatever they're called now) when we'd usually have lunch. It goes without saying we were starving. Being on the wards seems to leave us all insatiably hungry. Probably due to the fact that when you have breakfast at 6.30am it's a pretty long time until 12.30 for lunch. Anyway, thats off the point. Basically we were sitting in the Reg Room, where all the registrars in our speciality hang out and they kept coming in with plates filled high with drug company free lunch goodies. We looked wistfully at their food and sat there nursing our rumbling stomachs.

The most senior of our reg's came in the room with stacks of goodies and sat down to have a chat with us. The poor guy had been on nights, but was still working during the day too. He definitely deserved his free sandwich. So the reg sits down and looks at the 4 of us then looks back at his food, and says "Looks like I have just enough Pringles for one each, help yourselves guys!". Not quite sure what to do we all sat their and politely shaked our heads and said "No thanks." About 30 seconds later all our stomachs continue rumbling. "Banana guys?" he says waving a banana in our faces (how wrong does that sounds?!). Yet again we all turned it down. Confused he picked up a kit-kat and tantilizingly presented it to us, "You guys have got to want one of these right?" and yet again we all smiled sweetly and declined. He clearly thinks that we're insane. Students turning down free food?! Madness?! Did we do the right thing? Should we have taken his food and let him go hungry? Did we come across as even more rude by saying no? Are we actually completely stupid? I think the resounding answer is yes.

Lily xXx

1 comment:

The Manchester Medic said...

I think that I would have done the same. It's a bit of an awkward situation, but there was nothing that you could do to get away from that fact.

Like you said, hospital etiquette puts medical students right at the bottom of the food chain and this is something that we are generally prepared to accept. After all, we are probably the only group of people working in a hospital whose primary goal isn't to help the patients.