Tuesday, November 27, 2007


My ER month is almost over. I had my last shift last weekend, and went on an ambulance ride-along yesterday. This has been the best schedule during all my time in medical school. I even managed to go home for a couple days for Thanksgiving! I do unfortunately have to take an exam for the first time in fourth year on Thursday which I am wildly unprepared for.

Interview season has begun in earnest. I had my first a couple weeks ago--I liked the program and the people, the location however left something to be desired. The next three weeks will entail a lot of travelling, going to a lot of awkward night-before dinners, being asked the same questions (why surgery? why this program? what are your strengths/weaknesses?) dozens of times by dozens of people, having to ask the same questions (what are the best points of this program?) dozens of times, and driving a lot.

The question I hate with a passion, is of course, the strengths/weaknesses question. The strengths question kind of makes sense, but I don't understand the weaknesses question. Clearly if the interviewee has weaknesses that should be a concern, s/he is not going to admit them to the interviewer. Which leaves the old strategy of taking something that's actually a strength and pretending it's a weakness (I care too much. I work too hard. I have to get things just right. Patients say that I'm so great that something must be going wrong because no one can be that perfect. Etc.) which naturally everyone sees right through. Being asked these questions so many times, I am constantly tempted to deliver a flippant answer with a totally straight face. Here are some examples:


I've found that my telekinetic abilities are a stunning asset in virtually every situation.

In addition to my commitment to surgery, I have many interests outside of medicine. For instance; last summer I learned to translate hieroglyphics, wrote a best-selling novel, and just for fun discovered how to divide by zero.


Patients say I don't empathize well.

Sometimes I think I like cutting people too much.

I faint at the sight of blood.

Technically, I'm not supposed to be within 500 ft of several people in this town.

My therapist tells me I have some issues I need to deal with before being around patients. But it's all right, the voices in the ceiling say I'm good to go.

I don't deal with correction well.

In stressful situations I tend to break down.


Anonymous Dr. Alice said...

That is hilarious. Perhaps you could find out whether a program is a good fit by trying out some of those answers, and seeing if any program directors find them funny.

7:02 PM  
Blogger Helen said...

Those answers are very funny. Keep up the sense of humor.

7:33 PM  

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