Today is an epic milestone for me! I survived my general surgery rotations… Both of them! And I liked them. And did well on them. What a shock to the system!
Often when I have tried to explain to people that I am on general surgery and have little spare time or sleep and such they ask if it is like Grey’s Anatomy.
And thus, I present to you my list of how life on general surgery although with some very superficial similarities, is not like Grey’s Anatomy.
To start, the similarities:
- There really is a chain of command. Interns answer to senior residents who answer to fellows who answer to attendings. And sometimes people try to breach that and it can get you into trouble. And some of the people at the top are nasty or manipulative, but most of them are just doing their job the best way they know how.
- We really do use pigs and dummies to learn to operate and do procedures.
- Interns do not see the inside of the OR very often. And often when they do, it is an emergency, a boring case or something people need a hand on.
- People do indeed come to hospital with ridiculous problems all the time.
- Surgery is a tiring and emotionally straining field. The hours are as crazy as they make them appear.
- 24 hour call is a real thing.
- People’s personal lives outside of the hospital keep happening despite all of the work and sometimes get pretty messed up as a result of all of the work.
- Failing an exam does indeed mean you can be held back a year.
And now, the differences:
- Nobody looks that good after working 24 hours. Nobody.
- Scrubs in real life don’t fit that well. They are gender neutral and height neutral. Tall people look like they are braving a flood. Short people slip on their pants all day. They aren’t flattering… Ever.
- Although some people wear long sleeved shirts under their scrub tops, they are not conducive to going to the OR. Your face would get eaten for sure.
- For more face eating… The people on Grey’s often scrub incorrectly. You can’t touch anything after scrubbing. One should have their cap and mask on prior to scrubbing. They fail at this regularly.
- And face eating again… One wears a mask when entering an operating room in progress. Always.
- You can loose your medical license for dating patients. It is actually unethical.
- You will get fired for sure if you kill someone intentionally, blow a clinical trial intentionally or repeatedly cause all sorts of trouble by undermining staff, endangering patients and having inappropriate relationships.
- Jobs do not just materialize from thin air. Nor do fellowships.
- You can’t just spend your entire residency doing one type of surgery if you are in general surgery. Also, ortho is another specialty altogether. And you can’t just hop from surgeon to surgeon at your own whim. There are set rotations.
- I will admit that people have been known, from time to time, to do it in the call rooms. But, not at the frequency, rate or sheer volume as portrayed on Grey’s. In fact, it is a rare rebel sort of exception as opposed to the rule.
- Call rooms are not that nice. Often they resemble patient rooms or ratty college dorm.
- First year residents don’t get sent to operate all willy nilly ever!
- Interns do not only do surgery. They rotate through other stuff. You can’t just wander off and do something else at random because you get tired of surgery.
- Residents in generally do much of the work, but they can’t just go do surgeries or make all the decisions. Attendings are still in charge overall. They can’t go all Christina Yang and mysteriously do a ton of procedures.
- Although I have seen people bring their small children to work, it is usually a very temporary and desperate measure. They don’t just get passed from nurse to resident to staff member at random.
- If you call residents by numbers or “dwarf names” you can get charged with harassment.
- You just don’t air that much of your dirty laundry at work. Your personal life is your personal life. You can be friends, but full on arguments about who slept with who at the nurse’s station will get you into big trouble.
- Sleeping with co-workers is frowned upon. Especially when they are your supervisor.
- People do go out and drink to drown their sorrows… But not that late and not every night. Especially not on nights where your pager might go off. Personally, I prefer drowning my sorrows with food or coffee… You can do that whenever.
- It is just ridiculous that so much bad stuff would happen to a person or group of people.
- Surgeons do not generally get that emotionally involved in the lives of their patients. There are limits. It is good to care, but it is bad to become so involved you cause harm.
- One does not care for their own relatives while they are in the hospital.
- I don’t know anyone who would wear roller shoes to get around the hospital (though if I did, they would be awesome).
- You compete, but things can’t be that cut throat. You need your fellow residents to survive (I guess their friendships aren’t that unrealistic).
- You rarely, if ever have enough time to eat a leisurely cafeteria/hallway/coma guy room lunch. Most days, you do well to have lunch.
- You can’t just hang out in a patient room and eat lunch while they lay there in a coma.
- Not answering your pager is bad.
- Ignoring patient wishes and requests and going behind people’s backs is bad. And can get you in big trouble.
- You can’t just not show up to work. And the entire hospital full of nurses can’t strike simultaneously. That would be dangerous.
- Surgeons do not run the emergency room. Despite how it appears on the show. They are consultants. They consult. And do traumas. That is all.
- People don’t use the word stat that many times in the run of the day. We speak like humans. I swear.
I could go on and on. As much as the show angers me, I keep watching it. Some sort of strange solidarity because I followed it for so long. Since it was less bad and less soap opera-ish. I cry pretty much every episode. I get ticked off at the errors in pretty much every episode. Funny how that works.
I do love that recently they seem to mock the fact every once in awhile things are kind of ridiculous.
I also like the start and end of episode monologues. Even though other shows copy it and it is kind of melodramatic.
I am glad real life isn’t like that. I am also glad my life is straying away from some of the similarities too.