Monday, April 30, 2018

Monday Reruns

Okay, everybody, let's take the Way-Back Machine to the early 1990's, when 4th year medical student Dr. Grumpy is interviewing for residency.

After medical school, young docklings go off to residency in our chosen fields.

But before we get into residency (through a mysterious process called "the match") we go off on interviews. Just like any other job.

I did my share of these interviews, traveling to 7 neurology programs in the early 90's to peddle my wares. These aren't quite as stressful as medical school interviews (for those you're begging them to take you, while for residency they need you & you need them, so both sides are trying in impress each other).

And this is the story of my least impressive interview:

I'd flown into the city the night before, and spent a relaxing night at a Motel 6.

The interview instructions said I was to begin by attending the Shitzenfuk Hospital Neurology conference at 7:30 a.m. This was several miles from the residency program's main hospital. And they actually told me to "ask around when you get there, and find a doctor willing to drive you back to our offices after the meeting".

So I took a cab from my motel to the hospital, and found the auditorium. Here I am, in a strange city, dragging my overnight bag around, with a bunch of docs who I don't know and who don't know me, and I'm walking around trying to bum a ride. Finally, after several looked at me like I was a sexual predator, one finally said. "Okay, I'm heading that way. I guess I can give you a ride."

Guess what? He turned out to be the freakin' chairman of the program I was interviewing at! He'd signed the letter telling me to bum a ride. You'd think he could have offered initially, since he knew I'd be there, but no.

So we walk out to his car. Mind you, I'm not a car snob. I don't expect doctors to be driving expensive things (my own car is a 2000 Nissan), but nothing could have prepared me for Dr. Chairman's mean set of wheels.

It was an early 70's Japanese something. Missing the right front fender. The trunk was half open, held down by a bungee cord threaded through a rust-hole.

I opened the passenger door. And a pile of empty soda cans, newspapers, fast food containers, orange peels, and heaven knows what else, fell out. Dr. Chairman said "sorry, let me clear that off" and began chucking the pile of garbage into the back seat (which was already covered with trash).

And off we went. It was December, and cold. My window was open. I tried rolling it up, but he said, "there's no window there, it broke years ago." The heat didn't work, either. So I was shivering away, with my overnight bag on my lap (no space for it anywhere else in the car). I hoped his driving skills were better than his car-care talents, because my seatbelt didn't work.

So we got to Neurology HQ. Where Ms. Bitchy at the desk (Dr. Chairman abandoned me as soon as we walked in) claimed I hadn't been invited for an interview, even when I showed her my letter. Eventually she realized she was looking at the previous week's schedule, and blamed me for having handed her the wrong schedule (which she'd actually pulled out of her desk).

Then it was time for my tour of the esteemed facilities. Ms. Bitchy directed me down a hall, and told me someone would meet me there.

Fortunately, one did. It was a nice guy named Pete, who (allegedly) was the chief resident. We talked for a minute in the middle of the building's lobby, which had white pillars everywhere, and halls leading in different directions.

After giving me a brief summary of the areas we'd be going to, Pete said, "It's a beautiful hospital. Follow me." He then turned around and walked straight into a pillar, breaking his glasses.

I helped Pete up, while some other guys in white coats ran over to try and stop the blood now pouring out of his nose.

As they led him away, Pete told me to wait in the lobby. A few minutes later Ms. Bitchy showed up, leading a girl in scrubs who'd apparently been on call the night before, and looked (understandably) less then enthusiastic about showing me around. It was a pretty quick tour.

Afterwards I had an interview with a doctor, who used most of our interview time to return patient calls. He also called Mastercard to argue about some charges, which he blamed on his ex-wife.

Then it was (per the schedule) lunch with the residents. None showed up. It was me and 3 attending physicians. Ms. Bitchy, the secretary-from-hell, had only ordered 3 lunches. She gave one to each of the doctors, and told me where I could find the hospital cafeteria.

I just went hungry, and spoke to the doctors. One of them told me he thought the newfangled MRA technology was a passing fad.

Then it was another interview. This time with Dr. Chairman of the crappy car. Who'd inexplicably left for the day. No one knew where he'd gone, or why.

Thus ended the interview. Ms. Bitchy told me she'd arrange a ride for me back to the airport, but given her remarkable organizational skills displayed thus far, I declined. She wouldn't let me use the phone on her desk, so I found a pay phone and called a cab.

I ranked them last. I have no idea where they ranked me. And no, I didn't go there.


Anonymous said...

I wish you could tell us where this place is located so we could make sure to NEVER go there.

Hannah said...

That is one of the worst experiences I've ever heard told that didn't involve some kind of crime.

clairesmum said...

Oy.....the nightmare of job interview experiences!

ndenunz said...

After a few interviews, I found you could tell a lot about how a program treats its residents by scoping out the call rooms. Were they singles or were there four beds to a room? How did the bathrooms look? Where were they located in relation to the patients? Closer was better.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you dodged a huge bullet by not getting a "match" at that hospital. I feel sorry for the patients who are treated there.

Anonymous said...

Oh my. I don't think I'd have endured that as well as orientation day and computer training day. Neverending nightmare.

Moose said...

I'm half with the anonononymous, except that history has taught me that shit hospitals eventually fall on their asses and get nuked, sometimes closed. I can think of one exception that I know if -- and they're not completely horrible. I can think of another that was inches away from being shutdown for being a shitshow until another hospital bought them up.

However, I'm pretty sure the purchasing hospital fired everyone and started fresh.

Anonymous said...

May God forgive me, but nearly fell off my chair due to laughing so hard about the poor DACR / NACR walking into the pillar. Glad I was not in a public place. Hope that he did not have some horrible medical issue, either before or afterward though. No pillars at the three large behemoth teaching hospitals near me though, IF they were really a true part of the story. One time had been in a classroom where a young woman stood bolt upright and proceeded to walk into the blackboard in the middle of class. University security was called to get her medical intervention. It was very concerning and a bit frightening, not funny at all, freaky. The instructor stopped the lecture and sat with her until assistance came. Assuming that the pillar incident was a freak accident, maybe the poor resident was over tired and definitely over stressed. You DID dodge a bullet. How could a department chairperson NOT show up for an interview? How did the department secretary keep her job?

Mage said...

Simply Amazing.

Anonymous said...

You ACTUALLY RANKED THEM at all? Brave yak herder...

el jefe said...

OMG. that definitely beats my horrible interview story. I too am extremely surprised you ranked them at all.

My nightmare interview encounter, the chief resident tells me, "You are going to love Dr. No Social Skills (NSS) he is like House, he can be brusque but he knows everything!"

Dr. NSS: (obviously peering through my application for the first time) So you go to medical school in Philadelphia?
Me: Yes
Dr. NSS: And it looks like you are finishing up?
Me: Yes
Dr. NSS: And you want to do a residency in Internal Medicine?
Me: Yes
Dr. NSS: Well, I'm obviously going to have to read your application sometime. But let me know if you have any questions. Feel free to email me. I have to go.

- I did not rank that program.

rjs said...

My interview:

In a cluttered office stacked a mile high with loose papers, old journals and messy files the head guy reads my resume and slowly chews gum.

He finally looks up: So you think you'd like to do this kinda work?

I reply: Yes, sir.

Head guy: OK.

And that was the whole interview.

Anonymous said...

wow. i've had some interesting residency interview experience, but i've never heard of one that bad. geez!!

Anonymous said...

Anon April 30, 2018 at 9:51 PM

How did the secretary keep her job? I'm pretty sure no one else would work there and anyone they hired would shortly quit.

C R X said...

My wife recently finished residency and interviewed for a faculty position at an academic center that sounds similar. Was told to give a morning lecture to start the day and the room door was locked, followed only a few people showing up. First interviewer met her during clinic and asked her questions in between patients. Secretary of second interviewer had no idea where the guy was and after some calling said the interviewer was at another site, so my wife was sent to the cafeteria (on her own) and told to get lunch on her own. Third interviewer spent the whole time pimping her (for a faculty position). The last interviewer never showed up either. She didn't take that job.

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