Q Fever! Medical Humor & Satire

April 10, 2002 | Volume 3, Issue 2

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Elective Time

Dr. Karl

Accredited postgraduate medical training programs allow residents several months of "elective time," which can be used to explore areas of particular interest. Since such time is limited, it is important that electives be allocated properly.

This issue, Q Fever!’s I&R correspondent, Dr. Karl Newman , shares his hints on maximizing the value of: Elective Time .

Hey there! Watch where you're walking! That's right: you're steppin' on my hand!

That's cuz' I'm writing this column curled up restfully on the floor of the Endocrine Clinic, doing my... Endocrine Elective!

If you're like me, you couldn't give two hoots about that hypothalamic-pituitary-axis-of-evil thing, but let's face it: there's NO better way to catch up on some much-needed sleep than a few weeks of Endocrinology.

And for you wackos out there, remember that a good 50% of the patients are bearded women, dwarves, giants, and men with breasts... if ya wanted to see 'em at the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum, it'd set ya back six bucks! And you'd have to go all the way to Niagara Falls!

So listen up what Karl be sayin':

1. Use It Wisely

Huh?! That's right, Stan - elective time's tighter than a Ricky Martin buttock clench, so ya gotta plan ahead. Be sure to check with the folks you're doing the elective with at least 24 hours ahead of time, to make sure they can accomodate you.

There's nothing worse than sauntering up to some consult attending and hollerin' "Yo! Wit' you fo' da month!" only to be told that the consult team already consists of 2 fellows, 4 residents, 8 German medical students, a valet, a cook, and 3 battle-hardened Navy S.E.A.L.'s. In other words: you ain't be welcome!

It's like my Uncle Chaim used to say:

Don't let the other guy eat your lunch;
Wait 'till he turn around, then aim, then PUNCH!

2. S'a Great Time To See The World

Whaddafuh? Yeah, you heard me. With America's popularity worldwide hitting new heights every day, this is a great time to find out how they practice ophthalmology in Yemen or gastroenterology in Pakistan.

I recommend sewing a U.S. flag on your backpack; maybe on your clothes too. Nothing says "treat me right" like flashin' the good old Stars and Stripes!

Make sure to insist on doing full "well-woman" exams while you're there, too. They'll appreciate your interest and dedication, and'll be sure to let you know it. Truss me!

3. It Gotta Jive With Future Career Plans

Mozzafuddawhadda? Tha's right, sheriff. What was it my grandma 'Bubbie' used to say? Oh yeah:

A tailor sews, and a baker bakes,
But you just sit around this house doing nothing.

In other words, it's important to use your elective time to acquire the skills you'll need to survive as a doc in the real world. So, while I'm not saying you should definitely do a knife-fighting elective... look, just don't dismiss it out of hand, OK?

Other frequently overlooked elective opportunities include:

  • Practicums in chart doctoring and document shredding
  • Electives focused on hole digging, burrowing, and gnawing
  • Electives where you learn how to summon a waiter with a crisp snap of your fingers

Sure, there's more. The list goes on and on. You won't hear the rest of it from me though - I'm going back to sleep. And remember: the next time you show up to do an Endocrine Consult,

“Just tell ‘em Dr. Karl sent ya!”

Karl Newman, MD is a second-year resident in Internal Medicine. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Q Fever!, its editors, or its writers.

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