When I worked as a nurse in a teen clinic, I learned countless things about adolescents. Most were eye-opening and others…flabbergasting! Thank heavens for patient protection laws because every day I needed hard-core reasons to keep my mouth shut about the insane things these kids were doing! However, what surprised me more was the residents (aka newbie doctors) were often as mindless under-prepared for the world as the kids they were treating.
Once in a land, far, far away, I was working with a “green” resident. Unfortunately, this “extraterrestrial” doc had limited hands-on experience with humans because he had spent the last few eons with his face pressed into books scanning information into his super-human brain. The sole purpose of residents in general is to work in an educational setting, to be molded by older mindless experienced doctors, ** so the young physicians may osmotically suck out copious amounts of information before being released into the real world.
On this ordinary day, one of the “experienced” doctors instructed a resident to enter a patient’s room, ask some important medical type questions; and before the resident was to leave, he needed to ask the patient to put on a gown so he could later return for a physical exam. Now the resident had either forgotten how difficult it is to be a teenager, or perhaps was IN medical school during his teen years; therefore, missing “Social Graces 101” because all he told this young girl to do was, “Put on a gown,” after grunting and pointing to a drawer labeled gowns. Then he eagerly left the room.
As the majority of adults know, when going to various doctor’s offices it usually depends on what part of the body the physician is inspecting to determine which way you wear your gown. Open in the back, open in front? This girl had limited experience with the whole gown concept and without a parent or nurse to clear up the nonexistent doctor directions; she did exactly what the he had told her.
Let me preface this as delicately as possible…this was a full-figured young woman who was well above average on the growth curve. When the young doctor and his mentor later entered the room to perform her exam there was an audible gasp heard down the street hall. Then there was a quick shuffling mimicking the Three Stooges (minus Larry), a murmur of mumbled apologies, and a briskly shut door by a pair of crimson-faced physicians shortly ended the scene.
On this pitiful day the gown drawer was empty of normal adult gowns. One toddler gown (size 4T to be exact) was accidentally placed in the drawer. Somehow this plus-sized teen squeezed into it (a bit) tying the strings at her neck so the opening was in the front. Never could this gown cover her or ANY adult; but with great persistence, she sat there humiliated, as naked as the day she was born, waiting for the young male doctor and his older assistant to return.
As a nurse who came in to rescue the youth, let me tell you…there are not enough words in the English language to erase the scars that occurred from that event. Hopefully, she will be able to go to another doctor’s office without breaking out in hives or having flashbacks, but thankfully time does heal many wounds in many situations. However, I’m sure the resident learned his lesson STAT and is one of the best educating pediatricians, wherever he is practicing.
So people –I beg of you – if you ever find yourself naked in a doctor’s office, sitting on that cold paper with a Barbie dress tied around your neck? STOP. Get dressed. And ask yourself, “Does this seem right? Then grab some Reece’s Pieces, your bicycle and E.T. PHONE HOME – ‘cause you probably have a doctor from Uranus in training and YOU deserve better care than that!
**This does not apply to every practicing physician; especially, my father-in-law, who is NOT mindless, or for any of my doctor friends who might be perturbed by the portrayal of “experienced” doctors in this essay. You obviously are exempt from this gross generalization…except for when you are acting mindlessly.
© 2012, Stacey Hatton. All rights reserved.