As I step into residency I want to strike a balance between proper supervision and independence. From my experience however most residents are more independent than supervised, particularly during call. A study from 2011 examined the language used to communicate to residents by attendings about when to page them during call. Both residents and attending physicians were given several scenarios and were asked if they wanted to be paged or if they would page if this were to happen. It turns out that up to 85% of attending physicians reported wanting to be paged if a certain scenarios were to happen by only about 31% of residents said they would page. Furthermore, 50% or residents admitted they would “never or rarely” page if the attending told them “page me if you need me”, while 41% said they would “sometimes” page. There is clearly something lost in communication if residents are scared to page their attending physician. To be honest, the fear is understandable, as I saw residents get chewed out for “unnecessary” pages. In general the medical community should be more comfortable with facing uncertainty, mistakes and reaching out for help. Historically medical professionals have not succeeded in all of these tasks but its time we remedy that and do better, both for ourselves and our patients.
- Lawrence Loo, Nishant Puri, Daniel I. Kim, Anas Kawayeh, Samuel Baz, and Douglas Hegstad (2012) “Page Me if You Need Me”: The Hidden Curriculum of Attending-Resident Communication. Journal of Graduate Medical Education: September 2012, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 340-345.