Advice for Medical Students

In the comments to an entry over at Bloodletting, Dr. Moriarity holds forth with his advice for med students on clinical rotations. I asked him for permission to post them here (and there’s a bonus diagnostic rule set at the end, by a medical student he once knew).

Dr. Moriarity’s Advice to Medical Students:

Know your patients.

Arrive early. Stay late, but not a second longer than you should. (Patients come to those who wait.)

Comport yourself as a member of an ancient and honorable profession.

Ask questions, but do not question the medical judgement of your seniors. (The only thing worse than a dumbass medical student is a smartass medical student.)

Take the initiative.

Go for the money, not the zebras. (See Sutton’s Law.)

Do not brownnose. Do not lie. Do not cheat. Do not dump on your team or your classmates. Do not try to bullshit. Never assume that anyone besides you has cared for your patients. (We are at least as interested in how well you work with others as how much you know.)

Treat nurses and hospital staff with respect, regardless of how they treat you.

Recognize that you are a valuable part of a team, even when it seems like all you’re doing is being abused, pimped and scutted to death.

Work hard, but remember: You are there to learn, not to work.

And, an amusingly accurate mnemonic to help discern methamphetamine abusers:

Tangredi’s Triad:

Terrible teeth,
Tiny Tits.


  1. Great advice. Especially (because of their relative rarity) the bits about “don’t brownnose” and “you’re there to learn, not to work.” Professionalism demands that you act like a professional, and not like a brownnoser or a scared student who will do or say anything for praise.