Welcome to Intern Year : PANDA BEAR, MD

Welcome to Intern Year : PANDA BEAR, MD

(Gentle readers, I present the following which is mostly written in Marine-speak. You have nothing to fear and yet, if you have a weak constituion or are easily upset I implore you to skip this article, perhaps using the time saved to peruse the latest Peanuts comic strip in the newspaper or anything else that is similarly non-threatening.-PB)

Heh.  Nice.


  1. Panda Fan says:

    Forgive me slipping into junior high speak, but, “Panda RULZ!” The Asian teddy bear has taught me more about human behavior than 150 credits of psychology.

  2. I am a fervent believer in free speech, even to the point of allowing someone to say things that they regret or pay for later.

    Colorful as the language is, it seems almost certain that he will regret how this was written some day — it’s there to be found by patients, current/future employers, his children. Once you strip out the foul language, there really isn’t anything especially pithy about it. Other bloggers have made the same kinds of comments about internship more eloquently and without expletives.

  3. Say instead that you hope I pay for it later. Obviously you have some emotional investment in the current system or are buying what The Man is selling.

    And the bad language is kind of the point, providing a contrast to the sanitized, psychobabble that passes for language nowadays.

    I also believe that I am a pioneer on the internet as far as diagnosing the dysfunctions of residency training. Previously, people merely lamented the lack of sleep but consider it inevitable and necessary. I thnnk nothing of the sort and am part of a new generation of non-traditional medical students and residents who have done other things in life and know when smoke is being blown up our asses.

  4. Goatwhacker says:

    I’d have to agree with GregP on this one. Internship and residency are awful, but dropping a lot of F-bombs doesn’t strengthen the message, it weakens it.

  5. Look, I provided fair warning in the disclaimer. One reads my blog at their own peril.

  6. Goatwhacker says:

    Panda, if people read your blog “at their peril” I would ask what is the goal of your blog. If it’s purely to rant then by all means use whatever terms you want. If it’s to inform people of how medical training is really indentured servitude, gain their support and possibly change things, I think the way you come across is counter-productive.

    Obviously I could be wrong as you seem to have a good deal of support in your comment section.

  7. I have no goal. I like to write, like most writers I write for myself, and there happens to be a small segment of the population who are interested in what I have to say to myself.

    If I was still a Marine I’d have a blog called “Panda Bear, Sergeant, USMC.” In other words, I am not on a mission, I’m actually done with most of the obnoxious crap of my residency, and I am not, repeat not ranting.

    I avoid ranting. I’m just using humor and satire to comment on the conventional wisdom. Remember, I am stuck in the system as completely as any other resident and my actual goal is to finish in a couple of years and start making money.

    As for being counterproductive, perhaps. But the current system of residency training is so entrenched that maybe we need to burn the mother down and start from scratch. Certainly The Man is never going to change unless people start getting angry about things. Before me (at least on the web) the complaints have been mostly of the apologetic variety. I’m probably the first person to say, in the open, that depriving people of sleep as a regular part of their job is cruel, inhumane, and cannot be justified in any way. No apologies. No begging. No cringing or kow-towing to the notion of “patient care” as a justification for making me work 30 hours in row without sleep, rest, breaks, or even some days the ability to sit down and eat a decent meal.

    I also dislike the current trend to link sleep deprivation with patient safety. You know what? I am disciplined enough and hard enough (from eight years in the infantry) to give good patient care even if I am tired. I just want to to sleep because people need sleep and sleep, as it is a biological imperetive, like eating and breathing, should not depend on some fake-ass study that proves patient care doesn’t suffer from tired residents. It doesn’t in my case but I don’t give a rat’s ass either way. I want to sleep, I want to spend time at home, and I have other interests and responsiblities besides medicine.

    I also believe in the power of occasional bad language. I have an extensive vocabulary at my command, scored a 15 on the MCAT verbal section, and am reasonably well-spoken but the four letter words are like old trusty friends that sometimes are the only words that will do.

  8. And I have a good deal of support for my point-of-view because residency training is a bitch for most residents. Nobody likes being a resident except the occaisional zealot.

  9. scalpel says:
  10. I’ll stick with my initial statement for all it says: I am not offended by the language and have no objection to anyone putting whatever they want in a blog. But these things are more permanent than we would like; it’s not a matter of simply shutting down a blog and it’s gone. Google, for one, seems bent on having an increasingly massive collection of all kinds of information, and in spite of any thoughts we might have of ownership of our blogs, it doesn’t really work that way. It’s as if you’re posting them on a billboard somewhere when you stick things on the internet.

    I still think the foul language did nothing to improve, amplify, or explain your point of view. In contrast, the comments here are more cogent and make your case much better than your own post did.

    Times change, but it would be a misjudgment to say that all of us old guys thought that the things we went through in our training were all educationally good or essential, and that there weren’t a range of reactions to the various kinds of torture we put up with.

  11. I am proud of, and stand behind, everything I write and anyone who asks me can get my real name. Plus everything I write is the truth, presented in an entertaining fashion but still the truth.

    If I restricted myself to dry prose even I wouldn’t read my blog.

    You old guys may have disliked it but you sure sucked it up without complaint. I have even “dressed down” an attending who was treating me poorly. Apparently he was angry for days afterwards…but what could he do? Screw him if he wants to be a petty dictator and I refuse to play along with his bad manners.

    Which is the root of the problem. Sheer bad manners on the part of people who are too used to having their buts kissed.