Sunday, May 4, 2008

Constructive vs. destructive criticism

I finished my ward rotation at University Hospital today.  This is the one civilian rotation we have all year.  The purpose is to expose us to another medical system, particularly one like UH that has a lot of pediatric trauma and high-acuity patients.  I was actually pretty excited about it.  A new hospital, new people to meet, interesting patients, and I got to dress like a girl instead of wearing my very unattractive BDU's everyday.  

I'm sorry to say I was somewhat disappointed with the rotation.  Don't get me wrong - I did enjoy the medicine I learned, and I enjoyed getting to know some of the people there.  Unfortunately, my senior resident and I didn't really click.  She's a very serious, smart, efficient resident.  I'm more laid-back, which I think can be perceived as laziness.  I'm not lazy, though.  I work hard.  Granted I have my off days where I'd rather not be there and I probably don't give 100%.  But for the most part, I consider myself to have a very good work ethic.

Unfortunately, this is not what my senior resident thought of me.  I asked for feedback halfway through the rotation and again today at the end of the rotation... and I have to say, it was probably the most negative, unhelpful feedback I've ever gotten.  And I'm not just being defensive when I say I don't agree with it.  I really do think I did a better job than she gave me credit for.  She totally focused on the few things I did wrong and didn't mention any of the things I did right.  It was really quite destructive to my ego, and not constructive in any way.  Apparently this girl did not attend leadership courses like I did in ROTC at good old Virginia Tech.  Hasn't she heard of the "feedback sandwich"?  Positive critique, followed by negative critique with suggestions for improvement, wrapped up with positive critique.  You can give constructive criticism without making someone feel like a piece of crap... which is what she made me feel like.

But I only felt that way for a little while.  Then I decided I'm not going to let her get to me.  I know how hard I worked.  I know the good things I did.  I don't need her recognition to know that.  I'll be honest, I'm still a little frustrated by the whole thing - but I'll get over it.  I'll put a smile on my face and keep trying my hardest.  Only 2 more months of intern year, and then I'm no longer at the bottom of the totem pole.  Yay!!

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