Monday, February 12, 2007

crash and burn

as some of you will know i instituted an m and m meeting and it's going very badly. interestingly enough the reason it's going badly has to do with the nature of a surgeon and touches on a discussion held on in short it had to do with the mentality that i endured it so you should also be subject to the same treatment.
my idea with the m and m was not at all about grinding the juniors into the dirt. it was about all learning in a relatively safe environment. however, one of the surgeons in the department (there are presently 3 of us) who studied at the same institution as me feels the need to really put pressure on the juniors and basically make them feel stupid in front of everyone. i understand this (i don't agree with it, but i do understand it) because that is how we were trained. it's the example he was given and he hasn't mannaged to break free from the mould. the problem is it has become a sensitive issue. the fact that my colleague does this attests to the fact that he is not secure in who and what he is. he feels the needs to throw his weight around to feel he is in control. therefore to confront him right out may be seen as me also viewing him as inferior and only elliciting more of the same behaviour. the vicious cycle story.
the next point and the point which touches on the whole arguement on surgeonsblog (the above link) has to do with the training of a surgeon. whether or not one's opinion is that the training needs to be as brutal as ours was (and i do believe it was intensely brutal) in our setting that is irrelevant. we are not training surgeons. we're merely trying to provide a service. the doctors working in our department are not there because they want to specialise in surgery. they are just doing their community service or house doc year or simply biding time. my feeling is my colleague can't expect them to endure what we did. it also speaks about a lack of respect. i believe respect is a two way street and you are only respected as much as you are shown to respect others. his actions therefore have the opposite effect of what he wants.
i've felt for a long time that one of my attributes is that i can impart a love of what i do to those that work with me, but when one of my colleagues is causing the juniors to have all the stereotypical views of surgeons and therefore surgery, it becomes that much more difficult to do.
so what to do??? i've already subtly saved some of the medical officers from a relentless and unnecessarily harsh public gruelling, but if i constantly do that my colleague may feel that i'm undermining his authority and thereby actually become more ruthless with the juniors to drive the point home that he's to be respected (yes vicious cycle again). so i've decided to speak to him and basically try to imprint upon him that we're not training surgeons so we can't expect them to take the abuse we did. hopefully he'll assume i'm backing him in his authority, yet just gently telling him to tone down. i'm sure there are a whole bunch of readers who will feel that i need to take him to task and tell him that it's unacceptable etc.etc.etc. but then i'll also be slipping into the old autocratic ways and surely can't be taken seriously when that's exactly what i'm telling him not to do.
anyway, it is a fairly intricate problem and should be quite challangeing to suitably address.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...
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