The SHELF wasn’t too bad. I suppose it’s a sign of increasing lunacy that I almost enjoyed the test, since more than half the questions involved pregnancies. For a change, the questions seemed to bear some resemblance to what I had studied (Pre-Test, mostly), unlike the other Shelfs this year.

Afterwards I spent two hours going through the gyn/onc log book, typing up the names and reference numbers of patients with endometrial cancer for this research project. The chief walked in, asked what I was doing, and said, “[The attending] has been looking for someone to do that project for years.” This sounded ominous, but he insisted that it’s a good idea, just a lot of work – and to be sure to search the literature carefully before going too far, to make sure someone else hasn’t already published a brilliant article on the subject. So that’s one more for my list of things to do over break.

I just spent the last few hours on FREIDA, the amazing website which lists every residency program in the US, all kinds of trivia about them (how many residents per year; salaries; call schedules), and their websites and contact info. I took the list that I was recommended, and started to print off some basic information about each one. Is it a bad idea that I like the ones in California best so far? I am trying very hard to be impressed by the ones in a better geographic location, but . . .  Some of them put very little information: “Hello; we are passionate about patient care. We have a good education. The end.” Maybe they’re just not tech-comfortable yet; but I’m much more impressed by the ones which put descriptions of all their rotations up. Although I’m a little bewildered by statements like, “On the obstetrics service, residents are exposed to and intimately involved in procedures such as deliveries, c-sections, amniocentesis, etc.” Exposed to? Thanks, I’ve been exposed all I want, I would like to do it now. If I find a site which honestly downright promises that their residents do the procedures, I will put it at the top of my list. (Or are they writing like this for legal purposes, or for the sake of patients who read the sites, to maintain the fiction that the attendings are doing everything?)

Then there was the one which explained, “Two days per week on this rotation will be spent in a family planning clinic, where the attending staff perform elective early pregnancy terminations.” (Can I get an Orwellian dictionary over here, anyone?) “Residents are not required to perform terminations, but they are required to learn the technique through observation and participation.” [emphasis added] Just the thought of trying to stand in the same room with such an activity makes me feeling like jumping up and down, yelling, and shaking someone. I do not think they would be at all happy to have me around. I don’t know what aspect of the word “wrong” they don’t understand. Is watching a crime somehow better than performing it? I suppose I could go to such a program, and make a commotion. But that would be very uncomfortable, and probably not very productive. I would not enjoy spending four years being taught by people whom I knew had committed abortions, or knowing that the other residents were doing them. At my school right now, I know that the local mores and the hospital rules are such that if any of the attendings did abortions, it was another time and place. Actually, I wouldn’t put it my past my advisor (the one who gave me this list) to have done it; but as long as I don’t know and don’t ask, it doesn’t bother me right now. Conclusion: any program which makes such a point of it as to mention abortion on their website is not going to be on my list.

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