We asked a nurse to give us the lowdown…and the highlights…of the people that you meet each day.
She advised us, “These are in no particular order.” So, draw whatever conclusions you wish! Without further ado, THE LIST.
Regardless of their specialty, these are the men and women who stride through the halls in professional dress (or, at the least, business casual). They look well rested and are generally fit and well nourished. After a few years’ experience, you’ll be able to differentiate psychiatry attendings (comfortable shoes, dangly necklaces) from orthopedic attendings (cowboy boots, bags of Cheetos in their pockets) from internal medicine attendings (silk ties, expensive heels). Please note that in teaching hospitals, these are the people with either no white coats at all or very long white coats, usually with frog closures rather than buttons.
These are the men and women who shamble through the halls, one step up from zombification. They look exhausted (and generally are) and as though they’ve been wearing the same scrubs for several days (and generally have been). After a few years’ experience, you’ll be able to differentiate neurosurgery residents (they get the in-jokes about Starfleet Academy) from urology residents (who have the grossest stories) and dermatology residents (the only rested ones in the bunch). Please note that in teaching hospitals, these are the people with mid-length white coats. The length of time each person has spent in residency can be determined by the following formula: The amount of stuff in the lab coat pockets is inversely proportional to the year rank of the person wearing the lab coat.
If she’s freshly scrubbed, extremely polite, not yet cynical, eager to see patients and thorough with her exams, she’s a medical student. Some still wear the so-called “short coat” (which looks like a white twill blazer), while others go undercover in business-casual wear. If a medical student is coatless, you can tell him from a physician by his age alone.