I just finished my three weeks of inpatient pediatrics on the Heme/General Peds service at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, affectionately called “CHOP.” There’s just something about a children’s hospital…it does something to people. John once remarked that even the assholes he knew peripherally during residency would morph into not only tolerable , but kind and accommodating people while on their peds rotation at Boston Children’s. One of my senior residents, when describing her love of CHOP, commented that the attitude was even written into the HR agreements–all staff understand that it’s their duty, which they feel compelled to uphold, to be as generous to their patients and fellow workers as possible. She sees it in the night janitorial staff, for example, who will often go out of their way if they notice something in a patient’s room that’s at all possibly disconcerting.
As a student, I’ve been blown away by the residents. I can’t imagine how busy and stressed they must be. Yet they are the only residents with whom I’ve worked who I have literally never heard complain or be negative, and they somehow still always find the time to go over presentations with me or provide me with teaching points. They’re not saccharine, they’re just nice. It’s part of the pediatrics culture, and it’s heavily engrained in the CHOP institution. I would love to see how the HR contracts actually read, wondering if they’re anything to the effect of: “Thou shalt not be a pain in the ass, even if you’re on your 30th hour of call, have had children vomit and defecate over you, have had parents scream at you for keeping them waiting two minutes while you were saving someone’s life down the hall…all the while the pesky med student is perpetually asking ‘What can I do? What can I do’ like an annoying chihuahua yapping at your heels.”
This is premature: I think I might want to be a pediatrician.