The Truth Hurts: 5 Tips on What NOT to do as an MS3


Prepare yourselves. This is not a post for the weak. Most of the glitz and glam med pages will give tips on what to do to succeed in med school. I know you already know to study hard, stay organized, do your best on the exams and in your clinical rotations. That’s obvious. What is not obvious is what NOT to do; and you’d be surprised how far this will take you with Evaluations. So I’m going to hook y’all up and give you 5 THINGS TO NOT DO AS A 3RD YEAR MED STUDENT. PS: I’ve been wanting to post about the perspective of med students from a resident for a while, and this wasn’t inspired by a particular group of med students, nor one incident. This is my personal opinion after being an overworked resident after 3.5 years.) Ok.... let’s go.

1. DO NOT, under any circumstances, answer a question that is not asked of you personally. Answering a question that is directed towards a resident, whether he or she knows the answer or not, is actually very rude. Residents not only slave all day, but actually have to chart and do other clinical duties after work, so studying is rare. We know you know the answer, and you should (you study all the time). Learn to applaud yourself in your head, and keep striving to get the answers correct.... again, in your head, or out loud if asked of you directly.

2. DO NOT ask to go get food or to sleep, when things are blowing up. Now, I personally am not one of those chiefs that believes in starving and sleep depriving the team for no damn reason, and TBH, most if not all of us residents can do our own work without you (sorry 🤷🏽‍♀️) but asking (or telling us 😑) for a break when ish hits the fan is inappropriate and makes you look privileged. Eat a good breakfast, keep snacks in your pocket, stop at the water fountain often to stay hydrated so you won’t always be hungry.

3. DO NOT sit on the couch or at the table if and when there are residents standing in checkout. The individuals making the clinical decisions need to be at the front and center of checkout. If you do this, it makes you look privileged. Instead, offer your seat to a resident, or choose a seat less comfortable or front and center, but close enough to pay attention.

4. DO NOT correct/challenge your colleagues (or residents for that matter 🤔) in front of other residents or attendings. We like proactive thinking, but there is a way to challenge plans. Ask it in a question form (when we aren’t dying of being busy), and state things like, “oh, I read such and such; what about this patient is making us treat him/her differently?”

5. DO NOT act like a deer in a headlight when you come on service to a rotation and expect s resident to explain everything that you are supposed to be doing on a rotation. We are busy, we don’t have time to stop and tell you what to do and where everything is all the time. Ask your classmates what the expectations were before you come on service (and if you don’t know who they were, FIND OUT). Ask other health care providers where you can get supplies or where other units are if you need help. Please do not be a dependent. Be independent and take initiative. #HowardTaughtMeThisOne 😊 When in doubt, take someone’s H&P or be of help. At the end of the day, most MS3’s are in their mid 20’s and on up, so you should have enough common sense so figure out what to do. Start using it now, you’ll need it for residency and it helps to start figuring things out for yourself now!

There you have it! You’d be surprised on how much these things are valued (sometimes even more than your knowledge), and how it can affect your evals on rotations, so try ‘em out, and share with someone in your class (don’t be a gunner!) Like I said, not for the weak, but for those that want the truth! Lol! Y’all know I’m here for the truth, with expedited shipping 📦. Good luck 🤗 oh and residents, we all remember being a med student, so try and stay patient! 😘

Andrea Alexander5 Comments