Monday, February 22, 2010

The Manning Ten Commandments of Clinical Etiquette: SG Alpha Edition (a.k.a. "The Realness.")

My Class of 2011 Small Group
(Original Keepers and Ambassadors of "The Real-ness")

"And if ya' don't know, now ya' know. . . ."
~ The Notorious B.I.G.


A big part of my job as a clinician educator involves teaching. . . . . but a teeny-tiny portion of my job description includes dropping what my grandmama and the Grady elders call "mother-wit" on my learners. (I know it's in my job description somewhere. . . . ) Anyways, "mother-wit" can't be found in textbooks or journals, and can't even be located on a Google or Wikipedia search engine. Essentially, it involves somebody sitting you down, looking you square in the eye ball, and straight up schooling you on what my advisee Tony C-Q calls "the real-ness."

In addition to being blogworthy in their own rights, all seven of my junior medical student advisees (pictured above) are finishing up their final third year clerkships this week; making this a perfect time to revisit this particular piece of random "real-ness" shared with them at the start of their clerkships last year. . . . . .



Winter 2009


Word on the street is that the seven of you are officially done with the basic sciences. This means that you are officially official. Well, kinda sorta but not really-but let's go with it anyway. Now you can get those crispy, untouched white coats nice and soiled so that you can blend in with the rest of us! Now you can laugh knowingly when folks talk about their war stories on the wards, or you can look at your pager with that exasperated look of someone being paged by nursing for what you believe to be no reason! Yes, my friends, now that you are entering the realm of the "sho-nuff" and "bonified," I would be remiss if I did not provide you with the very top secret, rarely released, extremely limited edition Manning Ten Commandments of Clinical Etiquette. I assure you, they will get you to the promised land (and will keep you out of the Dean's and the Clerkship Director's offices.)


1. Thou shalt not show up in public places wearing scrubs as if it is cool. (It is not. So not.)

2. Thou shalt not text during rounds. No matter how cool or new the phone is. No matter how many new apps you have.

3. Thou shalt not have any ringtones by Li'l Wayne, Li'l Jon, Li'l Mama, Li'l Kim or anyone else Li'l on your phone in the presence of your attending. Soulja Boy, also a no-no.

4. Thou shalt not drop the "F-bomb" at any time for any reason in the presence of your attending or senior resident. No matter how cool they seem. (Ask a teenager or med student what the "F-bomb" is. Oh, or google it.)

5. Thou shalt not show your mid-drift in the hospital. Ever. No matter how many rips, cuts, six-packs, eight packs, or piercings you have. In fact, I should die never knowing for certain whether or not you even have a belly button. 

Oh--and especially if you have a muffin top, by all means spare us. Worst. Sight. Ever. (Muffin top: see photo on right.)
6. Thou shalt not call your attending by his or her first name. Even if they say it is okay. Trust me on this one. There are still people that I don't call by their first names and I graduated from medical school in 1996. (Also a good idea to avoid calling them the following: "shawty," "playa," or "boo.")
7. Thou shalt purchase bleach and a good iron and use it. This is not a joke.

8. Thou shalt not show up at work with a five, six or seven o'clock shadow. 
Definitely if you are a man and especially if you're a woman.

9. Thou shalt not use ink pens or get highlights in your hair in any of the following colors: Pink, Purple, Green, Orange or Baby blue. Also avoid dotting "i's" with hearts or smiley faces or using text-talk on charts. (i.e. "OMG pt pushed back on O.R. schedule. WTF!")

10. Thou shalt not reveal your cleavage, thigh, thong or decolletage to anyone in the hospital at any time while at work. Chest hair sightings are equally troubling. (Especially shaved chest hair, which completely perplexes, disturbs and distracts me. Eeew.)

Bonus commandment (extremely important, and also ACGME and LCME accepted):

"boo'd up" (n?): The state of being romantically involved with someone to the point of referring to them as your "boo." 

 *Thou shalt never, ever find yourself "boo'd up" or even "quasi-boo'd up" with anyone on your team during the time that you are actually working together as a team. All "boo'd up" status must be declared after the month is over or, if such status precedes the month, avoided altogether.

"And if ya' don't know, now ya' know. . . . . ."


 Yes, my friends,the real-ness often escapes neophyte doctors--and then they look up and it's too late to save face. I hope this prevents somebody from being the recipient of the hairiest of eyeballs in the hospital. . . .and beyond.

I use my powers for good, not evil so please, share this with those who need it, (even if they don't realize it!)


  1. Many of these are excellent tips in all aspects of life!!!

  2. I still have the text-page that you sent to us on our first week of clinical rotations. Can't believe a year's already gone by...


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