First day on the neonatal unit. Walked into the ward, unsure of where the paediatrician would be found at 8:06am. Approached two nurses at the reception desk, preparing for the day and decided they looked nice enough to help me.
Looking at nurse 1, I said “I’m the 5th year medical student, I’m looking for -”
I never finished my sentence. Nurse number 2 jumped in “You can’t be a 5th year medical student!! Look at her! You don’t look old enough! When did you start med school? When you were one of these? (motions to babies). We want doctors for babies not Baby doctors!! (laughs loudly)”
I’m small. I get it. I’m more or less average height for my age. I have friends who are shorter than me, but I frequently get mistaken for a school student and asked if I’m on holidays. I can still get away with a child ticket at the movies and I need a standing stool in operation theatre if I have any hope of seeing any part of the patient being operated on. I’m aware of this. But I didn’t think it was that obvious. And especially “ha-ha” obvious.
It has its perks. But honestly, I wish I could just look my age. Especially in hospital. I’m worried that my patients are not going to take me seriously if I still look like a school kid. Would they believe that I’m their doctor?
Which is alright in paediatrics I suppose. Because surely I’m bigger than my patients. Although their parents probably won’t. Eugh.
I guess it also has to do with how you carry yourself. I know people, who are not very big or tall. But when they walk into a room, people say “Now that’s a doctor” and all they have to do is say “hello”. Clearly, this is something I lack. I think I kind of prance into a room rather than walk in with authority. Oh well. Hopefully it’s something I will develop. But I’d much rather just look my age than learn to walk as though I’m much older.
‘Baby doctors’ out there can relate.