When I was in my third year of medical school, the first rotation I did was internal medicine. Somehow, I ended up rotating with a cardiology attending for the first few weeks of the rotation.
She was extremely interesting, to say the least. She was tall, I would say about 6ft 3inches. Also, she wore these heels that not only exemplified her height, but warned everyone that she was approaching.
She took heavy, wide-based steps. Even the other senior doctors looked and acted different when they heard those steps coming. She exuded this aura of confidence. Not only that, she was also brilliant. A member of several boards, both medical and business boards. She was also renowned in the field of cardiology.
So here I was on my first rotation with her as my teacher. She asked me to examine a patient and then come tell her the results.
I did the examination and went to find her. Her first question was, ‘Does the patient have hair on their chest?’ I figured I would guess the answer and I said no.
She walked back with me to the patient’s bedside, bringing along the rest of the medical team with her. She then got the patient to lift their shirt and they had the hairiest chest ever.
She turned to me and started laughing, loudly. Then she said something that I have never forgotten to this day…….DON’T ever lie. It doesn’t matter if you get shouted at for not doing something or for forgetting to examine a patient. Once you lie to your team, you become untrustworthy, and, you become the weak link within the team. Don’t ever lie.
After that, I never gave a false answer even if it meant staying back for a couple hours to do something I should have done hours ago……..Even if it meant I was going to get shouted at by several seniors.
It means I can watch someone in the face and say either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and they can trust me.
When working on a team, any team, medical or otherwise, trust is intrinsic to its foundation and proper development.
DON’T EVER LIE……