Can a Pharmacy Student Criticize a Resident | Karine Wong, Pharm.D. | RxEconsult

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Can a Pharmacy Student Criticize a Resident Category: Dear Pharmacy Doctor by - November 26, 2012 | Views: 7421 | Likes: 0 | Comment: 2  

Dear Pharmacy Doctor:

I am a pharmacy student, working on my hospital rotation. My preceptor is also responsible for two pharmacy residents. We spend a lot of time together on the floors and in the library. There really was no problem until one of the residents presented her weekly case study.&n

She failed to do a thorough work-up and made claims that the patient’s diabetes was well-controlled, when the sugars were in the 200’s during the entire length of stay. I remembered because I raised the question. The preceptor made a remark about how poor the resident’s skills were in comparison to mine. When we adjourned the meeting, the resident glared at me. She left crying and I heard her tell others that I was jealous of her and trying to “get her residency spot”. Did I do something wrong to deserve that?

Dear Naive Student:

Yes, you did. Welcome to the Real World of Work-place Politics! Don’t fret; no professional school has yet to offer this as a course. What you experienced was simply a violation of work-place politics: you ‘tattled’ on your colleague. You should restrain yourself from ‘raising the question’, unless the oversight was criminal or unethical. It is not your responsibility to ensure that the resident learned about the patient’s diabetes; it is the preceptor’s.

Her response was typical of a child; lashing out at you, crying, and making presumptuous statements about your intent. Accepting criticism appropriately is how we learn, grow and mature. Since she did not, I imagine that she will endure many more years of such criticism in her career.

Perhaps the lesson to be learned here is do not ‘tattle’- or point out people’s faults in front of others. As doctors, our egos can be large and often delicate. However, we can often handle criticism if presented properly (usually privately).

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About the Author and Column

Dear Pharmacy Doctor is a column that provides advice on pharmacist related work/life challenges. Dr. Karine Wong has a 10 year history of working in hospital management and 2 years as a hospital pharmacist and outpatient pharmacist. She recently published a children's book called Don't Sit On Her. You can submit questions to

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