Doctors’ Lounge Memories

Reading Dr. Arora’s recent post on the disappearance of the doctors’ lounge sent me into a spiral of reminiscence from which I’m only just emerging. I fear this little trip down memory lane has been a major burden on the senior resident rotating with me this month on Rheumatology, as the phrase, “When I was a resident . . . ” has passed my lips much too frequently for my liking! However, Dr. Arora brings up some excellent points. Where HAVE all the doctors’ lounges gone? I haven’t seen one in years. I take that back. I did spend some time in a Chicago area hospital waiting for my friend to finish rounding. The lounge was lovely.  At my current hospital the doctors’ lounge is in a deep corner of the basement and I haven’t actually seen another person there unless the space was used for computer training.

Recalling all the various hospital haunts since starting medical school really did put a smile on my face. There was the medical student lounge, in the hospital where I eventually did my residency, that we shared with the chaplain residents. A few late night discussions certainly were held there! At the Level 1 Trauma Center the call rooms were on the top floor, with the student rooms just steps from the helicopter ramp. If you even got a chance to lie down, you had dreams of a helicopter landing on your head, then were jolted awake as the gurney rattled down the ramp. Our resident lounge did nothing for the waistline, as 2am carb cravings could be easily satisfied with a bounty of packaged snacks. Some Oreos, a chocolate milk, a hot blanket from the unit and a cushy recliner. That was a call night ritual too many times to admit.

Several of the hospitals where I rotated or worked had doctors’ dining rooms in the cafeteria. I agree with Dr. Arora’s impression of this area,

a lot of important business took place in that room that advanced patient care. After all, it was a place where you may run into the Infectious Disease consult resident and beg them for approval for the superdrug that would treat your patient’s superbug. Better yet, the “curbside” where you could feel like you weren’t adding to cardiology fellow’s workday but still get some guidance on whether you were reading and treating the rhythm strip correctly.

I miss these shared areas. Places where colleagues whose regular workdays might not cross paths could sit down together and make connections. These days, opportunities like this are few and far between. However, just this weekend, a quiet Valentine’s Day seeing consults, I had a few quick non-medical chats with some colleagues doing the same. It took a Sunday morning in the hospital to finally sit down and talk to the doc whose office is down the hall from mine. While I am loving this journey into social media and the virtual community, I wonder where the actual community has gone?

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5 responses to “Doctors’ Lounge Memories

  1. Thanks for the post and glad to know that I am not the only one who is feeling this way. Best, Vinny

  2. Perhaps there should be a push to bring all these lounges back!

    • I think maybe time and money are to blame (as for most things in life, too). Now that records are electronic, docs no longer need to go to the medical records department to sign charts so there’s one place they might not meet anymore. Most PCPs don’t go to the hospital at all, so we don’t get to see them in the lounge. And I bet hospitals stopped setting out all the free food and drinks that were one of the best part of the doctors’ lounge. Sounds like it really varies widely from hospital to hospital and city to city.

  3. at the hospital where i work there’s still a lot of dr’s lounges, including one for the residents and a more exclusive one for the senior residents ;). heck, even the volunteers get a lounge! i saw your pear +lentil creation on green grapes, congrats!

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