AUBURN, AL – It was the final day of his medicine rotation, and third-year medical student Scott Hannigan sat down with his attending Rachel Wilkins for feedback. She liked his bedside manner, clinical knowledge, professionalism, and contributions to the team. But one thing bothered her. “You really need to strengthen your WiFi signal,” she said. “Exam skills, knowledge; those come with time. Work on your WiFi.”
Hannigan didn’t how to respond. Wilkins continued: “Medicine is always advancing. Technology is always advancing. Now more so than ever, we need to have information right at our fingertips. What do I have at my fingertips? Eager medical students. But more so than that, I need eager medical students who are reliable WiFi hotspots.”
According to Wilkins, the transition to electronic health records (EHRs) has led to greater usage of computers by health care personnel and, naturally, fewer free computers. Her cellular signal is weak within hospital grounds. And IT is no help. Though the new updated crash cast guidelines will ensure strong WiFi signals during codes, that still leaves the issue of WiFi when codes aren’t being run.
“I’m not going to fail you for this rotation,” Wilkins warned. She starts waving her smart phone in front of him, noting how her signal reads as not WiFi, not 4G, but the dreaded E. “But imagine if I always had a strong signal during rounds. Imagine how great your evaluation could be…”
As he always does, Hannigan took the constructive criticism well and is already looking to implement the feedback. He is researching mobile hotspots online. “I already have all this crap in my pockets anyway,” Hannigan replies, pointing at his smartphone, iPad mini, pager, penlight, Snellen eye chart, otoscope, ophthalmoscope, a stack of index cards, Pocket Medicine, 10 recently-printed articles from NEJM and UpToDate, and graham crackers. “Next rotation, I’m gonna give the bestest WiFi signal ever, just you wait! And I won’t even require a password!”