They say that silence is golden, but when it comes to the crickets that can be heard when a student is asked a question during rounds that he or she cannot answer, this cannot be further from the truth. The problem is not so much that we students do not have all of the answers (that would be impossible anyway) but rather that we repeatedly get grilled in front of our rotation mates and the clinicians judging us. I have learned that being able to produce a response to a question that seemingly comes straight out of left field is preferable to not saying anything. It can be a stifling process. And when rounds occur twice a day five days a week, there are plenty of times during which we can be made to look like fools.
At this stage in our education, we are fools. We have not seen nearly enough cases to qualify as being seasoned vets who can spot an Addisonian dog as it walks into the clinic. Our institutional memory only goes back so far. However, as we accumulate more cases and see more crazy cases that stand out in our memory, the questioning that we receive during rounds will no longer appear as harsh. The questions are not meant to make us feel bad but help us pinpoint the areas of medicine that need improvement. At the end of the day, everyone in the hospital is trying to help us learn, and for that, I am very thankful.