7 Ways to Survive a Pimpin’

The term “pimping” was first used in 1628 by a London doctor named Harvey. “They know nothing of Natural Philosophy, these pinheads,” he wrote. “Drunkards, sloths, their bellies filled with Mead and Ale. O, that I might see them pimped!” Though certain aspects of this particularly caustic statement may in fact  hold true to this day, the term may not stir many fond memories among those in the medical community. Pimping occurs when an attending asks a series of extremely difficult questions, in rapid-fire succession, to an intern or medical student. It is an age-old tradition, perhaps as old as medicine itself, yet the experience still overwhelms even the most courageous of interns.

Here are 7 tips to make a pimping a little less painful.

7. Practice The pressure of answering extremely difficult medical questions in front of peers (and oftentimes patients) will get to anyone. The key to dealing with this is practice. So grab a book and a friend, flip to that section of your case, and have them drill you like there’s no tomorrow.

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6. The Bathroom Refresher Excuse yourself from surgery, blaming that troublesome overactive bladder of yours. Bring your book or phone. Cram. Sidle back in armed to the teeth with answers.

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5. If you don’t know the answer, don’t try and make it up. Offer to look it up and discuss it the next time you have rounds. Show that you mean business, and that you’re willing to step up and knock their socks off the next day.

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4. Percents When presented with a percent question (i.e., what percent of patients who have diabetes also have hypertension?), the “80/20 Rule” has been shown to be highly effective. Nothing in medicine can ever be pegged to happen 100% or 0% of the time. Every situation has its exceptions in the medical world. For something to happen 50% of the time is almost equally as rare. Your best shot is to go with 80 if the answer to the question seems likely; 20% if it seems improbable. Try it: you may be ecstatic to see how often it works.

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3. Have a 2nd Answer Ready The questions are gonna come at you at light speed, but don’t just have one answer lined up. In the heat of a good pimping, attendings will dive right into the most obscure realms of medical knowledge. Broad questions, technical points from the attending’s own lab research, and eponymous references are never out of the question.

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2. Study Sure, you might remember what base sequence the restriction endonuclease EcoR1 recognizes, but dealing with patients is a whole new ball game. Read up on your patient before and after rounds. You’re most likely going to round on your patient for more than a day, so use a source like UpToDate.

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1. Be Confident Whether you know the answer or not, it’s important to show composure. As much as attendings want to see how much you know about medicine, they really want to test your ability to deal with difficult situations.

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All gifs from: http://giphy.com/

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Ieroo Park

Ieroo is an editor for The Almost Doctor's Channel. He graduated from Boston College with a degree in English, and is looking forward to becoming an "Almost Doc". In his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball, tennis, and taking selfies with Dr. Ruth.