Maybe it’s just different med school cultures, but he mostly starts out each one essentially saying the med student doesn’t matter, and isn’t really important to the team. If you don’t feel like you’re a valued member of the team, prove to your attendings that you are. Ask questions, take an active role, challenge yourself, ask for more responsibility, and most of the time, you will be rewarded. I was treated like an intern during my Medicine, Peds, Psych, and ER months. I had my own patients, and my attendings and residents pretty much let me manage my patients myself (with their oversight, of course). I wrote the H&Ps, daily notes, and discharge summaries. On my inpatient Peds month when I was on call, it was just me and the attending in-house! We managed the entire floor and PICU together ourselves. Did I do anything the attending couldn’t have done him or herself? Of course not. But I wrote orders, responded to questions from nurses, and got called throughout the night for admissions and procedures (again, with attending oversight). The medical student knows the patient better than anyone else on the team, and often I was able to provide medical history or dispo information that no one else on the team knew. Are you saving peoples’ lives? Often, no, but you’re learning how to, and if you don’t feel like you’re contributing to the team, you’re missing the experience.
Note: if month after month you’re having plenty of “slacking potential,” complain. Maybe it’s just me or my teams, but more often than not I was busy almost all the time–if not with patient care activities, note-writing, order-writing, etc, then with didactics or classes. Call me goodie two-shoes, that’s fine, but I’ve always preferred to work my butt off during clerkships and really try to learn a lot now than when I’ve got the MD after my name and people expect me to know stuff.
So an overall thank you to my programs and attendings and teams–I’d hate to be the exception! Make yourself matter, you’re paying for it dearly!