why i loved IM

this is a letter i wrote to my internal medicine clerkship director.  you can figure out the jist of the situation from the letter.  it’s hard to convey just how incredible of a clerkship director this man was.

Hi _______,
I was writing to let you know I got my eval today, and to thank you on so many different levels.  I have become very cynical with regards to the way _______ is handling things this year with regards to grading (i.e. the returned influence to test scores and not performance on the floors), especially after receiving my surgery clerkship evaluation.
When I was on surgery, I worked the way I usually do.  I continued studying as much as I could, and my studying become even more efficient than I was on medicine.  I really felt like I would do well on the test.  All this time I continued to work hard on the rotation, and while I knew surgery wasn’t for me, I could always put a positive spin on it, by enjoying the residents and attendings I worked with.  In the end, I again recieved good evaluations from my attendings and residents.  I took the shelf, and I walked out feeling like I could have really honored it.  Unfortunately, I barely missed making the required percent.
I will be honest and say of course I was disappointed, but I am always able to remind myself how unimportant these tests are.  I am able to remind myself that ultimately I am studying this hard because some day, patients will assume I have done that and I want to be worthy of their trust.  However, I was more disappointed by the lack of comments by my clerkship director and the manner in which he made me appear mediocre, which was completely contradictory to everything I had been told on that rotation.  I became jaded knowing that because I didn’t “honor” the shelf, I received a uninspired evaluation.  I didn’t expect glowing remarks, but I was expected something like… “She did well at this, she could improve here.”  Anything, but instead, the comments were, “the student is clearly progressing appropriately.”  He didn’t even use my name.  (This was the evaluation I at first thought came from IM, which is why I mentioned in that previous email my confusion).
My whole point to that story is to tell you how much I appreciate the time you take filling out everyone’s evaluation, even when your site takes the most students year after year.  Additionally, I can’t thank you enough for not just giving me an average recommendation just because I botched the shelf.  I know I didn’t do terrible, but I know I could have done better.  I appreciate that you didn’t make my evaluation a mediocre one when I know student’s report so many other clerkship directors doing such (and I have at least had one say verbatim, she will not honor someone who honors the shelf).  I just feel like this is a poor out look.  Sure it doesn’t mean anything towards the honors grade if the student couldn’t manage on the shelf, but it means a lot when the student gets their review in the mail.
Anyway, I apologize for the absurdly long e-mail, but I have always made a point to let you know this kind of stuff.  And just like the 100 points, the 13 or some weeks were worth the wait.  Even had I had a lesser eval, I would have appreciated all of the effort and time you so clearly put into our evaluations.
Thanks you as always, _______.  I will continue to tell students about _____ IM, and hopefully, the 100 pts will continue to ensure you get a great crop year after year. I’m sure I’ll be making many more trips to the office this year (I have OB at ______).

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