✚ Make waffles for your residents

Nobody likes to work on the weekends. However, people obviously get sick and need to be taken care of on most other peoples’ days off. In academic medical centers, attendings (the physicians in charge) try to make weekends a little bit more palatable for residents and medical students by not asking too many educational questions (i.e.—“pimping”) and running a relaxed schedule.

Let me suggest an even better solution: make waffles

This has many benefits:

  1. Everybody loves waffles
  2. They are easy to make (use a dry ready-to-make mix) and can be accomplished with little equipment and effort
  3. You can get really creative with some simple toppings
  4. Waffles fulfill a basic and persistent need among residents and med students (i.e.—food)
  5. It is a fun, team-building exercise

This last point is actually the real reason why I think you should make waffles in one of the resident rooms after morning rounds. Bring multiple teams together in the house staff area and delegate tasks (usually to the med students because…well…because why not). A few can mix up the batter, others can slice up toppings while someone runs the waffle iron and another makes coffee. While all of this is going on, people are talking, making jokes, enjoying each other’s company, and may be doing informal education in the form of discussing difficult cases they had over the past week or talking about something they just can’t figure out.

Bottom line—making waffles gets people out of their silos. All of medicine hinges on communication. Anything we can do to improve communication—by meeting the other residents and students on other teams/services—will improve health care. So, next weekend try making some waffles.