Medical school leaves you on a high. You’re awesome. You have a new degree and title. People have spent the last few months telling you how awesome you are and congratulating you for basically showing up to life. It’s 100% magical.
So, you step into intern year eager, excited, yet oh so unprepared for the tidal wave that’s about to hit you. So, in the span of approximately 24 hours (ie day 1), you go from this:
The first day for me was somewhat of a shock. I felt like I went through a hurricane by the day’s end. As a med student, you get a grasp on the fund of knowledge you need and get good at history taking and writing notes. If you can do that as a med student, you’re golden.
So, it’s a bit of a shell shock when you have to write the notes before the team rounds, take out Foleys, make sure consents and H&Ps are up to date, answer pages, write notes while answering pages, field all of the pages that inevitably come in at 4 pm, understand all the scribble that you have written down on your route sheet, figure out how to order a prescription (“wait, I can write that? the motrin?” “yes, you can”), understand the turf wars that go on between the ER/different admitting services, figure out admission and discharge paperwork, figure out operative paperwork, figure out how to dictate, learn how to suture nicely, learn how to handle all of the laparoscopy stuff, and, last but certainly not least, figure out how to drape the patient in the OR while maintaing sterility.
The first few days of residency have made it evident to me how much I do not know. Even simple things (ie draping patients in the OR) must be learned. There is a specific way to do most anything in medicine, particularly a surgical specialty and especially when you’re a beginner.
As an intern, you feel a bit inept and needy, always needing to ask seniors for help. The confidence of 4th year quickly fades as you realize just how much you do not know (and how much everyone around you does).
The beautiful thing of being an intern (amongst a litany of not so great things) is that you always have back-up. I have wonderful senior residents who put up with having to physically put my hands in the correct places to do certain sutures, yet who celebrate each milestone that comes with being an intern. As much as I’ve had to take instruction or criticism and ask for help, I’ve had as many “yay, you did your first hysteroscopy!” and “yay! you made it through your first week!” come my way, too.
Intern year is going to be hard. The learning curve is steep. The hours are tough and sometimes the criticism tougher.
I’m holding on and ready for the ride.
TELL ME: HOW DID YOU FEEL ON THE FIRST FEW DAYS OF YOUR FIRST JOB?
Until next time…
(If you’re wondering, yes, I’ve still had time to run and exercise…and even gotten my co-interns to join me!)