11 tips medical interns need to hear before they start


When I started my intern year, I was told that I was going to be sleep deprived and it was going to be the worst years of my life.

Yes, there were times I racked up a sleep debt, but it was for patient care.  And because of the camaraderie and relationships I formed (both inside and outside the hospital), I will forever remember residency with a smile.

Rather than the words I heard, here are 11 things my-intern-self would rather hear:

1. There is nothing wrong with a consult.   If a disgruntled consultant gives you a hard time, remember there are plenty of other groups happy to take your consult.

2. All it takes is 5 minutes update with families to keep the lines of communication open.  Problems arise when communication shuts down.

3. You may wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of the admitting pager going off, but only to realize it was a dream/nightmare.   It happens to all of us.

4. Running a good code is empowering.  Learn from good code leaders.

5. The case manager and social worker are your best allies.  They can make the impossible possible.

6. The earlier you learn how to effectively assess volume status, the better off you will be.

7. You will pronounce time of death and then go eat pizza at noon conference.  It’s okay to take a moment of silence to reconcile your actions with yourself.

8. Night float sucks.  But insomnia cookies with your fellow residents at 2 a.m. definitely help.

9. Patients will call you “nurse” and all the other male members of your team “doctor.”  After three years of residency and I still haven’t figured out how to change that.

10. All the hours you put into calling your continuity clinic patients and filling out their TDI/citizenship/VNA/prior auth does not go unnoticed.  When you tell them you’re graduating, they will sincerely tell you that they will miss you.

11. Enjoy the experience!  Times flies during residency; it will be over before you know it.

Canting Guo is an internal medicine resident.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com


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