June 29, 2003
Scut Monkey

Note: I can't speak too much in detail about this year because I know another intern a few years ago got some heat for keeping an online journal of her experiences at this institution.

One thing I can say, and this will be the same for Interns from ages before me, and Interns generations after me, is that it can be an aggravatingly chaotic experience. Part of the learning experience, by nature, is information overload--and then on top of that, someone starts bleeding, or having a chest pain.

Ironically, the 80-hour work week rules make it harder to both learn and do your job. It's very hard to follow-up on something when you must sign out by a certain time. This also means you leave a pile of unfinished work for the next intern--something I truly despise doing.

My "in-house" diet for the last week has been 1 liter of orange juice and perhaps a banana or two; one day a nurse clinician was nice enough to give me her sandwich. My pants are already fitting more loosely. Our workroom is also very hot and I'm chronically dehydrated

The learning curve in internship is vertical, there's no way around that; the human body is such a complexity of fluids, molecules, bone, and electricity that the only way to learn it is hands on. And the responsibility inherent in being a doctor can only be learned by being responsible for patients. Senior medical students get to play at this, but internship is an immersion treatment in responsbility (which also means learning when to defer responsibility up the chain of command).

Posted by erich at June 29, 2003 03:08 PM
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