Advice for Incoming Medical Interns


AdviceBarBeing one week away from completing my internship year is one of the most exciting feelings. A lot has changed in the last 5 years to make internship more bearable. While it is a challenging year no matter what you are specializing in, it is a year that will go faster than you think.


1. Forget the Square Peg: Most internships are designed to give you the basics of managing patients in multiple settings. Due to ACGME restrictions, there unfortunately will not be a lot of choice or room in terms of your schedule but don’t be bogged down by this. Remember that you are on a path to become the type of physician you see yourself as — it’s ok not to like every rotation. Don’t feel like you need to pretend to be excited about everything even when you are not (Med School is over remember…). Life will be far more enjoyable if you are excited about the things that excite you and not pretending to be excited for someone else’s sake. With that said, your program is still depending on you to deliver good care to patients so make sure you get the job done.


2. Sleep and enjoy life: You will hear this numerous times. Don’t feel guilty about taking care of yourself. People who put you down for being interested in more than your work are likely struggling to maintain balance in their own life. Find a role model who has the same values as you do. You will be a better doctor if you follow this advice.


3. Learn efficiency efficiently: You don’t get credit for spending a lot of time on things that you didn’t need to. Find ways to be good and develop skills that won’t keep you in the hospital past work hours. One attending says no one dies of bad documentation, but people do die of bad orders. Spend time with your patients doing active things and being vigilant. Don’t ignore them because you have to get your notes done.


4. Speak up: Attendings aren’t always correct. They are actually wrong a lot as you will be when you are an attending. Speak up. Look things up to back up your throughts. At a minimum a discussion gives you the opportunity to learn and for the team to work together in making a plan.


5. Make friends outside of medicine: This is similar to #2. They will broaden your view of the world and keep you grounded. Go to trivia nights to find out what’s going on in the world if you’re not keeping up with it on your own. There is a much bigger world outside of the hospital and our books. These small things will help you connect to your colleagues and patients alike.


6. Begin developing your own leadership style:  An amazing number of physicians (attendings and residents alike) will tell you the only way to do something is their way. Ignore them. Read on your own different methods and have an arsenal of tools/knowledge to apply. They will have the final say of how the patient should be managed but keep in mind there may be other ways and always question if there are other approaches.


Photo Credit:Advice by Laughlin Elkind, on Flickr


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