For a lot of people, July is the start of summer. The start of pool time, barbecues with friends, but for Medical Interns, it’s time to get to work, and learn as much as humanly possible.
We talked to our Head of Medical content, Dr. Karen Shakelford, and she shared some tips on surviving, excelling in, and dare we say it… enjoying your intern year.
“Your intern year is like summer camp for science nerds. I loved my first rotation, which was trauma surgery, and I don’t think I left the hospital for more than 8 hours at a time for six weeks,” Shakelford said.
- Up-to-Date is a great resource to get you ready to start your rounds.
- Round before your senior resident, this way you’re prepared to answer questions before they’re even asked. It’ll be obvious who does this.
- Be kind and respectful to nurses. Their days are as hard (if not harder) than yours, and they’re invaluable resources for information.
- Don’t make plans. Forget regular hours. Your intern year is what you’re doing this year.
- Be the intern your attendings depend on. This can help get you access to more interesting cases.
- Enjoy rounds – they are better than Jeopardy. Be prepared, speak up.
- Bring eyedrops if you wear contacts, you likely will wear them longer than usual. Maybe worth considering Lasik…
- Make exercise a priority, stopping at the gym on the way home will become a habit. Keep this schedule even after night shifts. It’s a nice way to stay in-touch with the rest of the world, plus it’s healthy.
- Food is not for comfort. Avoid eating when you’re in crisis or stressed out.
- STAY HYDRATED. Drink lots of water.
- Sleep whenever and wherever you can.
- Always ask if you don’t know the answer. It is much worse to pretend you know something and put the patient at risk.
- Acknowledge your mistakes and take responsibility for your patients and your actions.
- Never say you did something if you didn’t. We’re in patient care, it’s not worth someone’s life to protect your self-image.
- Be honest. Interns are there to learn, and it’s okay to acknowledge that.
- Stay current on news and trends, and speak up about it. Attendings may not have seen a study you’ve done research on, and it will show you’re dedicated to your craft.
- Don’t sleep on your knowledge, always be prepping for your next exam so a test doesn’t get in the way for success.
Get ready for the ride of your life. This year will change you– hopefully in all positive ways. Either way, this is a critical year in your career, take it seriously and enjoy it!