Tuesday, July 01, 2008

july 1

what's the significance of this day? in some worlds it might be a new tax year, for others a transition to the back half of the calendar but for me it's ... new interns! (in case you didn't know, interns are first-year residents, vis-a-vis "internists" who are internal medicine doctors finished with residency.)

yes folks, that's right, in hospitals all across this great big land of ours, bright-eyed (and i do mean "deer in headlights" bright-eyed) interns are setting foot on the wards really taking care of patients likely for the first time in this country. many of these physicians are newly minted and were 4th year med students just days ago and they probably haven't had any meaningful clinical contact for months. in my case, i think march or april was my last real rotation. after that it was all golf and lounging around, getting affairs in order to graduate and move back to atlanta to start residency. no wonder some people want to get rid of 4th year med school.

increasingly these days, more interns are from abroad ("img's," international med grads). some of them are recently out of school but many have actually been practicing medicine for years. well, if that's the case, why would they go through the torture of starting all over again here? pardon my sense of pride but the fact is, this is still the most well-trained and respected medical establishment in the world. that's why. granted, our healthcare system itself is in shambles and that's not to discount the many excellent physicians and systems abroad but overall in medicine, we're still tops. hopefully that will make you feel a little better when you're getting poked and prodded by new interns.

don't worry though, these interns aren't completely running wild on their own. there are always upper-level residents in the hospital and an attending available, usually at least by phone if not in-house. still though, it's always a nervous time for new interns and it should be for patients as well! remember, if you have any control, get sick in june when the teams are as polished as they can be but plan on getting out by july 1. ha ha, just kidding. not really.

anyway, to all the new interns out there, good luck! and remember the motto of july 1--"try to keep 'em alive at least until the morning!"

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