Monday, November 14, 2005

From the trenches of internship


I am doing a Med-Peds residency at the Marshfield Clinic & St. Joseph's Hospital in WI. This was my first weekend off in 6 weeks. I actually got both Sat and Sun off -- didn't have to go to the hospital, didn't have to answer pages. Unbelievable!

I just wanted to say that residency is great but can tax you physically. I had to make a poster presentation at the American Society of Human Genetics last month. I was up all night preparing the poster. The next night, I was up all night on call. The following day, I was post-call and snoring loudly in the plane from Marshfield to Salt Lake City. I presented my paper the following day. The next morning, I was on the plane back and on call the following night.

Having said all this, I would not trade it for the world. I am living a dream. I am learning and doing a great deal and loving every minute of it. There are poignant experiences that burn into one's memory: like doing chest compressions on an 8 month old female infant who did not survive the code. I had been up all night and the child was flown in by copter in the morning, pulseless and not breathing. I don't think I shall forget that experience.

To all you medical students out there, doing USMLEs, attending classes and looking forward with trepidation to residency: hang in there; learn the best you can; make the knowledge yours -- not just short term memory for a test. You will need it! But it's worth it in the end. During residency, no one cares where you went to medical school, what grades you got in path or physio or whatever, or what scores you got in the USMLE. Everyone comes to know what you do and don't know by the way you function on the wards and in the clinic. It's the knowledge that's really yours that shows then.