I love giving tips and so I thought my final blog post as a graduated med student blogger could be a set of tips for your first day of intern year. Keep in mind that I’ve only completed a few days of my intern year so far, so take these tips with a grain of salt!
- Show up early.
You might get lost and you might have trouble accessing different parts of the hospital, so plan for those detours and build in enough time to arrive at your destination without getting too stressed or sweaty!
- Pack snacks!
This is true for medical school rotations too. If you don’t know when you’ll be able to get a decent meal, make sure you have snacks handy to tide you over. Keep a granola bar in your white coat and maybe a bit of cash in case your senior resident or attending wants to go get coffee on the way to clinic. Be prepared!
- Ask for help.
Everyone knows that this time of year (June and July) is when new interns arrive. Everyone I’ve met so far has been really understanding and patient with me, even though it must be a pain to have to walk a new group of interns through all the little day-to-day tasks year after year. Ask for help if you need it. It is better to ask a few questions and get things right than plow ahead blindly and cause trouble for the staff or patients.
- Have low expectations for your off hours.
I had hoped that I would be able to do chores and errands and other work at home after my work day ended but so far I am finding that in the few hours I have free each day I mostly need to tend to my own needs. I come home, eat a good dinner, and relax in front of the TV with my husband for an hour or so and then it’s time for bed. There is not much room for other activities when you really should be in bed early. 4:15 AM comes fast!
I know that the fatigue I feel now is probably nothing compared to what I will experience but already I see that getting a good night’s sleep is so valuable. When you’re at the hospital and clinic for twelve to fourteen hours a day, you need all your wits about you to get through it. Sleep makes that possible.
- Plan for the future.
When you do have time off in your future, make plans to enjoy the time in some way. Having cool plans to look forward to makes the week go by faster and gives you stories to tell your co-interns and residents when you return to work. And plan for your future as an attending! It feels really far away but it’s exciting to imagine that in less time than it took to get through medical school I’ll be out in the world, practicing medicine in whatever way I decide is most fulfilling to me. Three days into intern year…1,092 to go!
It’s been a wonderful experience to blog with Merck Manuals and share my stories over these past few years! Thank you for reading!