So, if you read Part One and Part Two of my First Month of Intern Year, then you’ll know I started on Psychiatry Emergency Services—12-hr shifts Monday through Friday that usually always ended past 8 because there’s just so much to do. My upper-level resident was with me for the first two weeks, and then I was supposed to spread my own wings and fly. It made me nervous. He said this was the busiest he had ever seen this service; so how was I going to do this alone?
Well, before doing that, I should share a not so great experience. Disagreements happen. I am a consult service and share my recommendations based on if someone is acutely psychotic and blah blah blah, but the point is that sometimes, you will disagree with ED physicians. That happened to me. It was hard. I became hyperaware of everything I said. I began doubting myself. I started telling myself I didn’t know anything because I believed what the person in front of me said simply because they had more experience. It felt like I was in a dog eat dog world. Legalities came into the picture. It felt like a political playground, and I was the target because I’m an intern.
But for some reason, I held my ground. I knew in my heart, I want to be a good doctor. That’s what matters most to me. I was going to trust my instincts. My attending physician had my back. Turns out, I was right about the patient and most likely saved this patient’s life from a medical standpoint over a psychiatric standpoint. The lesson I learned there is to be confident in yourself. Don’t discount yourself even if you’re “just an intern.”
I also learned not to take things personally. I still struggle with that because I’m a very sensitive creature. However, I remind myself that everyone is tired including me. We are all stretched due to the pandemic. Not everyone is going to react in the way you want them to. And that is just a part of life. It won’t stop me from learning and being a good physician to my patients.
There are so many more stories I’ve got—so many interesting patients and situations. When I was on my own, I had some good days and bad days. The things I held onto though was that I was doing my best as a person, as a physician, and that’s what matters. Another thing I held onto was all the incredible people I got to work with. There were a few bad apples, but I also got to work with a lot of great people—upper-level ED residents who were surprised to find out I was an intern because they found me to be a strong resident. I received compliments from my own upper-level Psychiatry residents and even attending physicians! That made my whole month! That’s what I held onto! And most importantly, I had patients who shared with me I was an incredible doctor and showed that I really cared for them and was looking to help. In summary, what a month!