A Love Letter to the Place and the People that Made Me

Today was the last day of residency. It was dark and rainy when I woke up, to match my mood I suppose. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel. I had been waiting for this day for the last three years – no scratch that – my whole life. I spent the morning in a daze, running from clinic to medical records to the library to check off that I had no unfinished business left. It felt less like unfinished business and more like an erasure of my presence at this hospital. But it wasn’t until after I handed in my badge to my coordinator that something broke inside me. She perused the form and then put her hand out. I gave her the battered badge with the attached ‘Resident Physician’ card and suddenly felt naked. It felt like something momentous should have happened but no, time didn’t slow to a millisecond and I didn’t suddenly have an epiphany. It wasn’t until after many hugs and best wishes and me walking away, did anything change. I reached inside my pocket reflexively only to grasp air – how could I have forgotten? I had just given the badge away. But I kept my hand inside my pocket as I walked out of the hospital for the last time, remembering the hard edges of a wallet-sized piece of plastic that gave me a sense of purpose, the fading print of a card that gave me a sense of identity. The piece of plastic that my life had revolved around was gone. That part of my life was done, and a new chapter was going to begin.

It’s funny how we change as we grow. Fears that you had as a child suddenly evolve into the activities you enjoy the most. Or the qualities you thought were your most likeable growing up become the traits you teach your children not to emulate. In my case, I was the poster child for succeeding in school without lifting a finger. Until college. Grades always came easy to me but when it came time to grow up and start to critically think, things became a lot tougher and I found knowledge didn’t just come to me by osmosis anymore. Applying to medical school had always been competitive and it was even more so in a culture where nothing less than the best was expected. The first time was definitely NOT the charm so I took a year off and earned a Masters. The second go-around wasn’t any better (it’s simple logic: when there are less spots and 100x more people, there is going to be a LOT of disappointment.)

So I decided to bite the bullet and not waste any more time and go to medical school in the dreaded Caribbean. Why dreaded? Not so much these days but when I was in the thick of things, going to a Caribbean medical school was still considered taboo. With hands over their mouths, in whispered tones, every middle-aged gossip with nothing better to do claimed I would either come back with a husband or waste my parents’ money and never become a doctor, or their name wasn’t Pammi Aunty! I decided Pammi Aunty and her cronies were going to eat crow.

With the unwavering support of my family, I worked my tush off. I saw the walls of the library more than I did the beach. I would hear other students discuss weekend plans and believe me, there were so many times I just wanted to get up and follow them out to those sparkling blue waters. But I wanted off that island. I wanted my residency. I wanted to become a doctor. So I worked probably harder than I had thought was possible and before I knew it, found myself awaiting Match results. I had only had 7 interviews and while everyone always said 5-7 interviews should be enough, I knew the truth. Intelligence and dedication meant nothing when it came to where your medical degree was from. Add that worry to the lack of confidence after years of pushing against the grain and I was – there’s really no other word for it – a wreck. I was such a wreck that when the email came saying I had matched, I refreshed it to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. And then I refreshed it again. And again. I refreshed that email every day until I got the next email showing where I matched. And I kept refreshing that email. Because I couldn’t possibly believe that someone decided to take a chance on me. Someone decided I was the right fit for their program, I was who they wanted. Yes, when you graduate medical school, you are technically a physician. But it doesn’t really mean anything unless you are accepted into a residency program because you won’t be able to practice until you’ve completed your training. So the very fact that someone said ‘I want Priyanka to be a part of this residency training program’ meant I got to be a part of that exclusive world I had been waiting to join all my life. It meant that my dreams were coming true.

Home is where the heart is and for the last three years, my home, heart and my dreams have been here at St. V’s. I have so many memories from my time here – mostly good, a few bad – but then it wouldn’t really be residency without a few snafus, right?
I remember having lunch with my co-interns at the Dirty Bird, a local pub downtown. We all had sparkles in our eyes and went around the table, rattling off all the plans we had once we finished residency. Things have changed since then for everyone, for some people small changes and for others, life-altering events. But I like to think that while we’re not where we thought we would be three years ago, we are all where we’re supposed to be.
I remember our welcome picnic and how scared we were to mingle with our seniors, watching them from our periphery and wondering and wishing when we would be like them, nary a care in the world.

I remember my first week on floors, putting in at two dollars in quarters into the vending machine in 4D, the resident lounge, and having it all come back to me but no pop, until a student much smarter than myself told me no money was needed.
I remember learning how to interact with opposing personalities and why that conflict resolution training you’re made to go through in orientation is actually important.
I remember the patience of the nurses and ancillary staff as they seamlessly adjusted to us while we, as newly minted interns, felt everyone should adjust to us. We would not have survived if it weren’t for them and their support has always been appreciated.
I remember my first month of night float where I was terrified to give an extra Percocet to a patient because I would cause respiratory depression and then the patient would code and then well, that would just be a huge mess, now wouldn’t it?
I remember thinking I would have time to study on night float.


Study? Yeah right…

I remember feeling panicked overnight with all the pages and after having received admonishment from the senior, I broke down and cried for the first and last time ever in residency. Any questions I had later that night I ended up asking a senior ED resident because I was too afraid to ask my own senior. From that night on, I resolved, no matter how tired I was or how obvious the question was, I would never make another intern – or any person for that matter – ever feel the way I did.
I remember the faculty and attendings we worked with. I have yet to meet a more dedicated and supportive group of people. From supervising procedures to team dinners to offering to write letters of recommendation, I have been fortunate to fill my world with simply put – good people.
I remember spending time with my ‘intern girls’ and getting to know my colleagues, reminding ourselves that residency did not define us. It was difficult with Epic and Perfect Serve but we made it work.

I remember being selected by National ACP for a poster presentation and seeing firsthand what a national conference was really like. Pro tip: go to the lectures AND have fun – there’s a reason why there’s built-in free time.

I remember going to clinic once a week and realizing I wasn’t just a physician to my patients. I was a resource. I was a helping hand, a soft shoulder, an open mind. When my own life became busy and the dredge of burnout would start, it helped to hear my patients say they didn’t want to see anyone else at the clinic, they only wanted to see me. Never in a million years would I have thought of my patients as a helping hand for me.

I remember being utterly confused at clinic and having to be saved multiple times by the staff. It was their world and we just lived in it. (Thank God for them!)
I remember graduating from an intern to a resident and walking across the stage to get my diploma, expecting to feel different now that I had the coveted title of ‘senior’ but noticing any change.

I remember my first call as a senior where I had two interns asking the very questions I had asked someone else not even a few days ago. Things suddenly felt VERY different.
I remember my time in the ICU and knowing, somewhere deep in my soul, this was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.


I remember my first code in the ICU. The 35 minutes spent trying to resuscitate the patient that felt like only 5. The phone call to family and then having to face them in person. Holding it together because there were still 15 other patients that needed me to make sure they got better. And crying that morning when I was laying in bed, reliving over and over again what I could have done to bring them back.

I remember the families in the ICU. The daughters who would wait everyday for me to update them about their mother and the meat and cheese platter they brought us in thanks for her recovery. Broken screams of the little sister whose brother was being taken off life support, asking ‘Mommy why won’t he come back?’. The mother whose son had overdosed on heroin for the fourth time asking me what to do. The son who, despite everyone’s recommendations, remained hopeful and watched, along with the rest of us, his father open his eyes for the first time and say he was hungry.

I remember participating in an elective rotation at an outside hospital. While I was given the chance to expand my knowledge at a large academic center, when I returned home, I realized where my happiness lay.

I remember ushering in a new class of interns and as I looked at their uncertain faces, thinking I was just there.

I remember the exact moment I found out I had been pre-matched into a pulmonary/critical care fellowship. In the cafeteria on Halloween, counting down the days until the fellowship match resulted. When my program director said to me on the phone, ‘You might want to sit down’, his voice began to fade away and blood rushed to my ears as I was convinced that this was it – the road ended here. And when he said ‘We would love to have you join our program’, I let out the breath I didn’t even realize I was holding.

I remember, just one week ago, again walking across that stage. But this time, as a physician.

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Home is where the heart is. And I have been home for the last three years. I have given a piece of my heart to this hospital and its people and in return, I have been given so much more. I didn’t just learn how to become a physician at St. V’s; I grew as a person.


I learned compassion.

I witnessed selflessness.

I became confident.


The journey doesn’t end for any of us here.


It has only begun.




The Mistake on the Lake was the best decision I ever made: why melatonin isn’t the answer, how many case of cardiac sarcoid can you see and other rarities I saw across the lake

What up everyone. I know it has been a few weeks since I last posted but things just got so busy with my rotation and coming back home.

But I am back now and I’m back with a post filled with everything and everyone I experienced while at the Cleveland Clinic.

And let me tell you – doing an away rotation was such a positive experience. I already mentioned it in my Insta story a few days ago but I just have to reiterate how rewarding this experience was. Definitely once-in-a-lifetime and something I would encourage all residents to experience if possible.

Ok the deetz that everyone is waiting for.

So while I was at Cleveland, I spent 4 weeks on the pulm consult service. We had a different attending every week and the team was made up of one fellow every 2 weeks and along with me, there was a new intern weekly +/- a senior resident. The service ran just like you would expect – see consults as they come and round generally late mornings/afternoons once most of the new patients were added to the list.

Week 1 highlights:

  • got to work with the head of Bronchology (and did a thoracentesis on my very first day!)
  • saw at least 5 different types of pleural effusions/day (CCF has their very own pleural service – which is awesome!)
  • was asked to help write a chapter on bronchology techniques which I was stoked about

Week 2 highlights:

  • worked with an attending who specializes in ILD
  • his name is Dr. Southern and he is from Alabama – can life be any more perfect??
  • saw 9 different cases of cardiac sarcoid – ok I knew cardiac sarcoid existed but I never in a million years expected to actually see it

Week 3 highlights:

  • worked with one of the leading researchers and authors in sleep medicine (plus she is an associate editor at CHEST and a bunch of other journals – and the fact that she is a female physician who is also a mom is just badass)
  • learned that inpatient PSGs are a thing & actually got somewhat decent at interpreting them
  • apparently there is a separate sleep fellowship at CCF and the fellows are part of the DREAM TEAM. No joke.
  • that drug melatonin that we tend to give to our patients thinking it’ll help them sleep? Don’t bother. Apparently studies have actually shown little to no benefit and it actually just creates more polypharmacy

Week 4 highlights:

  • worked with another attending specializing in ILD
  • he wasn’t Southern but he had the best NY accent I’ve heard in awhile
  • learned how to manage true primary PH
  • saw firsthand what an actual flare of vasculitis looks like (GPA, MPA)
  • diagnosed someone with chronic eosinophilic PNA
  • became better at reading imaging – I think…

Not only did I learn how to manage some really cool medical cases, I met some amazing people. All the interns I worked with were so welcoming and willing to learn. Plus the co-seniors I were with were plain awesome, as were the fellows. It also didn’t hurt that there was an Au Bon Pain on campus 😛

Even though I had a 3 mile walk back and forth from the garage to the hospital, I loved every second of it. It was great to be at another institution and see how medicine was practiced. While some things never change (think frustrated patients, delays in discharge and bad hospital food), I loved how CCF fostered an environment of collaboration and discussion. I have always appreciated that at my home institution and it was great to see such a well-known place also promote these values.

Tomorrow I start my admitting rotation at my home institution. And while I can’t wait to get back to my roots, I will cherish the one month I had at CCF. Here’s to looking at you, Cleveland – hopefully I get to find my way back to you soon!

Ermagerd I’m in Cleveland!!!!

Hi guys! Sorry for the loong leave of absence – obviously I have been having a busy week (see title). I know this post is wayyy overdue and mucho apologies for that, I’ll try to be a little more regular from now on.


Now onto the good stuff. So a few months ago I applied for a pulmonary rotation at the Cleveland Clinic and who would have thought – I got it. Why is this such a huge deal? Because it’s the Cleveland Clinic.

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Yes that was me when I found out I got in hehe.

The Cleveland Clinic is a premier medical and research institution in the US. It is at the forefront of innovation in pretty much every medical field manageable. You get to work alongside inventors and discoverers of treatments that are used in day-to-day medicine. For example, my attending for the past week is the head of Interventional Pulmonology at CCF and has co-authored numerous textbooks and created new techniques involving bronchoscopy in order to better diagnose/treat pulmonary disease. Can I just say- this whole week has been me fangirling- and I still have 3 more weeks left!!

Before I forget, let me mention one other thing. The Cleveland Clinic is HUGE. It is HUMONGOUS, MASSIVE, ENORMOUS. Ya get my point? I looked at the Health app on my iphone the other day and every single day this week I hit 10,000 steps without realizing it. There are even skyways connecting all the buildings because each place literally takes up a whole block and lets’ face it – you’d be drenched before you would make it inside.

It’s not only large but I like to call it a mini-airport. You have the skyways, the mood lighting, there’s a Starbucks and an Au Bon Pain on the main floor and to top it all off, there is a hotel that is connected to the main building on campus (Yes I did try to get a room there but it was too expensive for a poor medical resident like me :p).

So I got placed on pulmonary consults which is what I wanted – a chance to learn some innovative medicine and also meet some of the heads in the subspecialty.  The way the pulm consult rotation works is that you have a second-year fellow and a mix of residents and interns you work with. As a visiting resident, you get to see patients and write notes (CCF has Epic as well thankkkkkkkk god!)

Now let me tell you. I love the hospital that I’m doing my residency at – I truly do. But when you do pulm, I hate to say it, the majority of consults are for COPD exacerbation. Having been at CCF for one week now, I haven’t seen a single COPD exacerbation – instead I got to see 4 cases of cardiac sarcoidosis, 1 case of Churg-Strauss disease and I got to do a thoracentesis on my very first day. Guys, how awesome is that???? Completely nerding out here 😀

Plus if you want to get involved in some research, CCF is the place to do it. Dr. Mehta is on faculty at CCF and he essentially is the leader in pulmonary disease research. Plus you get faculty and fellows from all over the world. In fact, the attending I worked with last week (the head of IP) asked me to help him write a chapter on bronch techniques – guys do you know what this means? Yeah yeah for those of you who have thousands of papers published I know it’s not a big deal but for someone like me who’s still getting her feet wet, this was huge. My name is going to go into print next to a giant in the field I love. What more could you ask for??

I can’t believe I still have 3 more weeks to go – I genuinely wake up each morning excited to get to work and start seeing consults. Why can I do that? Because the people I work with are great and I’m in an environment that fosters learning. Yes it was extremely intimidating at first but once you spend even just an hour there, you realize these are residents just like you – people who are here to learn while doing what they love.

Ok – enough procrastinating from finishing up my fellowship application (deadline is fast approaching eek!). Check out my instagram (@dr_priyaj) for some pics I happened to grab of the campus and we’ll chat again – there’s no end to the interesting cases I’ve been seeing here!

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You tube, I tube, we all tube!

Happy Sunday everyone!!

I hope you all had an exciting weekend – or at least more so than me. Let’s just say I did NOT get my share of vitamin D these last couple of days.

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So while I was inside admitting patients from the ER, I was also doing something else. I was writing my personal statement. THEY ARE THE WORST.

If you guys remember, when I first introduced myself, I mentioned that I was applying to fellowship this year. The masochist that I am, I’ve decided to apply to pulmonary/critical care. Why would I choose pulm/crit? Why would I choose a field with murderous hours and constant pages? Why would I choose a field that requires not just a knowledge of pulmonology or critical care but an understanding of the human body at its core?

Because pulm/crit is the best subspecialty there is and nothing else measures up.

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Ok ok don’t get me wrong, all the specialties are important. Truly they are. I just happen to like pulm/crit the best :p

It took me FOREVER (it is now 1 AM!!!!) but I finally finished the personal statement (PS). I can promise I said more than ‘Pulm/crit is the best subspecialty ever!!!’ I would share the PS with you all but it is still pretty rough and not ready for public consumption. In that case, I thought I would talk a little bit about pulm/crit and what I love about it.


In all reality, pulm/crit gets an unfair rep. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s a general opinion you work long hours without much return (aka the green stuff). Plus it’s damn hard.




There will be soooo many days when you want to do the exact same thing. Run and never look back. And you’ll hear it from a lot of people – that if you want to subspecialize, there are so many other choices with a cushy salary and better lifestyle. But if you love it the way I do, you’ll never be happy doing anything else. Plus I’ve found there’s not as many female pulm/crit docs out there and to that, I say – who run the world?

So, I’ve compiled a list of characteristics that I think define a pulm/crit doc. If you’ve got these/this is what you envision yourself doing, this just might be the field for you. Welcome to the world of CXRs, PFTs and SIRS – wait I mean SOFA. I should have just said welcome to the world of acronyms but then again you knew that when you became an MD/DO :p

Characteristics of a pulm/crit physician:

  1. They like to be busy. Whether it’s on the floors or in the ICU, there’s usually very little downtime.
  2. They like the science behind it all. Whether or not we want to admit, that one pathway out of the hundreds you learned in biochem comes back to bite you in pulm/crit. If you slept through physiology in med school, this may not be the field for you.
  3. They like internal medicine. Some specialties tend to be so organ-specific, they tend to lose focus on what’s happening with the rest of the body. Pulm/crit docs, especially in the ICU, have to have a solid understanding of how the human body as a whole works because, let’s face it – your lungs aren’t sitting in Timbuktu while the rest of your body is in the USA.
  4. They enjoy procedures. I like working with my hands but there’s no way I could stand for one spot in a cold OR wearing those masks for hours at a time. If there’s any surgery residents reading this – how do you keep your mask from fogging up? My face ends up doing acrobatics to get rid of the condensation which invariably leads to the most inopportune itches which leads to me becoming nonsterile which leads to me getting yelled at by the scrub tech and being told to sit outside like a bad student. Not that this actually happened to me but I get PTSD even thinking about my surgery rotation. So, doing central lines/intubations is my consolation prize – one that I’m more than happy to accept.
  5. They don’t ALWAYS enjoy talking to their patients. Let me tell you – it is such a relief not having to do a ROS on any of your ventilated patients in the ICU. You know those patients that have 13 point positive ROS? Yeah none of that in the ICU. Plus you get to be Sherlock Holmes and actually use your skills to diagnose/treat your patient that is on a ventilator, non-responsive and has no family present.
  6. They love controlled chaos. When I started residency, I used to think the ICU was just like the ER and I began to question if critical care was for me. I’m not someone who can handle a billion different people in one room, shouting orders left and right while in the next room another patient is screaming her lungs out for pain medicine and at the same time the overhead is going off, shouting out a code blue. That is what I like to call complete and utter chaos. A lot of people like that environment and they flourish in it, case in point ER residents. What I realized once I did my first ICU rotation, is that while chaos does happen, it’s in a controlled environment. Things move smoother and calmer. There is an innate understanding between you and your nurses – they’re already anticipating orders before you give them. You stabilize one patient and you just move right along to the next patient that’s crashing. Within the chaos, there is a sense of order.
  7. Lastly – while every physician plays an important role, I feel strongly that pulm/crit docs are really there for the patients that can’t help themselves. And that’s why I became a doctor in the first place – I’ve been so privileged to be given what I have, it’s only natural that I give back. And how better to do that than to be one of the first faces your patient sees when that tube comes out or he/she wakes up. One of my favorite phrases to say is ‘You’re too healthy for the ICU’.


Ok guys this is me right now.

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Yep. Just like that. ‘Night everyone and see ya on the flip side!



Anyone out there?

Well, for those of you who may be reading…hi! My name is Priyanka and I’m a soon-to-be third-year internal medicine resident who decided it was about time I take all my thoughts about medicine, pop culture, how to lose weight, life in general, and put it to paper. Oops – put it to a webpage. Sorry I forgot we’re much more advanced now than those Neanderthals.


Good question, guys. There’s lots of reasons:

  1. The things you see and hear in a hospital are too good to be true.
  2. Shared experiences.
  3. To inspire and be inspired.
  4. I gotta study for boards. And what better way to study than to bounce ideas off one another?


Now that we’ve gotten the pesky  intro stuff out of the way: Welcome.

I wanted to take today and welcome not just whoever may be reading this, but those thousands of people who will be elevated from mere medical students to INTERNS on July 1st.

Welcome to the world of residency, my friends.

Welcome to the world of motivation, inspiration and altruism. Where you wake up every day knowing this was what you were meant to do.

And welcome to the world of the hungry, the tired, the poor. And I’m not talking about the patients.

Wait, what? Hold the phones. Did she just say this was a world of hungry, tired and poor people? And if she’s not talking about the patients, then she can only mean us – the brand new interns?! WHAT DID WE GET OURSELVES INTO???


Hold on, everyone. Before a worldwide Code Brown happens, let me explain.

You’ve worked hard all your life. Did well in high school, college, got accepted to medical school. You stayed the extra hour at the hospital or did  100 more questions in Uworld than you needed to but you got the golden ticket. In March, you received an email saying Congratulations you have matched! All your dreams came true and July 1st, you know you’re going to walk into Podunk Hospital as the best damn intern there ever was, ready to save the world with one touch of your Littman stethoscope.


Well, you’re wrong.



This is a photo of my co-residents and I at the annual intern welcome party with our program director. There I am, cheesing hard in the gray on the bottom R (L to you non-medical people – I tell you, doing medicine has screwed up my L and R more than you know).

Each one of us thought we were going to walk into work on July 1st with all the answers, just like the rest of you. I mean, come on, we were DOCTORS now. We ruled the world – no one could stop us. We quickly learned, some sooner than others, this was the farthest thing from the truth.

As medical students, our duties were limited. We were solely there to learn, to observe, to absorb. It was enough to come into the hospital at 7 AM and leave at 4 PM knowing you had seen your 2 patients for the day, written satisfactory notes and presented just well enough so your residents didn’t have to add anything extra and not too well so the residents didn’t start singling you out for extra work. As medical students, your responsibility was to yourself. Let’s be honest – you’re all paying for your education, whether it’s now or years down the road as loan repayments. But if you didn’t want to get anything out of your time as a medical student, then that was a choice you made. It was enough to know the patient’s labs and symptoms but not know what to do with it. As a medical student, it was enough to be passive. Because, really, the only person you were making a difference with was you.

As an intern, this all changes. It’s not all about you anymore. Now you’re responsible for another human life. At times, you may be responsible for another 80 human lives. Point is, you become the least important person.

So when I say:

Welcome to the world of the hungry – you don’t eat so your patient can get the medications he/she needs

Welcome to the world of the tired – you don’t sleep so your patient can get the proper discharge planning

Welcome to the world of the poor – you don’t wallow in luxury so your patients can get the benefit of the time and energy you put into their care

As an intern, you are hungry, tired and poor because of the very thing that made you want to be a physician in the first place. That desire to help another person, to do right by your fellow men and women is still there.

And don’t get me wrong, it will be difficult. Your sense of altruism will be tested now more than ever. But this is when those who cannot help themselves need you the most. Even at your hungriest, your most fatigued and your poorest, you can still offer your patients what they cannot give themselves. Hope, empathy and a chance to feel better.

Come July 1st, I can guarantee no one is going to walk into Podunk Hospital and BE the best damn intern the world ever saw. But what I can also guarantee by the end of your residency training is a ton of self-reflection, intellectual growth and hopefully you walking out of Podunk Hospital as the best damn physician the world ever saw.


So, now you’re all sitting there, saying ‘Well she explained herself but that still makes me want to shit my pants’.

It’s okay, we’ve all done it. And to keep any more unsuspecting interns from having these unfortunate accidents, I’ve compiled a list of tips, tricks and advice that helped me survive my first day as an intern and residency since then. I promise – they’ll help you too.

  1. Be excited. This is what you wanted to do, right? You will be tested day in and day out but it’s important to remember why you’re here in the first place.
  2. Smile. The last thing a sick patient wants to see is your irritated face at having to get up at 5 AM or to hear about all the extra work you have to do, when all they really want is to feel better. Plus the nurses will be less likely to throw out your coffee.
  3. Be prepared. Remember when I talked about responsibility? Well this is what I meant. Knowing your patient’s symptoms, what their Creatinine was or how they sounded on exam in order to impress your residents and attending was enough when you were a medical student. Now, it actually matters, because you knowing whether or not your patient has AKI could easily become a life-or-death situation.
  4. Budget yourself. Internship and residency is really a time where you learn a lot about yourself and how you operate. Your intern year is going to be demanding so why not make it easier on yourself? If you know you’re a little slower, wake up half-hour earlier. If you know you’ll finish your work too quickly, bring a copy of Washington Manual with you and brush up.
  5. Orders first, notes second. This is pretty self-explanatory. You can write a beautiful note but if you haven’t given the orders to make that note a reality, none of it matters.
  6. Listen. As doctors, we love to talk. Well maybe not if you’re a surgeon…or a pathologist. But for those of who do like the spoken word, talking is great. Listening is better. Your patients will provide you with valuable information if you just listen. Plus some of them have very unique stories to tell. And it’s not just your patients, it’s your colleagues, your support staff. We all come from different walks of life and those shared experiences are what makes us better people.
  7. Lean on each other. It’s okay to struggle. You’re not the only one. And when it gets too much to handle? There is help available. Don’t be shy, use them. No one is meant to do this alone.
  8. You want action? Go to the frontline. The best way to learn is getting your hands dirty. Need I say more?
  9. Ask questions. Remember, this is about your education too. How else are you going to expand your knowledge base? Yes, dumb questions do exist. But there is no such thing as a useless question. And trust me, that dumb question you just asked? All twenty of your co-interns were thinking the exact same thing. Some of the residents, too.
  10. Read something every day. This is probably going to be the hardest part of your job. After working for twelve hours, who wants to open a book, much less lift their own pinky finger? The only thing you think about is whether to eat or sleep or do both. I get it. I’m not asking you to open up Harrison’s and read a chapter every night. An attending once told me ‘read for 15 minutes a day and you’ll do fine’. It’s true. Spend fifteen minutes on UpToDate or Washington Manual reading on the conditions you dealt with during the day. You’ll become a better clinician.
  11. Don’t forget about yourself. Yeah yeah I know I gave you guys such a long spiel on putting your patients’ needs before your own. It’s a fact of life you’re going to experience those things as an intern – there have been multiple instances where I wouldn’t have eaten for over 12 hours because I was so busy. But that doesn’t mean you don’t take care of yourself. You are important as well. Take that day off to recharge. Stay active. Just because you only get time to eat a small bite, make that small bite count.
  12. Have fun. July 1st marks the beginning of the rest of your life. Walk into Podunk Hospital with your Littman stethoscope and while you won’t BE the best damn intern there ever was, you’re going to BECOME the best damn physician the world ever saw.


Thanks for tuning in, everyone! See ya on the flip side 🙂