First day

Today was my first day of residency. In the large, academic medical center where I work, the wards were filled with people like me: kids fresh out of medical school, creases still not washed out of our long white coats, playing with the buttons on our beepers, looking for the bathrooms. For the next year, we will be the interns, and on this first day, we tried to like it. It wasn’t that hard, right? There was a free lunch, and the nurses were really nice to us. Plus, now we have real responsibility. We love responsibility.

It gets easier to be an intern with every year that passes. A few years ago, a national standard was enacted, mandating a maximum-80-hour work week for medical residents with the goal of improving patient care by reducing resident fatigue. This has placed at least a temporal limit on the amount of shit we can take. And although medicine is certainly a conservative field in many ways, the old, patriarchal approach is considered less cool than it used to be. In the setting of a shortage of American medical grads, all but the most popular programs have to work to make themselves attractive to applicants; at mine, for example, we get a free lunch not just on the first day, but every day.

So my first day of my first year of residency—my intern year—was probably less scary for me than it would’ve been twenty, ten, or even five years ago. And although my patients certainly weren’t aware of it, it was much less scary for them, too.

I’ll try to share as much as I can in this space.

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5 Comments on “First day”

  1. youuuu Moma Says:

    There IS free lunch after all…

    up in a corner
    sat little daughter
    eating her shit and smile
    along came a patient
    I’m dying! No guile”

    To this little flower
    (her smile now dire)
    long coat, beeper,creases
    and all…
    replid with a sm.. (smile? No, not!)
    a smirk of some sort..
    Yer sorrow ain’t mine
    U Poor dear fella
    U wait in youuu corner til I finish my (free) dinnnaa

  2. Amy Says:

    I’m glad to hear most programs are putting to rest that old cliche’ of the 36-hour shift and generally treating you like the valuable humans you are. 80 hours is still hella tough, but at least it respects some kind of physical limits. As a person, I like to see that kind of slavery being phased out. As a potential patient, I’m relieved to know that at least in this respect, my caregivers have a better chance to make the best decisions possible.

    Congrats on this new stage in your career. I’ll be reading. 🙂

  3. EGM Says:

    I was thinking of doing the same thing! But your writing is far more eloquent than mine, so I’m excited to wile away my on-call hours reading your thoughts about this crazy adventure we’re starting. I’m sending you happy thoughts from Philly!

  4. Yorron Says:

    Looking forward to reading the next chapter 🙂

  5. Garth Says:

    Dream on, Amy! 🙂

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