I’m finally coming up to the end of the 1st month of PGY-2. This month has been spent on the Endocrinology service, an Internal Medicine subspecialty. One of the fears I posted about last time was that there would be interns who now look to me to answer questions on management. This fear has not yet materialized. That experience has been deferred — at least for now. There are no interns on the endocrinology service this month.
During this fast-ending month, I have only met a few interns. My first month leading a team with interns begins in just a few days. It has been fun meeting the few that I have. It has also been fun watching them from afar. I feel that I should be amongst that new group of incoming interns. The year just went by so fast. It also makes me nervous thinking of how fast this and the next year will go as well. But, I suppose, I can deal with that later.
This month, I have also seen a different side of medicine. This is my second month on a consult-only service. This means that the Endocrinology is not the primary team for any patient staying in the hospital. It’s a consult service. The primary team, if they have an endocrinological question, can call us and ask for help.
I”m slowly beginning to understand how residents feel when interns call with consults. Sometimes it is downright frustrating. I realize that my picture of a consulting service is skewed, though. As a resident, consult requests mean more work. For us, this month, it meant that we had more patients to see in addition to the ones we were already scheduled to see in clinics. That’s it. Each consult is more work.
I am told that this isn’t the case in the “real world” after residency. Consult services love consults. And if the consult is a simple case? Even better! Each consult represents another case that can be billed.
Ideally, residents should probably look at each consult as the ability to learn more. But that’s a perfect-world scenario. When we are already overworked, who wants another case to see afterwards?
The other day, as I sat together with a group of second year residents, we talked about the new interns. We talked about how they looked so nervous, how they asked some odd question, etc. And then we laughed as we realized that the residents ahead of us likely did the same thing last year around this time.
And so, the cycle continues.