Month One

The first month of intern year is over. It was definitely a ride. For my first rotation I was assigned to the local county hosptial for a month of in-patient medicine. I have been told that the two hardest rotations of the intern year here are the months at county and the MICU month at the Universtiy Medical Center. Seeing as I’m still alive and breathing, and that I still have a job, I’d say that I survived my month.

The first challenge I encountered was just transitioning from a medical student to intern. I remember being asked things by nurses as a Sub-I (during my 4th year), or any other rotation. I could always fall back on the “I’m sorry, I’m just the student. I’ll let my team know” response. Even if I had an idea of what the answer would be, I couldn’t give any nursing orders.

And so the first challenge was transitioning from the one who could always defer (actually, I had to defer), to the one that now should be able make some calls regarding patient care without always running to the senior resident or attending with a “Can I do such-and-such for so-and-so” type of question.

Another part about transitioning from student to resident is that now I am a “doctor.” Now I have an M.D. after my name. Now my signature has the power to make things happen. Now I wear a long white coat (instead of the short one reserved for medical students). It was pretty trippy the first time I heard someone call me “Doctor.” Sure, I had had patients call me “doc,” or “doctor” as a student. But I always introduced myself as the student. Now, I introduce myself as Dr. W. and the nurses call me Dr. W.

They call me “doctor.” How weird is that? It was a weird thing for me when residency began. Heck, it’s still a weird thing for me if I pause and think about it. But I’m in this for the long haul. I’m not planning a career change anytime in the next decade. I’ll probably be called “doctor” for a long time — likely for the rest of my life. Might as well start getting used to it.