The Internship Year

By Israel Taylor, MD MPH

Study. Memorize. Research. Listen. Learn.

Oh, what comfort the library gave these past 4 years. Practice questions constantly reviewed and rewritten. Mock interviews shielded from repercussion. The grade is the highest stake. However, patients can’t rewrite their stories or polish their lives to your comfort. Interviews have the power to determine outcomes. There’s life, there’s death, there’s disability every choice along the way.

Order. Measure. Prescribe. Sign. Do.

This is the year that everything changes. Responsibilities explode, expectations evolve, “Dr.” boasting proudly on the front left pocket of your white coat disguises the fear that hides within. The fear of incompetence, the fear of uncertainty, the fear of simply not knowing what or how.

Review. Write. Submit. Confirm. Do.

Decisions weigh differently now. Treatment goals are no longer theories. That first medication administered under your name feels a bit surreal. Will it perform the way the textbooks reported? The implications of your ignorance lead to constant second-guessing and hesitation. No one prepares you for this feeling. No one can.

Call. Inform. Read. Send. Do.

The reward of the cure, the harm reduction, or the simple “thank you” outweigh any grade on any exam. What a difference one year makes. The intensity of the work we do, the amount we learn as an intern is unparalleled. But what it reveals in us as people, as physicians, is revolutionary.

Empathize. Communicate. Listen. Do. Heal.

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