Home > Internal Medicine Residency > What is expected from interns on the first day?

What is expected from interns on the first day?

June 29, 2012

Many of you will be or already have started your first day of internship. I wanted to share with you what I tell my new interns on their first day.

The first three months of residency are the most important for your reputation as a resident. You need your attendings to like you as a person first. Your experiential and content knowledge will come with time. Your organizational skills will come with time as well. Your reputation plus your patient care, knowledge and scholarly pursuits will be the basis of the letter your program will write for your fellowship or your post residency position.

You want your attendings and residents to tell your program that you are good to work with. How do you do this? Work hard, come to work on time, be conscientious and don’t complain in public. Don’t speak badly about other services/ your fellow residents/ the fellows/ nursing or your attendings. If you have a legitimate complaint (duty hour violations/ abusive staff/ egregious errors in patient care) talk to your program director in person. Don’t use email to complain.

Professionalism is central to your success. Look professional and be professional. Treat everyone with respect including social work/ nutrition/ housekeeping/ cafeteria workers – people notice. You don’t want to be known by your attending as someone who is difficult to work with or someone who is rude to nursing/patients/students or fellow housestaff.

Honesty always always always. If you tell a falsehood (even a minor one) and you are found out, your reputation is ruined. Answer your pager promptly and professionally with a positive tone of voice. Be very careful about sending out emails when you are tired, angry or emotional. For many people, internship is their first job where they are not in control of their time. The time demands can feel overwhelming and so can the work.

You will make mistakes. Own up to the mistake and be honest about what happened. Learn from the experience. Make sure that you don’t make the same mistake twice.

Things that might help your transition and make a good impression are the following: Sanford Guide for ID issues, Pocket Medicine: The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Internal Medicine for patient management issues, Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopoeia for pharmacology, and The Only EKG Book You’ll Ever Need because you absolutely must be good at ECGs. You will also need a clipboard and I have seen a lot of house officers using folding clipboards. I have used all of these products and think that they may be helpful but do not have any commercial relationship with any of the publishers or companies. Finally check out my videos on topics important for internship.

You want to do well on your in-service exams and pass your boards after residency. You need to read a topic in your field everyday except when you are too tired post-call. Do MKSAP questions in internal medicine every week. Ask for help early if you need it. Your program wants you to succeed and you will.

The views expressed in this post are those of Kenneth Christopher, MD and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dr. Christopher’s employer Partners HealthCare.

%d bloggers like this: