Being an intern is like constantly being embattled. You are responsible for everything that happens to the floor patients, and every aspect of their care. If you miss something related to their care, no matter how small or big then “you suck”. Honestly, even on my best day, I miss something, and I tend to come down really hard on myself, which isn’t healthy because this is in addition to what I may get from my seniors. I arrive very early (usually get the first spot in the parking garage) and I leave late, and still things slip through the cracks. That is why medicine is composed of teams, so that whatever the intern misses, the PGY 2 or 3 will catch. And then whatever they don’t catch, the PGY 5 will catch, or the attending. It doesn’t however negate the fact that something was missed by the intern, and it doesn’t negate the pain inflicted upon the intern when it is brought to his/her attention.
With all that said, I really am thankful to God for being an intern here at Hopkins. The ortho service is actually really detail oriented here, and its training me to pay extremely close attention to every aspect of my patient’s care so that they have the best outcomes. Its a painful process however to be trained in this way, but it is better for me in the end…or at least I tell myself that every morning when I wake up at 3am, lol.
When I started this 2.5 month ortho rotation, I thought I would have time to read every night and spend time with my wife and child, etc. But that is just not the case. By the time I get home, I am so burned out and tired that I have no time to study, or time to study but not time to play with my daughter. Thankfully the new intern work our rules have giving me about 8 hours, uninterrupted, to spend with my family each friday, which I am very thankful for. However the thought that next year when I am a PGY-2 and don’t have work hour restrictions that things will be worse is sobering. I can see how many divorces occur to surgical residents; and I just will not allow that to happen. I am still trying to find that balance between excelling at work and at family life, and I refuse to give up on that ultimate goal of doing well in both.
I am the only intern out of the 5 to do ortho trauma for 2.5 months straight without other rotations in between and it truly has been grueling. With that said, the rest of my intern year will be much more chill in comparison. My next month will be spent doing ortho pathology and radiology. My seniors have told me that by the end of that rotation I will be able to look at almost any lesion in a plan X-ray or any histology slide and diagnose the mass/tumor. We learn a lot of ortho tumor here and I really enjoy it actually. There is just so much to learn that I never even heard of in medical school in this field, particularly in orthopaedic oncology.
After my 1 month of ortho oncology, I start my 6 months of general surgery. And while anyone who knows me knows that I hate anything dealing with bowel, I have actually heard that life is much better for ortho interns on general surgery because 1)intern work hours mean that I have every Friday night and Saturday off 2)we are not pulled in 1000 directions as a g.surg intern as we are as a ortho intern. I will actually probably have more time to spend with my family during those 6 months of gsurg than I have had in the last 2.5 months. I really plan to read a lot during my g.surg time because I truly love ortho and I don’t want to be the least knowledgable in my class all because I have a wife and kid.
I had another ethical dilemma because the orthopaedic in-training examination (OITE) is coming up next month and it is traditionally always held on Saturday. The Lord blessed me to match at Hopkins I believe because I honored Him by not interviewing on the Sabbath when I was applying for residency. However I started to waiver again when I learned about the OITE only being held on Saturday. I didn’t want to be the only resident to cause “trouble” by requesting to take it on another day. But I also wanted to honor God and His Sabbath day. I was encouraged by a fellow Loma Linda classmate of mine who matched into ortho at Mayo. His words encouraged me to just sit down and talk with my PD about my faith and desire to take the OITE on another day. My PD was so receptive and within a couple days I was cleared to take the OITE on a Friday instead. Praise God!
This is another testament to standing up for your beliefs not matter what arena you are in. For all of you who are not in environments where God is talked about, don’t let others suppress your beliefs. Trust me, you will be respected more for adhering to your beliefs than wavering at the first sign of resistance. Honor God and He will honor you.