Updated: Sep 20, 2019
It's that time of the year. July 1st is almost here and hospitals around the country will welcome in their new interns. To those starting on the wards as interns, this series is for YOU! We're sharing advice from SheMD authors on how to not only SURVIVE but THRIVE during your intern year. Wishing you all the best next week. You CAN do this!
January 1st may be the start of the New Year, but for everyone in the medical field we all know
that the year really begins on July 1st. This is when bright eyed and bushy tailed interns start their first day of residency. It is when interns become second year residents, junior level residents become senior residents, and those who have decided to pursue more training outside of residency start fellowship.
I have gone through many a July 1st and have been the intern, the junior resident, the senior resident, and now the fellow. I am wrapping up my first year of fellowship and am ready to welcome new first years and transition into the second year fellow role.
I have had some time to reflect on this transition over the years and there has been a lot of
growth. There are so many things I know now that I wish I had known walking into intern year.
It could have potentially saved me some heart break and some mistakes.
So, if I could go back and try to prepare myself, what would I tell intern year me about the road ahead? How would I encourage her and let her know that it does get better?
1. Imposter Syndrome will not go away, only get worse as you progress in training and that is
totally OKAY! It means you know your limits and know when to ask for help. You are still in
training and it is okay to feel dumb sometimes. By the way, everyone else around you feels the
same they just don't want to admit it either.
2. There will be rough days ahead. You will lose patients. You will cry with families. You will
get yelled at by moms. You will get “fired” by parents. BUT, you will also get hugs, thank yous,
and pretty hand drawn pictures from your patients. You will get to see kids finish chemotherapy
or get cured from their underlying illness. You have to take the ups with the downs and it will be
3. It is okay to say no and take a day for yourself. On the other hand, don't say no too often. Take the vacation, have dinner post call with friends, and schedule date night with your spouse. Do not use residency as an excuse to not live your life to the best of your ability. BUT, sometimes you need a day or two to yourself where you sleep and do nothing. Your body also needs time to recover after countless hours awake. Do not always try to be superwoman. You need a healthy balance of both to survive.
4. Read, read, read! This is the best thing you can do moving forward. Do it in short burst after
you have an interesting case, or when you do not know something. Try to write it down if you
can. This will save you so much struggle when it comes time to take boards. It will fly by
quickly, so you want to be prepared when it comes.
5. Be yourself! Don’t try to love research to impress your mentor. If it is not your jam, don’t
force yourself to like it. Take ownership of the procedures you want to do. Be confident in your
abilities and don’t lose who you are and what you love along the way. It keeps us all grounded and connected to our patients, coworkers, friends, and family.