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Tips to Succeed as an Intern

Intern year of residency is one of the most difficult transitions to make during the medical training period. It is full of change and fast-paced learning that will ultimately shape you into a physician. Dr. Roma Mehta visits the blog today to share what she wish she knew before starting her intern year!

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All the data shows women in medicine have to prove ourselves more than men in medicine. The gender equality movement is moving slowly, and although moving, there are still discrepancies. Here are some things to consider to help you stand out and succeed during your intern year.

1. Be organized.

This may sound cliché, but an intern’s job includes having all the relevant data for an attending. However, as an intern you may not know what is relevant, so having a way to organize a lot of details will come in handy. Patient cards with a trend of labs is a popular mechanism at our institution. Make sure to create a TO DO List during rounds. You won’t remember everything, so don’t even try. Just write it down. This will take you very far in terms of your efficiency, and everyone loves an efficient intern. An efficient intern is a real asset to patient care.

2. Be heard.

We no longer live in the “an intern’s job is to be seen and not heard” world. If you have an opinion speak up! Studies show that interns who speak up on rounds or offer opinions, even if incorrect, are viewed in a more positive light than ones that don’t speak up. Don’t be afraid to be wrong; it’s ok! We all are wrong sometimes!

3. Be engaged.

Asking questions and reading up on topics always goes a long way. Asking questions shows a level of interest and dedication to learning that even the harshest of attendings can’t fault you for.

4. Put orders in during rounds.

Although important on all services, the timeliness of putting in orders during rounds is paramount to good patient care. In the ICU, often times, time is a luxury patients don’t have. In today’s world, many EMRs can exist as an app form (EPIC has the Haiku app) and there usually are abundant computers nearby while rounding. Have a colleague help out with placing orders while discussing them on rounds. This will make the rest of the day smoother, but most importantly, won't delay patient care.

5. Don’t lie.

I really don’t have rules on my rounds, but I always start off a rotation by telling the team: Don’t lie to me. It’s totally okay to say I don’t know and we can look someone’s information up today, but please don’t make up labs, vitals, or results incorrectly. Attendings make treatment decisions on what you report. Granted, many of us double check what you tells us (don’t take it personally), but some don’t. So, just don’t lie. That’s a pretty good rule for life too.

Most importantly, have fun! Intern year can be stressful, but I made some of my best friends during this challenging year. What you can learn is limitless and use every opportunity you can to learn. Pretty soon, you will be the senior resident and in charge.

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