Thursday, May 13, 2004


It's getting warm here, and starting to smell like summertime. People are getting pedicures and wearing skirts. We slept with the air-conditioning on last night. Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high.

In addition, we just got our preliminary schedules for next year. In a month and a half, I'm going to be a second year resident. In November, I'll be one of the "ward seniors." The thought of going from first-year at one moment to a "senior" in the next is so strange, like some sort of artificial promotion come June 27th that is as anxiety producing for the incoming interns as it is for the outgoing ones.

Up until now, I've been able to rely on the good old, "I'm just an intern" excuse to get myself out of situations where I didn't know what was going on or what to do. Soon I won't be able to use that line anymore. And even worse, there will be new interns coming up to me, all wide-eyed and trusting, asking me for advice, asking me for help, asking me for answers with all the trust and assurance that I had for my seniors when the year started. But how the hell am I supposed to know? When they come to me after failing at putting in an IV or unable to draw blood, who says that I'll be able to get it? When they ask me the same questions that I had as an intern but never asked because I was too busy, or for which I never had the chance to look up the answers, what the hell am I supposed to say? Maybe I should just start studying frantically, constantly, and immediately. You know, kind of cram for my second year.

Such a strange thing, academia. June 26th you're "just an intern" and June 27th, you're a senior. But what really changed from one day to to the next? Are you really worthy of seniority, or just artifically promoted because one class left and another new class came to fill in their spot from the bottom up? Are you a complete fraud? Are you worthy of that level of added trust and responsiblity?

Funny, I think I made this same argument last year. Except last year, I went from "don't ask me, I'm just a medical student," to "holy shit, all of a sudden, I'm a doctor". I guess that was a scarier transition overall. At least this time around, I don't have to go through that two-day hospital orientation or take that HIPPA course online. Thank god for small favors.

Currently reading: "Walk on Water". One good thing about being a second year is at least I get to rotate through the PICU. Finally, I'll see what all the fuss is about.

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