Taking the Pulse on the First Month of Your Internship

Anna Piazza - Jul 18, 2018

 You did it! You made it through the first month of your internship. While you were at it, you put patients first, asked tons of questions and did your best to learn as much as you could as you went along. Those fireworks and BBQ-related emergencies over the Fourth of July certainly helped speed the process along, too.

Now the dust is finally settling; you can take a breath and reflect. With so much new information—mostly practical and some theoretical—picked up day after day, you can really settle into and embrace your new role. Here are the biggest takeaways from the first month of your internship.

Your Sleep Schedule Is Sacred

You haven’t forgotten the shock of those sleepless first days. Internship hours are long and unpredictable, but you’ve got to keep up and stay focused all the same. You’re spinning numerous plates, remembering what you learned in class that time in your clerkships, figuring out which rooms are where and reasoning through differentials all at the same time. Rest has never been more important to keeping your work performance top notch, and you’re becoming more adept at carving out moments to nap and catch up on those precious Z's.

You Stay Organized

During the first month of your internship, you’re constantly recalling different bits of information at a moment’s notice—sometimes from the back of your mind or a point-of-care reference tool, other times from the paperwork you’ve collected throughout the day. Keeping organized is crucial to making sure you can find what you need, fast, and it will make diagnosing and prescribing medicine all the more easier (and accurate!). Whether you’re using sticky notes or memo pads, you’re on your way to getting your system optimized and working like a well-oiled machine.

You’ve Accepted That You Don’t Know Everything (Yet)

It can feel like there’s a lot of pressure to impress in those first weeks on the ward, but it’s a given that interns won’t always have an answer to every question. It’s okay to step back and refrain from overextending yourself when you’re feeling unsure of something. Instead of risking a misdiagnosis, you’ve come to accept the learning moments as they come, and are picking up valuable tips and advice along the way. (And when you need to double-check a specific topic or condition, you can always rely on AMBOSS to fill in the gaps and act as your trusty clinical companion.)

At the Same Time, You Know More Than You Realized

The rush, the chaos, the problem solving: You relish every chance you get to apply your knowledge and figure solutions, directly improving the lives of people around you. After all the trials and tribulations of this first month of your internship, you come out the other end not just in one piece, but feeling invigorated and remembering just why you were attracted to medicine in the first place.

The first month of your internship has likely been a challenge and even trying at times, but rewarding all the same. Now you can move beyond surviving and actually thrive as you move through the wards and be the physician you’ve strived to be. Take in every moment and remember to keep yourself open to the new changes to come!