The transition from medical student to resident injected a great deal of fear in the months leading up to July 1st. I tossed and turned almost every night worrying about recalling how to manage a heart failure exacerbation, how to initiate anti-hypertensive medications, and what the brand name for Sitagliptin was. Most importantly, I worried about making a mistake. Not a mistake in answering a question, but the kind that would impact a patient’s outcome.
When I started my very first day of intern year at St. Francis Family Medicine, my fears of being alone in the process fell away. I realized that though each order I entered, each note I wrote, each page I sent were integral to care, and each were my own. Despite this, my co-interns were there to support and experience the newness of being a doctor with me, my seniors were there to answer questions about what felt like the most insignificant of details, and my attendings were truly invested in helping me build on my medical knowledge.
My first month as an intern was full of new knowledge about workflow, efficiency, and how to handle both bread and butter as well as critical cases. Though it also involved some long nights, many stressful days, and way more coffee than I’ve ever consumed before, it also came with more confidence in my own abilities and so much excitement for these coming years with my St. Francis family.
There’s nothing easy about being a new intern, but it’s been a special experience. Our program did a great job early on by giving us a long orientation that allowed us to get to know the program and our fellow interns. Having those established relationships when I began helped smooth my transition to residency, knowing that I have people I can go to for questions or to decompress after long days. Another way that St. Francis has set me up for success this year was pairing us up with 3rd year “buddies” that we can reach out to with any questions, including the ones we’d otherwise be too embarrassed to ask. Knowing that I can fall back on my senior residents when it gets to be too much has made my intern year much easier.
What has helped me overcome the difficulties of the beginning of intern year has been the general culture of support among the residents in our program. I’ve been consistently given the space to learn and was always encouraged to take time for myself when I can.