A Day in the Life

 by Haley Baines, MD

Oh the early mornings where you balance the priorities of extra sleep with the need to caffeinate, and seeing patients in time for rounds.  Team check out is at 6am, I typically arrived a little before 6am to start gathering pertinent numbers and catch up on overnight events.  I always printed out my own sign out to jot down important info, you will likely start your own system of color coded chicken scratch that makes 2-3 pieces of paper become your second brain. 

Then it’s off to see patients.  Typically you have the pleasure of waking patients and their families up, so it’s up to you how bright eyed and busy tailed you want to act when doing this - you will get varying responses no matter what you do!  Your mission, and you should accept it, is to make it to breakfast before morning report at 7:30.  Rounds will be much more acceptable with a full stomach and caffeine in your system, if you don’t remember anything else from medical school, hopefully that stuck with you – eat!  After morning report you can work on notes, see the rest of your patients, check on labs, or if you didn’t get a chance beforehand, get food and caffeine (or more of both if you need it).

Time to start rounds! PCH is moving towards all teams having family centered rounds.  The goal of this is to have residents, attendings, specialists, ancillary staff, and most importantly, the family and their patient to be on the same page.  Your goal is to get as much work done during rounds as you can, helping put in orders for patients your co-intern is presenting, formulating a plan of care, and trying to soak up as much of the endless bombardment of clinical pearls and useful tidbits that you can.  Prioritize preparing discharges and calling your specialists; just leave your cell phone number so they can call you back when you’re chewing your lunch during conference. Speaking of conference, you will (no matter how hard you try) be late for noon conference.  You will be paged as soon as you put the first bite of lunch in your mouth. 

The afternoons typically involve admissions, following up consult recommendations and checking up on test results.  And hey, there may be time for even more some teaching too!  If you’re not on call, you will go home between 4:30 and 6pm.  If you’re on call, you will get later admissions, attends CATs and codes, and cross cover on your fellow interns patients before, at last, signing out to the night crew around 7pm. Yes, you will be extremely busy on wards, never truly feeling caught up with everything, but rather endlessly juggling the multiple duties of an intern through this whirlwind we call wards.  BUT- Before you know it, you will become extremely proficient, efficient, confident, and seamless at being a strong, effective intern - Only don’t be surprised if now the time has come for you to be a senior resident!

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