Jan 12th 2011 was the day I commenced my internship. The day of being a doctor had finally arrived, after 5 years of ups and downs in medial school, the day that all us medicos look forward to from day 1 of medical school with excitement as well as trepidation. The first day of the rest of our careers had just started; real responsibilities and real consequences can happen with our actions and omissions.
It's been 2 weeks since I started, but I have only just been able to find time to pen my thoughts down. So I start of 2011 and internship in the town of Mildura, 8 hours northwest of Melbourne by car or a 1 hour flight. Mildura is closer to Adelaide then it is to Melbourne. Twas' a long and quiet drive up, uneventful, but rather enjoyable. This was also during the floods and I was lucky to have driven off from and through Echuca, abotu 1.5 hours before it flooded through. When I was going through, the Campaspe river was already looking to overspill the banks and onto the roads. Thank god!
Internship for me has started with General Medicine and the Mildura Base Hospital. A small and cosy rural hospital sufficient to meet genereal medical and surgical needs. The last 2 weeks has been busy. I did my first cover shift as well as my first weekend. working in medicine has been pretty good so far. lots to learn about medicine, dealing with patients and also equally as importantly, dealing with annoying nursing and pharmacy staff.
Cover shift is worst when yoru fellow colleagues are not organized and do not prepare the paperwork necessary for admitting or discharging patients. sometimes the patients come through, lying there in a bed and none of the medical staff seem to be aware that they are suppose to be there. Also, looking after and making decisions for patients that I had no idea of, from their demographics to their actual medical/surgical condition , this was sickening as it takes up a lot of time going thru the files and charts just to get a vague idea of what is happening and I need to do for the patient. Also, you have the nursing staff and pharmacists hounding you for discharge papers, scripts.............. and there is only 1 of me working.
So far, most of the hospital staff that I have met and had dealings with have been very approachable and helpful. The registrars have been great, welcoming us and supporting us in our daily dealings with patients and other staff. The consultants have been more then welcoming in inviting us to the team and making us feel comfortable on the job. However, needless to say there are always the annoying ones who try to pretend to 'advocate for the patient' but in actual fact are hindering the recovery of patients. And then there are the others that try to get you to cover up for their mistakes, re-writing scripts because they have given the wrong dose or sometimes even the wrong medications. They politely ask you to write up medications to help settle patients 'IF they get too agitated in the night' but the medication is more for themselves so they won't have a busy night. stupid irresponsible nursing staff, making us irresponsible just so they can have an easier time.
I was speaking to other friends, fellow interns and seniors who've just completed internship as well as registrars i've worked with before as a student, telling them how frustrating it can get as an intern, where you try your best to make things easier for yourself and everyone else. There is no escaping it. Either way I lose. When I make things easier for nurses, I lose because I become more busy, When I try to make things easier for myself by getting organized and doing tasks in advance, I also lose, because I just get more work to do. Such is the life of the lowly medical intern.
This is my first, and hopefully my last Medical rotation for the rest of my career. I have 8 more weeks of this to get through.
In my 2 weeks of experience, I think the way to make things as easy as it can get for an intern is to be organized and prioritize the work that has been give to you. It takes a while to get use to the way thigns are organized in a new hospital, ward, a new team. But we all get there eventually, and I hope they get easier with time.