Monday, December 7, 2009

Call Day: Internal Medicine Intern

5am: wake up
5:30: head in (baby is still sleeping)
5:45 arrive and see my first patient
round - round - round - we can admit 5 patients and often the private attendings give us procedures to do
12 lunch lecture
then we start taking all the code blues, and keep admitting patients until 7am the next day
usually our last admit is around 1am, and it still takes me forever...
maybe get a wink of sleep
up at 5:30... start rounding on my patients... start in the ICU and then head for the floors
follow up on labs, CTs, find consults, etc.
around 1 or 2 or 3 start thinking of heading home
make check out list
call husband to have him pick me up... maybe 2 hours of sleep in a 32 hour shift... I've got too much to live for to be in an accident on my way home
sleep 3 hours
pick up child from daycare, he's within walking distance
lay on couch while husband takes care of kid, makes dinner... too tired to move much
play with baby
feed baby
put him to bed
spend 30 minutes with husband watching TV on the couch
go to bed around 8pm or 9pm
spend basically no quality time with husband or child
return to hospital at 5:45 the next day

(so... 2/5 days I spend virtually no time with my young family.. the other 3 days I am exhausted.. and attendings are constantly complaining on how lazy interns are these days)

Oh, and I should include my schedule when not on call... it is so much better, but I guess my schedule is a vent. Often a 65- hour work week which is awesome for an internal medicine program.


  1. I was q4 30+ hour calls as an intern and thus didn't feel human 2/4 days. But I didn't have a baby, which in retrospect means that my life was relatively easy. Although it didn't feel that way at the time :) I still think intern year was the hardest and most miserable year of my life.

  2. I remember those long call days as an intern (before the 80 hour work rule went into place). Hang in there - it will get better. I promise! You are demonstrating to your children that women have professional responsibilities and take education seriously. Whether your kids are male or female, this lesson will benefit them when they are adults.

  3. I'm in my intern year, and I feel like this all the time. I see my family 2 hours a day...if I'm lucky. And that's the months I don't take call.

  4. Thank you so much for these day-in-the-life posts! I love reading all of them, and hope they keep coming!

    This one, and the idea of intern year + kids, totally scares me. I'm lucky to have a choice about whether to go down that road or not (I'm an MS2 right now, and my fiance and I have tried to think through a few options for when to have kids). Honestly, I don't know how you do it, but all I can say is best of luck and thank you for sharing.

  5. Wow. It's rough, eh? I'm heading back to intern year next week after a year of mat leave with my son and I'm not going back to internal medicine for exactly this post. I'm so impressed you're warrioring through as I couldn't hack it. I just didn't love it enough so I've transferred to family medicine and am looking forward to a new career.

    The old department had the "lazy resident, bla bla balance" attitude and the new program thankfully bends over backwards to ensure residents have a sliver of work / life balance while still working a "mere" 60+ hours.

    Good luck, KC!

  6. As a mom who powered through two babies during residency (I didn't have any vacation for three years, apart from 8 weeks of maternity leave for each kid - I was insulted when one of the male residents alluded to this time as vacation) - all I can echo is, hang in there! It gets better. I just had a week off in late October volunteering at all the fall carnivals and am off this week playing carpool mom/Christmas shopper. I missed a lot in those baby days, but am much more plugged in, now. The warrior time was worth it, for me. At least I can say that on good days.


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