Friday, February 22, 2013

When I am a Senior Resident

One day soon, when I am a Senior Resident, I will look at my poor, tired Intern as she/he sits around on the weekend finishing up notes and say “poor, little, tired Intern, finish your notes then sign out to me and go home”. As an Intern, I now say something to that effect to the Medical Student and I’ll keep saying it as the overnight Senior.

I write this as I sit in the dark, cool call room after my notes are finished and my patients are tucked away wondering why the heck I am still here. I miss my family intensely on days like these. Days when all of my consults have been placed, all of my medication adjustments have been made with my friends in the Pharmacy, after all of my parents have been updated. After I have received several cute, cuddly pictures from my husband or our babysitter of the day. After I have called my mother to say how tired and lonely I am. After getting lunch with my fellow Interns (those with work to do) and the cool Seniors who are like “Dude, why are you still here?” My response, a shake of the head and a sigh. Oh by the way, did I say that my overnight Senior Resident, the one who I will be signing out to, the one who wouldn’t let me go home "early," is taking a nap in the call room?

Okay, okay, okay, I know, let’s look on the bright side.

I am inspired to write a poem:

Oh ye little tired Intern Soul
Set your spirit free once you are safely tucked away at home
Drive away, remove your scrubs, and wash C diff remnants away with real soap

Oh ye tired Intern Spirit
Carry on, far from here, because by this time next year you won’t have hour limitations and you’ll be stuck just like me
Until then, go be free knowing that your patients still have me.


  1. Being there with all work finished and with cuddly moments ongoing at home is hard. Less hard if it was because there was a code or other patient situation necessitating a delayed sign out. This is one of toughest times, Jan/Feb, spring and newly matched interns-to-be bring revived spirit. I know you will be a wonderful, understanding Senior Resident who would want to be paged out of her nap for her tired MiM intern to sign out.

  2. Fellow intern here who feels exactly the sameas you do. Over halfway done... Love this =) Sweet little poem too!

  3. As an "old person" who did residency in the dark ages of the 1990's, I find it fascinating that despite all the reductions in hours, there is probably more self-pity today than there was back then. We were on q3 call (30 hours) for 9 months of intern year - and either 24 on/24 off or q3 overnights as PL2's.

    It is all temporary. Someday you will be an old lady like me and wondering what the kids are complaining about. Working mom's are going feel a pull to be with their babies, regardless of their profession.

    Be grateful for the current ACGME work hour limits, be grateful for the privilege to practice medicine and be grateful that you have healthy happy kids having cozy moments at home. It all passes so fast, and someday (long after you are done with residency) you will be nostalgic for those lunches with your fellow interns and slow afternoons.

    1. I feel for you, and get what you are trying to say.

      I once had an attending that listened to me feeling guilty for venting my issues when there were starving and abused children in other countries. She said, "feeling guilty that there are people in the world that have it worse than you won't change the fact that you are still struggling with your own problems. Let go of the guilt, and tackle your stuff." I loved that advice.

      Self-pity is ubiquitous, and can be self-serving, if we don't wallow in it. Out of feeling sorry for ourselves, which is nowhere less appropriate than when we are missing our babies, we sometimes get amazing creativity, like MommaBee above, no matter what our profession or hours.

      Um, you had time for lunch in residency? Jealous! I guess if I hadn't been pumping half my residency I might have eaten lunch too. So I'll take that hit.

    2. Oh and by the way, I was a resident in the 90's too - don't call us old ladies yet! Although I believe that even though I did six years overall including my fellowship, which may or may not be longer than your time, your intern/SICU months probably were hour-wise way more demanding than my worst "raining autopsies" weekends, so kudos to you for that.

    3. Oops I was a med student in the nineties, ha ha. You can depend on me for diagnoses, but not simple math on a Monday. Jeez Louise. You are still NOT an old lady.

  4. Thanks everyone! This was just a silly little pity-me post. I would not mind, and am actually looking forward to, every 4th day call. With our hour limitations most of us Interns feel like we are always going to or from work. I'd rather work overnight and then get some real time at home with the fam. The way it is now, we work all day and then get like an hour or 2 at home before sleeping.

    1. I have heard that in pathology, the limited intern hours punishes the upper levels, because they are having to suck up the work. Not good for the residents that straddled the change - doing all the work as interns then again as upper levels. Great poem, Mommabee - I think I've commented enough on your post, ha ha.

  5. :-) I love the running commentary! It's definitely what I signed up for when offered to be a regular poster. I wanted this kind of feedback. Almost like a mommy-in-medicine tele-support group.


Comments on posts older than 14 days are moderated as a spam precaution. So.Much.Spam.