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my fear

Today I crossed the threshold of the hospital I will be doing intership in. I stopped at the front door, hung my head, took a deep breath and plunged myself in. My first reaction is some fear of the unknown. Not so much what to expect–I already know that I’m gonna get my ass kicked and then handed to me on a platter–but more along the lines of not messing up.  Too much. 

I just don’t want to be that bumble-fuck intern that’s in every residency program.  Some of you know what I’m talking about.  I recall one bumble-fuck intern I met during a rotation in medical school who started off presenting a patient on AM rounds with “Mrs. So-and-so is a … yr old female… who had no overnight issues and is doing well…”  At which point a few of us peered into the patient’s room and she honestly looked like she was dead.  I’m talking arm hanging off the side of the bed, mouth slightly open with eyes closed.  Long story short, she wasn’t dead but she had become septic overnight–while this intern was on call.  This was a recurring theme for this particular intern and very often to the dismay of the senior residents. 

I don’t want to be that guy.  I work hard.  Always have.  But then again, this guy must’ve too to get to where he was at.  Right? 

I don’t know–I guess what I am describing is a “fear of failure”.  This is a huge transition point in my infant career.  I actually have some responsibility for the lives of other people.  I’m a doctor and I don’t want to fuck it up.  I especially don’t want to fuck it up while putting in everything I’ve got.  I guess we’ll see how it goes.


7 Responses to “my fear”

  1. 1

    Have you ever checked out It is a site for new interns/residents & the guy who runs it, Dr. Tori, has some great advice about how to not be “that intern.” He also talks about dealing with the anxiety of being an intern. Just thought you might be interested given your most recent post. I am sure that you are going to be an awesome doctor. Good luck!

  2. 2

    Last night was my husband’s “Intern Roast” and after listening to the chief residents tell multiple stories for each and every intern, I am convinced that EVERY intern was that ‘bumble-fuck intern.’ It also confirmed my suspicions that should I require an overnight stay in the hospital, it will not be here — the categorical interns had the worst stories of the bunch!

  3. 3

    Thanks for the tip Trish. I saw the rookiedoctor website a while ago but sort of blew it off because most of the “advice” seemed to be for sale and the advice that wasn’t for sale required some kind of registration (i.e. is not freely accessible from the front page), which I personally find annoying. I might try the free stuff out but I figure that 100 years worth of interns have been doing this so any useful advice probably is floating around for free. Moreover, my suspicion is that the best advice is just to work hard and pray. Pray a lot.

    Also, thanks for that vote of confidence, Julie 😉

  4. 4

    Ha. I wasn’t implying that you are going to be an intern failure… but rather, when you do wind up doing something stupid, just remember that every other person has done something just as bad… and plenty have done something worse.

  5. 5

    Most new interns (sample size of at least 1,000) are bumblefucks. Best advice: LOOK at (i.e, assess) the actual patient (not just the electronic flow sheet), TALK and LISTEN to nursing, especially when you find yourself in an ICU. You can pray all you want, but honestly, it’s not going to get you very far.

  6. 6

    I can’t resist sending along this guest post I wrote for my husband’s blog. All physicians should read and learn:

  7. 7

    Catharine- thanks for the comments. That’s a great post you wrote. It’s interesting that what I’ve heard and now hear is in contrast to what you are experiencing. My impression was always that ICU nurses knew their shit. And yes, are f’in tough as nails. Too bad for what you experience at work, but at least you know you’re doing good by your patients.

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