So one of the major struggles I face as an intern is learning a new system in a new hospital. This is on top of having to deal with the new patient care responsibility. My suspicion is that learning the new system is as hard if not harder than the mounds if patient care responsibility. I am actually surprised. As a medical studnt I remmber watchng interns even residents struggling to learn our system: online order entry, online patient records, even where the bathrooms are. And, I was always a little confused about why it was so hard for them. Of course, my years of experience at that hospital probably biased my view of the ease of doing everything. Now, I have been feeling the pain for the last two months. And I’m finally realizing one of the major benefits to stating at your home institution for residency is that you know where everything is, you know how the computers (and programs) work and you know where the bathroms are (that’s so key). This is such a huge beneft on terms of avoiding pain. However, this advantage only lasts for about a month or two and then everyone catches up to each other. So, as I kept telling myself, my pain (at least in this regard) will only last so long. On the other hand, there are so many advantages to going to a different institution. Most importatly, the opportunity to work with new people and to see new things, experiences which can only broaden one as an individual. I think this is actually quite huge. Not only with regards to my education but also because it shows other institutions later on (eg when time cone to apply for fellowship or a job) that I can be serious about moving and starting fesh somewhere else. The institution where I did medical school is the kind if place where people stay forever. There were definitely times when I felt that I was going to be there for going on forever since I was there for graduate school as well. And, during residency interviews, I always got the question of why should they believe that I would ever leave to go to another institution. I always found this to be a sort of weird question–why would I spend $500 on travel and lodging for a residency interview if I wasn’t serious about it? But it just goes to show the mentality of program directors, etc–every little detail can be interpreted in one way or another.
So now I’ve been here for 2 months. I was asked by a close friend recently, don’t you miss [insert hospital name] and my response was NO! It was an amazing place and maybe I’ll go back there some day (if they’ll take me as well) but if I had stayed there, I’d be in such a rut. After two months here, I’m still learning new things about how to manage patients and how the hospital works every day. And all of it is in comparison/contrast to what I learned before.
My point is that it was very hard to break out of my 8 year rut, but now that I’ve gone through the painful process of learning a new physician order entry system, electronic patient record, PACS, etc, breaking the rut feels incredibly rewarding. For those of you who have to make the same decision or something similar (medical school, graduate school, fellowship, etc), the prospect of leaving “the known” can be quite daunting but it can be terribly informative/useful in the long run. I’m the king of staying put in my rut so if I’m saying this, there’s gotta be something to it (at least in my head).