To: My brand-new team of interns
From: Your Resident
Re: On July 1, your new life begins
Welcome! I saw that you'll be on my team starting this Thursday, and thought I would send you a quick e-mail to say hello and give you some preliminary information about what you'll be doing.
When I was in your shoes a year ago, I didn't know what to expect, there was no one to ask, and my resident didn't even bother to learn my name until two weeks in, so I thought this would be a better way to start.
Just some basic logistics:
-- We round at 8. It is your responsibility to pre-round on your patients before then. That mostly means making sure they're still alive. If you take an attending into a patient's room, and the patient is dead, the attending will be annoyed that you wasted his time, and will probably give you a poor evaluation.
-- I can't leave until all of your notes are written. That means the slower you are, the more I want to kill you because you're keeping me in the hospital. Competent interns aren't only helping themselves, they're helping me get a good night's sleep. Please be competent.
-- The hospital serves lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You won't want it. Plan accordingly.
-- If you forget your computer password, you're screwed, and the woman who can help you is never at her desk. Ever. I don't think she even exists. Without your password, you can't enter orders. Don't forget your password.
-- Mr. Edwards likes chocolate milk. Mr. Edwards was here a year ago when I started, and he's still here now. He will be here forever. Get him an extra chocolate milk.
-- Put your name on your stethoscope.
-- Looking bored and sad isn't going to get me to tell you that it's okay to leave early. I tried that. A lot. It never works. You're stuck here, for a lot of hours.
-- Finally, please show up on Thursday having read something in the past three days that you can talk intelligently about, and that isn't related to medicine or the patients. We spend a lot of time together, and I can't talk about sputum for 80 hours a week. There needs to be other conversation. We can talk about your personal life, or lack thereof-- I'm sure I will talk about mine-- but sometimes it's just nice to talk about some war going on somewhere, or the state of the economy, or who won the Cardinals game. Be prepared.
-- And, one more time, because it bears repeating: if you're presenting a patient, before you start, please be sure he is not dead. It's really embarrassing.
Get some sleep, and see you soon!