* * Anonymous Doc

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hi [Intern],

Just wanted to send you a quick e-mail to say hello and introduce myself, and gain some goodwill before your life becomes far more depressing than you could ever imagine it would be and you lose all ability to interpret anything that happens in a positive way, including a friendly gesture from someone who's been there already.

I'll be your resident starting next Monday, as you embark on a month of eighty-hour weeks taking care of people who are hell-bent on making your job as difficult as possible and wish you would go away and die only slightly less than you wish the same for them.

I'm looking forward to meeting you, unless you're going to make my life even more difficult by showing up late, failing to pre-round, and ignoring simple commands that you should be more than qualified to execute but given what I've realized is the terrible state of medical education in this country-- including my own-- I know there's no guarantee you even know the difference between a live patient and a dead one, so as long as you're good at pretending to listen, that's probably as much as I can expect.

A few quick pieces of useful info to let you know how I like to run my teams, and how you should prepare for the start of the rotation:

1. I've never had a three-intern team before, so you're going to have to bear with me if I call you all by one name. Just assume I'm talking to you if I'm looking at you.

2. I will arrive at 7AM, which means 7:15. You should arrive to pre-round at 6:30, which means 5:45.

3. When pre-rounding, please remember to check if the patient is (a) still in the hospital, (b) alive, and (c) bleeding profusely from the head. I have had issues on previous rotations where the interns did not check these three things. They are important.

4. If you see a nurse giving your patient medication, please make sure it is actually that patient's medication and not gummy bears or Gobstoppers. The non-diabetics may have a limited number of gummy bears and Gobstoppers, but those are in addition to medication, not instead of.

5. Feel free to make evening plans as long as you know you will have to cancel them.

6. Let me put an end to any rumors you may have heard that the residents bring the interns breakfast after your overnight shifts. I don't care what kind of bagel you like. It will not be relevant.

7. Speaking from experience with a previous intern, please do not try and imitate the native language of a patient when they are within earshot. They know what you are doing.

8. Patient food is for patients, not interns.

9. Pain medication is for patients, not interns.

10. Sleeping is for patients, not interns.

I think we'll have an amazing month, full of tons of action-- if when I say action, you think of the kinds of things that happen in an action movie, like death and dismemberment.

Looking forward to greeting you next week with a pile of disorganized patient records that may or may not relate to the people in the hospital beds.

Your Resident (and Friend, sort of, maybe, probably not)


  1. This is depressing in its accuracy. With respect to 3 and interns failing to make essential observations, my personal favourite story is of an intern who presented on a patient whom she hadn't seen and got the gender wrong. The ward resident was unimpressed. (Note that I am neither the ward resident or, worse yet, the intern.)

  2. Can you expound on the abysmal state of medical education, just so I know what I should be learning that I am not.