Thursday, July 13, 2006

What sucks about being an intern.

OK, there are a lot of things about being an intern that suck. Like being a doctor but not really knowing anything about being one, trying to come up with logical answers for things about which you have no idea, not getting any sleep on call nights, talking to patients and families and trying not to look like an idiot. Really, the list goes on and on. But the absolute worst is being called out for doing something that you were told to do. If you ever want to see this happen, just go to Grand Rounds at any teaching hospital. Surgery ones are the worst. I remember one I attended in med school where the intern was getting pimped about a bad outcome. He had prepped before hand and really knew his stuff, but the chair didn't like any of his answers. So after being asked why he had done something one too many times, I guess he snapped. "Because my attending told me to!" he finally called out. Not what you should ever say even though it's totally true.

My fellow intern in the NICU got hit really hard with this today. She was on call last night and one of the babies was causing a lot of trouble. He's on the vent and his blood gases were all over the place - oxygen too low, carbon dioxide too high, pH way too low. There are a couple things you can do about that - like adjust the vent settings or give meds. As interns we have no idea which thing to do in a given circumstance so we ask. So she asked the NP who was on overnight and did as suggested. The attending on for the night had gone to sleep and isn't the type who likes being woken up, and we have frequently been told to ask the NPs what to do when we don't know. So this was a completely reasonable action, definitely what I would have done. So then the intern does what the NP suggested and the baby improved. So this morning the attending emerged from the call room and sees in the chart what happened overnight. And disagrees with how it was handled. And proceeds to go off on the intern for doing the wrong thing and possibly causing chronic lung disease in the baby. All the while the NP just stands there and never says that it was her suggestion, just lets the intern take it. And that is what sucks about being an intern.

6 Comments:

At 8:49 PM, Anonymous Beth said...

That's a job I could never do. First of all, I get queasy VERY easily. Second, I would dwell on being mistreated like that. There are probably many more reasons I couldn't do what you do. I admire you.

 
At 9:17 PM, Blogger Katie said...

I second what Beth said! That situation you described sucks with a capital S.

 
At 9:27 PM, Blogger Kaitie Tee said...

Yep that definitely sucks! Being a law student can feel like that sometimes, but I don't think it's nearly as bad. I'm watching a repeat of Grey's Anatomy right now. Don't you wish it were that glamorous?

 
At 9:43 PM, Blogger Leslie said...

Oh dear! Being a mother of an intern and reading this entry makes my heart hurt for both of you even though this happened to a fellow intern of yours. Son hasn't said anything about this happening to him yet but I know it has or will before too long.

 
At 5:24 AM, Anonymous etherknitter said...

Wake up the freaking attending. It's his/her job.

 
At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worst thing about being an intern is that shit rolls downhill. And the fact that the bloody nurses treat u like shit and page u incessantly just for the fun of it. ARGH!

 

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