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On My Mind
February 2018

An Ode to Intern Year

Author Affiliations
  • 1Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
  • 2Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston
JAMA Pediatr. 2018;172(2):115. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.3020

One year ago, I was terrified. I was in the neonatal intensive care unit with 3 co-interns for a brief orientation on the day before we started the first rotation of our residency. I remember the envy I felt while meeting with the previous team of interns, from whom we received sign-out on our patients—our first-ever patients. One sat with feet up on the sofa in the workroom; another efficiently put in an order the nurse had just requested; the upper-level intern peeled a tangerine in the corner. These residents showed no signs of the nervousness, trepidation, and self-doubt that were suffocating my thoughts. Posted on the walls of the workroom were facts that every resident surely knew—literal signs of my inadequacy: neonatal vital signs (wait, 160 is a normal heart rate?!), Apgar scores (what does the g stand for?), infant formula choices (more than one option exists?). “I cannot wait,” I remember thinking before my first day, “for this year to be over, and to be a confident and knowledgeable resident.”

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