how to be an awesome med student (and your intern’s best friend)
students are a precious commodity in the intern world. A good medical student
makes it a lot easier to get through the day and get all the jobs done. But it’s
a fine line between being a clingy medical student and a helpful medical
student, and one that’s difficult to work out. So, this is my wish list for all
my future medical students – do this and I’ll be indebted to you for life.
for our number and give us yours. I’m always happy to be texted by a keen
medical student who wants to put in lines and take blood and clerk patients. If
you let me know you’re free, I’ll let you know how you can help. Just don’t page me. Interns are perpetually
one page away from a nervous breakdown.
carry files on ward rounds. I know that you’re not a human bookshelf, but there
are a lot of files and I only have two hands. Any help here is greatly appreciated,
and extra points if you volunteer to write notes. It lets me give my hand and
my pen a break!
to love the list. The patient list is the most important thing an intern has,
and we need our medical students to value this. Whether it’s writing down jobs
on the list, helping us type it up, or keeping track of the registrar’s list
(he or she will inevitably misplace it), your contribution is noted and
questions. Interns are fresh out of medical school and know a lot of things. Most
of the time, we’re happy to answer (and it makes us feel like we might actually
be semi-competent doctors!). Just pick your moment – over coffee is good.
During a code blue is not so good.
to do practical things. An IVC resite can take half an hour. If you volunteer
to put a new drip in (or even put an IDC in!), we will be forever grateful. I’m
even happy to supervise whilst you do it – it gives me a moment to sort through
my pages and even delete a few).
that you’re going to be an intern soon – and internship means paperwork. The
more you can help us with our paperwork, the better prepared you will be for
your internship, and the more likely we are to pay you in coffee.
the interns are busy, ask us for patients to clerk. I love it when medical
students show an interest in my patients and in learning – do this, and I will
always listen to you present your findings. It’s a good skill to learn, and it
shows that you’re keen to be a part of the team.
I know this
sounds demanding, but spending time on the wards with your intern not only
prepares you to be a junior doctor, it gives you a lot of hands-on experience
that you can’t get from your physiology textbook. And the more time you spend
on the wards, the greater your chances of being rewarded with coffee.
The number one rule I wish they taught me in school was the reality of not becoming successful overnight. I think that’s what previous generations keep implying to totally fuck us over. “If you’re a hard worker, you’ll make it!” The reality is sometimes life has other plans. I strongly believe that everyone has a purpose and everyone contributes to the world in their own beautiful way. But sometimes you want to be a rocket scientist and find out you totally suck at physics. Sometimes you’re planning on getting your PhD and end up postponing it for years because you started a family. The first time I applied to medical school two years ago I didn’t make it. I thought I was the biggest failure out there. That’s until I realized that out of 4,000 applicants I was in the top 20% of people who actually got an interview. And because only 100ish people make it in each class, there were about 3,900 other people who felt the same way I did. No one tells you this shit in undergrad. Instead, you wake up on a daily basis looking at facebook and judging yourself based off of everyone else’s success. No one puts their problems online. No one puts “today I went to a coffee shop and reevaluated my life before binging on cookies and Netflix while on the verge of tears.” No. In the words of Dr. House: “everyone lies.” People aren’t going to post their greatest insecurities or fights with their spouse online for the world to see. Chances are, the person you’re jealous of for making it to (whatever place in life) is behind the computer screen wishing they were you. Life is funny that way. I can’t remember one professor who told us most people have to retake the MCAT or most people don’t make it their first year. You don’t just come out of college and have the world handed to you. And I wish most 20-somethings would realize how many others are just like them. If you didn’t make it to your dream college or graduate school or job, you aren’t stupid, and nothing is wrong with you. You’ve been lied to. Please know that your 20s are transitional years just like your teenage years were. You aren’t supposed to have everything together yet. Stop comparing yourself to more “successful” people your age. You’re going to do awesome things. Don’t doubt yourself.