Sunday, July 3, 2011

How are the new interns doing?

July 1 marks the historic day when medical school graduates start working as interns. Many start a few weeks before July 1 so that they can get oriented and so that the finishing interns can have a break before they begin their 2nd year, but July 1 is still considered the hallmark date.

So, how are the new interns surviving internship? If you're in the intensive care unit, you're caring for the sickest patients in the hospital. The new Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Approved Standards go into effect July 2011. If you're an intern, your shift won't exceed 16 hours. PGY IIs will be expected to work up to 24 hours, but "strategic napping" is strongly suggested.

Towards the end of the summer and the beginning of the fall, I often find that a handful of interns around the country start looking for non-clinical career options because they don't see themselves surviving internship and/or residency. These interns and residents often contact me, hoping to find some answers about what they could do if they quit working in the hospital. Now that hospitals are cutting back on intern/resident work hours, I hope that you don't find the workload too demanding. Focus on caring for your patients and learning from your experiences.

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