First week as an intern

Well, I survived 8 straight days of inpatient IM. I’m not going to lie, it’s been a little rough. At my hospital, the interns are responsible for admitting patients and typing up all the notes. This can be a little overwhelming when you also have complicated patients with sh*t hitting the fan and nurses paging you about what you want to do, in which case my answer 90% of the time is “Uhh..let me verify with my senior”. Speaking of the seniors, I honestly have no idea how us interns would survive without them. They have been AMAZING. They’ll help us with notes, admit patients when we’re too busy, and generally just try to make things easier for us. In such a cut throat world like medicine I’m so glad that there are still some good people out there.

On another note, I’m still a little weirded out by being referred to as doctor. I specifically tell the nurses to call me me by my first name. I even feel weird parking in the doctor’s parking lot, or going to the doctor’s lounge to get food. I feel like such a fraud, I’m sure the medical students rotating with us know more than I do.

For the M4s out there auditioning this year- you can help the residents out a ton by seeing patients with us and writing notes. We currently have a fourth year student auditioning with us and she’ll see up to four patients and have the notes already done by the time we finish rounds and noon conference. You guys have no idea how much it helps us out, especially when we’re getting slammed with admissions. Being a team player is a BIG deal. Of course, we’ll put in a good word for you with the chief and program director when they ask for our feedback. I also try to point out some of the interested cases to the M4s so they can see something different than the standard chest pain or heart failure workup.

Anyway, today is my first day off and I don’t get another one for another 8 days, so I’m going to go enjoy myself (read: do laundry, pay bills, basically do adult things), even though all I really want to do is sleep all day. Yay, intern year!


Medical Student to Intern

For the past week, I’ve been in orientation with my co-interns, including those in IM and EM. It’s been pretty chill. We got training in our EMR system and got set up with our dictation device, Dragon. We also had a white coat ceremony, where we each got our shiny, new, long white coats! Yesterday we got our pagers (boo) and were taught how to use them and return a page. I’ve gotten to know a bunch of the other interns, and I can say that we’re a laid back group of people. I’m excited to work with them!

Now that it’s July, we officially start residency. Even though I’m am FM resident, we still have to do 3 months of inpatient IM, which is what I start off with. You can’t see my face but I’m super excited to be starting on inpatient medicine, no really, just…so excited…

I ended up getting the weekend off, so I don’t have my first day until Monday. This kind of worries me in that the other two interns on IM start over the weekend and I’ll have a lot of catching up to do on Monday when I get there. Since I’m FM, I haven’t had to do a real IM rotation for a while, and only did one as an M4 and just our standard core IM rotations as an M3. I feel kind of screwed, and the panic is actually fueling my desire to cram as many internal medicine topics as possible. The other two interns working with me are actually IM interns and I will be the only non-IM intern on the service. This means they’ve probably done at least 6 months more of IM and IM subspecialty related rotations compared to me. Fantastic.

Anyway, I just wanted to say good luck to all the other interns out there who are starting residency. We can do it! Also if any seniors or attendings have tips for surviving intern year, let me know!

Honest Interview Answers

I think by now the M4s are sick of interviews. I’m now 2/3 done with mine. It really is the same song and dance over and over and over again. After a certain point you know what to expect and over time, you develop a perfected answer for every commonly asked interview question. The following is how applicants would answer questions if we truthfully said what we were really thinking.


“How was your trip into town?”

Time consuming and expensive.


“We have breakfast set up for you guys. Please help yourselves”

I’m already pretty sick of danish pastry spreads and mediocre coffee but I’m going to force myself to consume more because this is an interview


“What are your plans after the interview?”

Change into airplane clothes in a cramped hotel lobby bathroom


“I’m a resident, feel free to ask me anything you want. I promise I won’t tell anyone”

You seem pretty chill, but I’m scared this is a trap so instead, I’m going to ask you a pretty standard and safe question.


“How was the pre-interview dinner?”

  • Option 1: It was awkward. Your residents are weird
  • Option 2: Residents were cool but one of the other applicants was weird


“Describe to me what you’re looking for in a program”

Free food, good pay, no call.


“What do you do in your spare time?”

Binge-watch shows on Netflix.


“If you’re free from 1-5 you’re welcomed to stay for didactics”



“Do you have any more questions for me?”

No, just like how I didn’t have any more questions 5 minutes ago. Also, spoiler alert: I won’t have questions in 2 minutes when you ask me again.


“You’re not from the area. Why did you apply here?”

Because I want a f***ing job next year!

I’ve got 99 problems

It’s the third week of September. The DO residency applications have been open for a couple months, but the MD residency applications have just opened for submission a couple days ago.

I feel like everyone in my class has got their application stuff together, at least judging from the non-stop influx of social media posts I’ve been getting for the past week or so. Me on the other hand, am a hot mess.

I actually decided to apply to two specialties. I guess this isn’t entirely uncommon, but the biggest problem this is causing me (other than killing my bank account) is that 1.) I have to write another personal statement from scratch, and 2.) I’m short some letters of recommendation. Since I’m limited geographically, I’m applying to both the DO and MD match. This means my DO application for my second specialty is incredibly late and this isn’t even taking into consideration how late my letters are going to be. I know people that were getting interviews in July for this specialty, and I’m going to submit an application for it in the middle of September. Why?

Because I’m scared I’m not going to match if I only apply to one specialty. I’d rather drop the money now with a later application in a second specialty than realize in November that I don’t have enough interviews and scramble to apply to more programs as a last-ditch effort. Trying to add more programs then would really be too late. The real issue I had to think about was before applying to a second specialty was, “Could I see myself in this field? Would I be happy if I matched in this instead?”. And my answer is yes, mostly because the two fields are actually similar with a bit of overlap.

The anxiety is real- I’m having some problems sleeping. I seriously considered even taking a clinical/research year and applying for the match in 2018 so I could give myself a mental break, but I don’t think it’s feasible at this point. I feel like I’m stuck in a 50 foot deep hole where the only escape is to climb out. The problem is that I keep falling back in.




Pilonidal Cyst

“You saw bed 1 right? Tell me about him, briefly”

“Sure. Bobby is a 16 year old boy who is here complaining of a large pimple on his lower back. His mom said that yesterday it started to drain bloody pus.”

“Is the boy fat?”


“So what do we call this so-called pimple?”

I blankly stare at the attending.

“I don’t know”

“Sounds like a pilonidal cyst. Read about it when you go home and discuss with me tomorrow. Tell me about positive physical exam findings”

“Right. So on physical exam, there’s an open, 2 mm circular lesion draining blood-tinged pus. It is located midline in the—”

Buttcrack. The cyst was midline right in the kid’s buttcrack. But I can’t say buttcrack- that’s not the right medical term. How do you say it again? I know it’s gluteal something. Gluteal fold? No no, that’s different. Crap! How could I forget how to say buttcrack?!

I stare at the attending, hoping he gives me some kind of hint. He stares back at me, patiently waiting for me to finish describing my findings.

“It’s located uh…in the…uh…”

Don’t say buttcrack. Don’t say buttcrack. Don’t say buttcrack.

In desperation, I point at my own butt.

“It’s here. Except, you know, in the…uh…”


” …sacral area”

The attending raises an eyebrow.

“I think what you meant to say is gluteal cleft”

Damn it.

“Yes, the gluteal cleft”

He throws on his white coat.

“Okay cool. Let’s go drain it”



Well, it’s a new year. And the fact that it’s now 2016 means that it’s almost the class of 2017’s turn to gear up for residency applications.

How is my residency application prep going, you ask?

Oh, it’s going great. I totally know what I’m doing.

< Lays fetal >

But seriously, I’m a bit overwhelmed. I still need to:

  1. Figure out for sure what field I want to go into (the fact that this is #1 on the list is not a good sign)
  2. Write my Personal Statement for the field I want to go into (again, not 100% sure what I want to do)
  3. Get at least 3 great Letters of Recommendation
  4. Take COMLEX Level 2 PE and CE sometime this year
  5. Set up audition/elective rotations

With regards to #1, I’m about 70% set on the specialty I think I want to go into. The only problem is that I haven’t had my rotation in it yet. The issue this brings up is that I’m kind of blindly figuring out 4th year without really having concrete experience in this specialty. Is it possible that I’ll hate it and I would have applied for all these audition rotations in it for nothing? Yes. Does this scare me? A little bit, but to be honest I’ve pretty much ruled out almost everything else.

With that being said, I’ve been looking through VSAS at potential programs to apply to. I can already tell this is going to be a huge pain:

  1. Some programs require proof of taking the USMLE if you’re a DO student with a strict score cut-off. DO students who have only taken COMLEX are not considered
  2. Some programs want DO students to pay 5x more to submit a VSAS application compared to an MD student. We’re talking about $1,000+ just to submit an application.
  3. Some programs require multiple letters of recommendation as part of the application
  4. Some programs want you to also submit a copy of your Personal Statement (yeah because we’ve all typed one out already)
  5. Some programs want a statement of interest specific to their program
  6. Each program has it’s own health forms that need to be filled out and signed by your PCP. They’re all different.
  7. Some programs won’t review applications until late spring-early summer, which means we won’t hear back from them until the beginning of M4 year. Waiting to hear back from those programs perhaps weeks before my planned audition rotation is going to be a lot of fun and not at all stressful.


I can tell that this is going to be a fantastic year.


Pre-M3 year thoughts

It’s my last several days of M2-M3 limbo. It kind of sucks..I really liked being an M2. I knew how NSU works, I knew where I was supposed to go, I knew what to expect for our exams, and I got to help out M1s and give advice about pre-clinical classes. But, now I’m going to be an M3, where I’ll be entering a whole new arena. I’m going to be completely clueless. I’m going to have to regurgitate information verbally instead of on a multiple-guess styled exam. Everything will be different. I’m excited, but I’m nervous too. It reminds me of how I felt prior to starting medical school.

With rotations coming up so soon, I’ve been having a lot of thoughts about what I’m supposed to expect. I’ve obviously never done this before so the only thing I have to go off of are stories from other students and reading anecdotes online. After hearing about how other students’ rotations went, I have several pre-clinical anxiety-induced questions:

Is my attending going to be a jerk?

Will the residents and attending actually take the time to teach me things, or are they going to expect me to know what to do on the first day?

Is there going to be an M4 that can show me the ropes?

How exactly do I work the EMR system?

When am I going to eat?

Will I have time to pee urinate?

What if a patient codes on me?

What if I get ridiculed in front of everyone?

What if my attending thinks I’m an idiot?

What if my patients don’t like me?

What if I don’t know the proper medical term for something?

What if my coat pockets rip because I have too much crap in them?

How much professional attire should I buy to minimize doing laundry?

Should I wear a bullet-proof vest under my professional attire in case another student tries to gun me down?

Some of those questions are serious.

I went on amazon and bought things that I’ve heard M3s should have for rotations. Small notepads, black pens, colored pens, and pen lights, amongst other things specific to my rotation. I think I’m pretty stocked up now. I probably should order another white coat too. I should have done that earlier (i.e. anytime within the past two years).

I’m going to be making a Clinical Page on the menu but it won’t be ready or accessible for probably another 6 months or so. It’ll basically be an M3 survival guide meant to help out all M3s, not just those at NSUCOM. I’ll also add my Step 1 experience around that time if I feel like it/have the time to add another page. We’ll see. Maybe I won’t even have time to add the Clinical Page. I’ve heard rotations are crazy.

In the meantime, check back once in a while to see if I’m liking M3 year. I have no idea what I want to specialize in yet, so I’m going to try to be open minded about every rotation. I have some classmates that came into medical school with their mind set on a specialty and they’ve stuck with it through the years. How did they know so definitively that xyz was what they wanted to specialize in? Sometimes I can’t even decide what I want to eat for lunch, and when I do finally decide, half the time I wish I ate something else. I’m totally screwed, aren’t I? I hope one day during rotations it just hits me and I’ll have a “Ah-hah! This is what I want to do for the rest of my life!” moment.

Anyways, wish me luck! Into the abyss I go.