“Hello, I’m Dr. _____”: Reflections on Intern Orientation

by Admin 1. July 2015 05:13

A lone sailboat made its way against the wind and rippling waves to a distant somewhere against the orange and purple hues of the evening sky. As I stared out into the sea, I almost forgot that I was in a new city surrounded by people who just days ago were complete strangers: co-interns and residents, program directors, staff, and their families. I've never felt more at home than I did that day on our intern beach retreat to Sand Key.

Looking back on day one of orientation, I vividly recall feeling a rush of excitement and a steady trickle of apprehension as I stepped into the hospital and past the hallway of bright, colorful walls. The day consisted of introductions (as newly minted Dr.’s), fun facts, and get-to-know-you games. I quickly grew to learn that my co-interns were a diverse, talented bunch hailing from various medical schools and regions across the country. Amongst us were an avid swing dancer, childhood cancer survivor, first grade handwriting champion, and our very own “Dr. Phil.” Many of us had spent well over 80.8 percent of our lives in school and the newfound role and responsibility embodied within two letters behind our names was a new experience, one that we reflected upon together.

As our program director, Dr. Hernandez, so eloquently described, “Orientation training, like residency, has its moments of systole but after the rush is over, diastole follows.” In a whirlwind of a week, staff from all areas of the hospital came out to meet and greet us. Pharmacy, Nursing, Nutrition, and Case management were amongst some of the staff eager to offer their services. Child Life even demonstrated various techniques on how to calm an anxious child utilizing sickly versions of Pluto and Mr. Potato Head stuffed toys, all with their very own miniature NG tubes, splints, and casts. We learned how to access and utilize the EMR, resuscitate neonates, and navigate around the hospital via scavenger hunt. But the highlight of orientation was participating in our program's first "Love Fest", a long-time Hopkins tradition recently inaugurated at ACH JHM . The session was an afternoon filled with much tears, laughter, and applause for various residents, staff and leaders throughout the residency program and hospital.

And then in keeping a steady pace, we embarked on two full days of heart pumping with Pediatric Advanced Life Support training. By the end of the week, we were participating in a mock code simulation run by a seasoned PICU attending from Hopkins. As we ran through the scenario of a child in full-blown status epilepticus, I looked around me and felt a sense of camaraderie with my team. Interns and rising second year residents worked side-by-side to resuscitate and stabilize the patient. In that moment, I came to the realization that residency doesn’t have to feel like you’re the lone boat sailing off into an unfamiliar territory. In addition to the resources and support of an extraordinary program, I am also surrounded by individuals who are equally passionate and driven to make this journey with me.

Our attending turned to us and asked if we were sure we would like to proceed with administering a dose of Lorazepam.

Together we chimed, “Trust us, we’re interns.”

Claudia Phen, M.D., PGY-1

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