4 Minute Read
Intern Year, Day One:
I’m not sure what I expected. Over the last three months since Match Day, I had binge watched seasons one through eleven of Grey’s Anatomy, but I figured that depiction was too dramatic. I was nervous, but expectedly so, since I had been assigned placement in the medical intensive care unit (ICU) for my first month of residency. This meant my patients would be more sick than the typical hospital patient, and would require a higher level of care than I was used to providing (I had not done an ICU rotation in medical school). So I arrived to the hospital early on my first day, sporting gray scrubs I had purchased in medical school, equipped with multi colored ink pens and a stethoscope, ready to save a life.
The interns were immediately given patient lists and told to go examine each of our patients and write progress notes on them in the next two hours before “morning rounds” (when the attending physician AKA everybody’s boss and the rest of the medical team come together to discuss each patient and come up with a treatment plan). Although we had an orientation to the computer system in previous weeks, actually doing the things we had practiced before seemed much more complicated. By the time rounds started, I had only completed the notes on one of my patients and was struggling to remember how to properly present my patient to the attending (the formal way to summarize a patient’s information on rounds).
To make matters worse, one of my co-interns seemed to have EVERYTHING together. For the sake of anonymity, we’ll call her Ashley: a smiling, spunky girl with shoulder length blonde hair and a hilarious laugh. She had written all her notes, and even had time to look up the latest research articles that were pertinent to her patient’s treatment plans. As she presented her first patient, occasionally interjecting jokes and funny anecdotes, I noted that everyone on the team sported looks of pleasant surprise on their faces. Despite myself I began to feel inferior. I felt like I didn’t belong there. I felt as though maybe, I had swindled the admissions committee into accepting me, but wasn’t truly qualified.
The day went on without too many hitches. I presented my patients, admitting that I hadn’t had the time to do as thorough of a job as I should have. I fumbled through ordering medications for patients on the unfamiliar system. I was frustrated with the second year residents when they helped me with things I felt I already knew how to do. I was also frustrated when they didn’t provide enough guidance on the things I had no idea how to do. By the end of my 12 hour shift, I felt like I had just barely survived. Looking back on that day six months ago, I chuckle to myself because there were MUCH harder days to come. And ofcourse, as with most days, there were better days to come as well. I was on the precipice of a wild journey, one of the hardest and simultaneously most rewarding years of my life.
I was recently watching a video of the phenomenal Brandon Stanton (the photographer behind Humans of New York, and one of my biggest inspirations) when he said something profound. Allow me to paraphrase: people’s opinions, beliefs and even values don’t make them unique. Any belief you have, any opinion or value you hold is also shared by someone else in the world. The thing that makes you special is your story. NO ONE ELSE has the same story, or set of experiences, as you. People’s stories have a distinctive power to help us learn and grow from each other because they speak to the heart and soul of who we truly are: humans, just trying to figure things out. We love, we hurt, we fail, we grow, and we try to find joy and truth as best we can.
Not Another Doctor Blog (click here to see where the blog got its name!) will be a collection of stories about my journey through medical school and residency (don’t worry, I won’t be giving out any patients’ private or identifying information! #HIPAA), as well as some key lessons I’ve learned about success. I hope to learn more about myself by analyzing my experiences, and I hope you are able to learn more about yourself and about life by looking through my eyes as well.
As a quick introduction, my patients call me Dr. Oye, and I’m currently an internal medicine preliminary intern at an urban academic residency program on the east coast. I matched into a large Dermatology program in the northeast, and I’ll be starting that in about 6 months. I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA, as a child of two Nigerian immigrants, with two amazing younger brothers. Outside of medicine, I am most passionate about poetry, spoken word performance, and storytelling, and I perform wherever and whenever I can.
I am extremely excited to take you on this phenomenal journey called residency with me. You’ll hear about the time I chased a half naked patient down the hospital hallway, the time a patient called me a b*tch in public, and even the time a patient punched my attending in the face. I’ll tell you about my first panic attack, and the first time I had to tell a person their family member was dying, or the first time I felt a patient’s ribs cracking during CPR. You’ll hear about the time I got away with wearing a crop top to work, what an 80 hour work week feels like, and all the many times I secretly went to twerk in the bathroom to calm my nerves (it really works).
Although I have had a slew of amusing experiences so far, at six months into residency, I truly feel that the best stories are yet to come. I hope you decide to stay on for the ride!
Disclaimer All names, dates, diseases, or any identifying details of patients or physicians in my stories have been changed to protect their privacy.