Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Are You Sure You Are An Intern?

I have meet several other spouses of physicians, and I have discovered some disparities between our intern year (way back then) and interns now (2012). I know that some things changed, but could they really have changed that much?

They are so different, in fact, that I am not even sure that they are interns.

My evidence:

1. In the middle of the week while at my local grocery store at approximately 10:00 am I spotted the said intern with one of his children casually shopping the way a person does when they don't have anything else to do that day. (I remember when I used to shop like that). I said hello to him, but I think he was a little shocked and embarrassed to be "caught". I was in a hurry so I moved on, there is work to be done.

2. The same individual was observed on another day, also during the late morning, taking a solo bike ride - in full gear, the kind you would wear for a really long bike ride. I knew it was him because he pulled his bike into his garage. That is odd. This as I am racing down the street in my van shuttling children between one activity or another.

Of course I only have my own experience to base these two separate events on, but having my husband home during the middle of the day, even during our intern year - which I thought was cake compared to  what would come - happened NEVER. It certainly didn't happen twice within the same month!

I know I am being a bit harsh, but both times it struck me as odd that he wasn't at least in his scrubs, or looking haggard and worn out. Where was the 5:00 shadow, or the dark circles under red eyes, or the disheveled hair looking like they haven't showered in 24 hours because they haven't!  Instead he looked refreshed, relaxed, like he didn't have a care in the world. How is that possible?

Maybe he was on a research month? Maybe he took some time off? Maybe there is some reasonable explanation for why he wasn't at the hospital.

Is internship so laid back now that I can't even recognize it?

I don't know if that is helpful to new interns. They are going to be in for a rude awakening come residency when IT happens. Unless they have watered that down too.

(This is where my husband would say that I am just jealous and I stick my tongue out at him)



  1. Hmm...that def sounds suspicious. I'd guess he's on a research month. Either that, or he's on night float and is one of those annoyingly chipper people who doesn't need sleep, so he looks totally fine. All of the interns I know are basically blurs...because they're just running around at all times.

  2. With the new regulations for interns, I find that many have a more laid back cocky attitude. I hear stories and just drop my jaw at how entitled some of them sound. I know it frustrates those PGY 3-5... you know before the luxury of restricted hours. Okay, so maybe I am bitter too? I vividly remember the Q2s and the 90+ hour work weeks that our family endured.

  3. Even with the new regulations, my husband's intern year was brutal! He was definitely never home in the middle of the day unless he was post call and had been operating all night. And if that was the case he crashed the second he walked in the door! Definitely suspicious ;)

  4. We're dinosaurs. When Doc H was in training, he didn't have the 80 hour work week law in effect. I'm sure those moments of luxury were far from his reality.

  5. Haha, my husband's intern year (last year) wasn't like that at all! He rarely had a weekend day off, so usually his 4 days off a month landed on weekdays. But he'd be practically comatose on the couch those days from what I can gather.... I was always at work, but he'd pretty much do nothing on his days off. Too tired for shopping or biking for sure.

  6. What BS! Based on how "hard" some of the interns work at my husband's surgical program I would not be surprised if that guy is just one of the flakes who does what he wants and thinks he's big stuff now that he's an MD (yet still hasn't mastered central lines or orders that don't kill people). Bitter much? Yes. These new intern hours are a complete nightmare. My husband is doing intern year 3 years in a row. And when he's a PGY4--there is a good guarantee he will still be the "junior/ie intern" for a few rotations because our program is small...usually 1 intern, 1 junior (3rd or 4th yr) and 1 senior (4th or 5th yr). Sometimes 4th year is considered junior/senior with just an intern below him/her. I'm going to send those interns some special brownies that will send them to the toilet just to give them something to do!

  7. Well, I don't know, but we're MS4 and that sounds promising :) though completely not what I'm expecting...

  8. My husband was an intern after the restrictions were in place. They would go in at unGodly hours, work, then stop to go "clock in" or whatever it was they did to keep track of them, and then go back to work. Apparently they would have been total flops at morning rounds if there weren't there at 4:30 am to prepare. I guess the programs considered this study on their own time? Nevertheless, my H was a total wreck that year, even with the alleged hour restrictions.

    1. Sorry for the stinky hours, however it is really refreshing to see that there are still MDs who care about getting the proper training and being completely prepared. Now if the snots here could get a wiff of that ambition and drive.....

  9. My husband is in 3rd year of a med/peds residency and the change in hours has been drastic. He still is the very definition of the haggard, 5:00 shadow some weeks, others it's been 40 hours a week or so. The first two years though, before hour restrictions, especially the first year, he worked up to 120 hours a week at times, it was crazy. He's on about 12 hour days (minimum) right now, on a night rotation, in the Childrens Hospital for 2 weeks with one day off and a half day off for an exam next Monday. I sure hope the guy you saw is on a research month or just an easy month because they don't come around often enough for us, and I agree, he's usually pretty tired or worn out for much besides a quick jog and wherever I drag him out to be social but it's not a long bike ride in full gear or shopping in the middle of the day (unless he's completely out of PB&J and it's his comfort food so he'll roll into Publix in scrubs after work, glasses instead of contacts, scruffy beard down his neck since he hasn't shaved in over a week, and dark circles under his eyes. The man does love his PB&J)

  10. I've heard from lots of interns nowadays that they often feel like older docs have a hugely condescending attitude towards them. As if it wasn't hard enough to earn respect as an intern, knowing that you have two strikes against you because you aren't being forced to work 100 hours a week sounds a bit daunting. But I guess I'll take those 2 strikes over a 100+ hour workweek :-)


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