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Pre-lim medicine intern, and I hate my life. A little perspective, please?

Discussion in 'Internal Medicine and IM Subspecialties' started by combatwombat, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. combatwombat

    combatwombat 7+ Year Member

    Jul 19, 2008
    I am 3 months into my pre-lim medicine intern year. IM was never my strong suit, but to get to my subspecialty I have to complete a year.

    I expected intern year to be tough when I started. But I now find myself suffering beyond anything I had ever dreampt. At work I feel more like a bureaucrat than a doctor, and it's an extremely rare occasion where I feel like I've actually helped anybody. Most of the time, I feel like my job is just to grind out paperwork so that the hospital can get paid and be shielded from legal liability.

    The program I am at makes a decent effort at education. However pressures from clinical responsibilities are so high that I often wish they would just cancel all didactics so I can have a chance of getting home in time to make a real dinner, instead of the same heat and eat microwave meals I now live off of.

    The worst part of it all is that I go home every day feeling like a failure. If there were some reward to the work I do - if there were something to show for all the stress and anguish - then I wouldn't feel so bad about it. But all I have to show for my effort is a stack of dicatations. Attendings are casually derisive of my work, residents mostly ignore me, and my co-interns are sympathetic in a distant "I-know-you're-suffering-too-but-I-can't-help" sort of way. My work is pointless, I'm learning almost nothing, and I'm not helping anyone. I hate my life right now. If I could go back in time, I'd have chosen dental school if I knew this was in the cards.

    Am I just looking at this the wrong way? Do any of you categorical IM residents feel differently about the work you do? I've tried to talk to my fellow interns about finding meaning in hospitalist work, but they mostly just grit their teeth and talk about all the money they'll make as oncologists one day.
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  3. Gastrapathy

    Gastrapathy no longer apathetic Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2007
    You are learning. It's hard to process what you are learning when you're still in the crucible. It gets easier although not necessarily more pleasant. Just keep swimming and it will be over before you know it.
  4. jdh71

    jdh71 epiphany at nine thousand six hundred feet Physician 10+ Year Member

    Dec 14, 2006
    FEMA Camp, USA
    Hm. Did you think all of the talk about how intern year was hard was all nonsense? I mean what you describe seems like par for the course.

    I don't think you're going to get a lot of sympathy, outside of commiseration from those also going through it and knowing responses from us that have "been there, done that" - we will probably remind you depending on when we trained that we also didn't have your same work hour restrictions.

    You go off into rads or anesthesia land next year, you can't without this year, so suck it up. Don't complain too much at work because no one likes to hear it. Though bitching at the bar over a few cold ones with fellow travelers seems to help many people (just don't do it more than once per week).

    Get your sleep. Make sure you exercise when you can. Eat healthy. This too will pass.
    DermViser likes this.
  5. mrpankration

    mrpankration Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 19, 2005
    By this time next year, all of the feelings you are now having will seem irrelevant. Don't overthink things, just do your job, take care of your patients to the best of your ability, and before you know it this year will be over and will seem like a giant blur.
  6. UCLA2014


    Mar 23, 2014
    Right there with you.

    I'm seriously miserable, and I feel like I'm learning nothing that will contribute to my future specialty.
  7. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 2009
    You're a prelim Medicine intern. See the internship thread in the Radiology forum - where people are complaining about their hard internships. Your job is to get thru the year with no major hiccups. That's it. Dare I say, you can even be a little lazy near the end few months. I think one user said the saying "They can't stop the clock". Remember that. And then thank your stars that you're doing whatever specialty you're going into after your prelim.
    pinecat likes this.
  8. drfunktacular

    drfunktacular ANA ≠ SLE Physician 10+ Year Member

    Oct 5, 2004
    Internship is hard for everybody, in every specialty. You are used to being a genius, being good at everything, knowing what is going on. Internship is part of the process of breaking all that down and teaching you what it actually means to be a doctor (hint: it's not always fun and rewarding). Nobody likes feeling like they don't know what's going on and they aren't making meaningful contributions, but everybody has to go through it. Even William Osler probably felt like that at one point or another. The kind of doctor you will be in the future depends much more on how you handle this year than anything that has come before it--you have to learn patience, compassion, tolerance of drudgery, being cool under pressure or when you're pissed off or frustrated. The interns in general surgery are not having any more fun than you are, believe me. Everybody has a low point sometime during their internship--mine was around January or February. But you just have to keep going in every day and doing your stuff. Eventually all the nonsense and drudgery and paperwork and boredom and feelings of inadequacy just start to fade into the background and you realize you are making actual decisions and doing actual medicine, and you can do all the BS on autopilot. Internship is kind of like biochem in college: it's a bunch of stuff you have to learn how to do to then be able to learn how to be a doctor.
    DermViser and rokshana like this.
  9. bakanoisha

    bakanoisha 5+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2009
    I'm an IM R2 and feel the same way. It's disgusting. You're an indentured servant, the charade of residency being for "training" is complete BS in my program. I work, work, work, work, and work. I could have skipped residency altogether as I get nothing from other than free access to UpToDate, which I get to use only rarely when I have enough time to actually read about my patients.

    At this point, many people look at it like you do. I hear it every day. It's too late for us, but the best you can do is ride it out. You'll feel terrible, and you'll hate it, but please just remember to talk to people when things get bad so you can keep perspective on the big picture, which for you ends in several months. Depression, suicidal ideation, etc. all all-too-common in residents... seeking help and having people to talk to is exceptionally important when you feel this bad.
  10. dozitgetchahi

    dozitgetchahi 7+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2008
    Yeah, I was gonna least the OP has only one year of this BS to put up with. We have three before we (hopefully) can bail out to the promised land of sub-specialty training.

    Although as I work more this year I do feel like I'm starting to really get a good handle on things. Agree with you on the reading time, however. We need more of it. A lot more.
  11. PlutoBoy

    PlutoBoy Sic transit gloria mundi 7+ Year Member

    Nov 19, 2009
    The promised land is real only if you do GI, Rheum, Heme, Endo, or Allergy! The rest pretty much suck just as much as internal medicine.

    Above all, stay away from nephrology...

    Half jokes aside most of us felt like this at some point. But you know what? We don't even realize how much we are learning in that year! The eye opener is the second year when a whole new batch of incompetent people come in to make you look good :D

    Really. That is when you notice how much you learned during intern year. When the new batch looks up to you and start asking you questions and you realize "Hmmm... I actually know this and can teach these guys something. I am valuable!"

    So don't worry! You are all learning and it will be over before you know it :)
  12. drfunktacular

    drfunktacular ANA ≠ SLE Physician 10+ Year Member

    Oct 5, 2004
    Yeah and the really important point here is that you should just do rheum

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    PlutoBoy likes this.

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