I am an intern again. Not literally.
I still remember some of the raw emotions from my first few weeks of internship at Hahnemann Hospital at Drexel in Philadelphia. July 2005.
I was afraid.
I was afraid of actually being responsible for things, and making a mistake.
I felt clueless.
I felt clueless, because I was in a new place, unfamiliar with all the rules and regulations. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t who or where to call for help.
I felt pressure.
I felt pressure to impress. I knew a lot was riding on my performance and I wanted to impress my senior residents, faculty and program directors.
I feared the fire.
I feared being the only physician around when a patient was crashing, with the task of putting out the proverbial fires.
“Where’s my senior?”
I constantly needed my senior resident to guide and educate me.
But above any negativity, I was excited.
I was excited because despite the fear, pressure and lack of knowledge, I was given a rare opportunity to make a difference. Despite having worked hard for this opportunity, I still felt lucky to be given the chance to be a physician.
Almost ten years later, I feel like an intern again.
Recently, I was given the incredible opportunity to be Co-Program director of our Med-Pedes combined residency program here at Stony Brook. I couldn’t be happier, despite experiencing some of these same intern emotions.
I am afraid once again of making mistakes. You never want to mess up with other peoples’ careers in your hands.
I feel clueless once again, dealing with all sorts of new regulations, accreditation bodies and numerous new administrative responsibilities.
I feel pressure once again, to make the program even more successful than it already is. As always, there are people above watching. You want them to know they made the right choice.
There are still fires to put out, but different.
I still need a “senior resident.” My more experienced Co-PD and other faculty mentors have been incredibly supportive and helpful with my transition to this position. Not a day goes by that I don’t have questions.
But most importantly I am excited, yet again. Despite a recurrence of some challenging emotions, they are overridden with an immense sense of pride and excitement to be given the opportunity to serve an absolutely wonderful cast of residents.
The years have changed, but the message hasn’t. You have to keep pushing yourself to the next internship. You have to keep putting yourself in positions that are not in your comfort zone. Only through this process, can you grow as a person and eventually be given opportunities to make an impact.