Interns come in so many different flavors, and it can be hard to be a senior resident. Being a senior is a unique skill, and so I hope that I can provide a little guidance.
- the stupid — his fund of knowledge is bankrupt.
- the slacker — rounding on time? Not this guy.
- the cluttered — Most labcoats have 5 pockets. This 'tern needs more.
- the superstar — what I told one of my superstar 'terns: "I love having you on service. I get to eat a nice long breakfast."
- the casual — He is completely frustrating in his unflappability. You'd swear he smokes pot.
- the procedurist — He is single-minded in his focus to do every humanly possible procedure. But H+P? Pass.
- the overwhelmed — One of my interns spent 4 hours doing an H+P. Think about that. FOUR HOURS.
- the workaholic — His solution to all problems is work harder. While admirable, not always the best policy.
- the earnest — "Well, I didn't document a skin exam because I didn't look at all of his skin, just his head, neck, chest, admonen, and legs." An actual quote.
- the overconfident — He does not know what he does not know.
- the disrespectful — I had one intern who was so disrespectful that I actually told him, "What makes you think you know anything?" I am not above putting a disrespectful intern in his place.
- the unprofessional — All the above, while quirky, are just aspects of all of our personalities. At some point in time, we were all one of these flavors of intern. But without fail, the most dangerous intern is the unprofessional one. From a core competencies standpoint, knowledge can be taught, systems can be navigated, practice based learning speaks for itself, communication can be instructed, but you can't teach how to be professional. One of my attendings said something profound on the matter: "Ifinding, tell me, how do you teach someone that lying is wrong? I don't have a fix for that."
It may sound like I'm hating on the interns, but the truth of the matter is this: if you are an intern, there are only two things that any senior resident are looking for. He wants you to (1) work hard and (2) give a damn. Everything else can be taught. And my favorite interns aren't the smartest or most talented, but the ones who I called at 4AM and still got the job done.
I'm sure that I'm forgetting about some flavors of interns. Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite flavor of intern.