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Colleen Farrell, MD+ Your Authors @colleenmfarrell Internal medicine resident in New York City. Soon-to-be pulmonary and critical care fellow. Writer. Creator of @MedHumChat. Views mine. May. 04, 2020 2 min read + Your Authors

We are realizing that so many unrecognized healthcare workers are essential right now.

I want to take a moment to give a shoutout to the internal medicine interns (ie first year resident physicians in general adult medicine)...


To expand our #Covid_19 staff, doctors from a ton of different specialties, at various stages of training from intern to attending, have helped staff internal medicine as “super-interns.” I am so enormously grateful to them all. THANK YOU. 2/

However, plugging all these different docs into the internal medicine intern role has made me realize all the *expertise* the internal medicine interns have developed since July. Senior residents and attendings in other fields don’t know how to do a lot of this job! 3/

Again, I am so, so grateful for all our redeployed docs. From the bottom of my heart.

I just also want to acknowledge that interns are the lowest in the medical hierarchy and are sometimes treated as incompetent. Senior docs sometimes act like anyone could do the intern job 4/

What do internal medicine interns do? What do they know?
- they track down consultants, tell them about patients, get their help
- they order tests and MAKE THEM HAPPEN. Call radiology to protocol? Call schedulers? Help with tranpsort? Interns!

- they field and triage calls, pages and texts from nurses, from “hey doc patient had some questions” to “patient is hypotensive, evaluate now”
- they are often point of contact for family, forging relationships and figuring out family dynamics

- they order nearly all meds. Attending might say “add vancomycin” but you’ve got to know patients weight and renal function, know when to get trough, coordinate w pharmacist & nurse. The devil is in the (intern) details!
- they write notes keeping track of all that minutia 7/

Intern year is grueling. I remember feeling incompetent and simultaneously like I often wasn’t doing anything important. I was chronically sleep deprived. Our current interns are dealing with all that stress PLUS the pandemic. This is their first year as doctors.


Training other docs, including specialists in other fields, to function as internal medicine interns has made me deeply appreciate our internal medicine interns (that includes you, prelims!!). Our teams and patient care do not function without them. 9/

These aren’t the docs paraded in front of cameras for discoveries or influential leadership. But they are at the bedside, holding patients hands, making sure that all the small details come together for excellent patient care. Medicine interns: I see you and I appreciate you.

Also - I know interns in all other fields do tough and essential work. I see you and appreciate you. 🙏

I’m just feeling esp grateful for my field of internal medicine right now, which (alongside emergency medicine) is in many ways leading the care of patients with covid. /fin

You can follow @colleenmfarrell.


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