Monday, June 11, 2012

Reflections on intern year

... or was it worth it?

When it comes to intern years, I had a pretty benign one. Nonetheless, I learned a lot. The difference between a year ago and now is mostly a great build-up of confidence. Rather than freaking out with every small aspect of caring for a patient, I feel pretty comfortable with most cases, even some very serious ones. Yes, there is a lot of book knowledge and practical knowledge that I've built over the years and I certainly do feel more like a doctor. I've also had a lot of fun and made some good friends. However, was it worth it for me? Will I be a better radiologist after having gone through intern year. It's hard to tell now. Most radiologists I've asked remember almost nothing from their intern year and say that it is a waste of a year. Most internists I talk to say that the experience I've had in various fields on inpatient (and outpatient) medicine will make me a more effective radiologist. They say that I'll remember the patient's I've seen and those experiences will help me come up with a better diagnosis. I think that they're both wrong. I'm sure I'll remember some of what I've experienced this year and it will likely affect how I interpret images. However, rather than being better at making the right diagnosis, what I likely gained from this year is being able to communicate with various physicians of other specialties. It's definitely useful to know what others are interested in (or worried about) when your opinion is asked. In reality, I won't be able to tell whether this year was helpful to my career until I'm well into my career. Even then, I won't know whether what I did this year is better than having a 5-year, all radiology residency. All I can say is that it was (mostly) fun and I've had amazing experiences that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I can also say that, for at least one year, I felt like a real doctor.

 The only use for my stethoscope from now on (image source)

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