July is the beginning of the new year, well in medicine at least in terms of training. (while in some instances the training year might start the middle of June, July is the common cut off point) Nursing schools start their new programs, medical schools start the rotations, and residencies start their training.
If you go to a teaching hospital, in some ways this could be scary. The “nurse” could just be starting their rotations and a freshly graduated doctor might be the ones giving the “orders” Well, usually those orders are more like requests, because after 4 years of medical school, while you have the title doctor attached to your name, your true training has begun. The two years of classes and two years of rotations have nothing on the training that you are about to learn.
These newly minted doctors do not have their licenses yet, and cannot practice on their own, so there is another doctor, an attending, constantly looking over their shoulder for the year. Hopefully understanding, at least initially, and always teaching them. However, there is never a more watched group of people. While still in medical school, patients don’t expect much from the student (Sorry to those that are insulted, but from the aspect of the student you are still learning). However, once that title is attached to your name, you are a doctor, and even though 2 months ago you had the same knowledge in your head, you did not have the same expectations laid upon you. The newly minted doctor is practicing under someone else’s license and that makes all the difference in the world.
There is nothing scarier than the first code you experience as a doctor. If anyone remembers the first year of the show “Scrubs” where the newly minted doctors were hiding in a linen closet, well that is accurate, at least in that is how many would like to act. Because a code is stressful, and unlike many other aspects in medicine it is truly life and death, and you are expected to know and command the situation. At least initially, I stuck to chest compressions, I knew how to do that. However, as training goes on, you have to learn to lead, to command, to be a physician.
The year is scary, it is stressful, and yet, I don’t think there was any year of my life which I learned more. It is a necessary trial by fire, because in three short years, you will no longer have backup, those patients become your patients. And they are all looking to you. So good luck, new residents. Take advantage of the learning experience. Live the “See one, do one, teach one,” mantra. After all people will be looking to you in the future to continue the grand tradition.