Dr (?) Intern Jun19

Dr (?) Intern

The heart beat goes up to 200, the blood pressure goes up to 180/100 mm hg, pupils are dilated, tremors (+) in bilateral upper limbs……… These are not the case notes of a patient but of a final year MBBS student when his results have just been declared. Well for all practical purposes, one is a doctor now. Oh yes, a lifelong dream of oneself, parents, family and society has been fulfilled.  For all practical purposes, just 12 months stand in between getting a registration number and a official prefix to one’s name. But wait, 12 months???? 12 is a year. A year is long enough for things to change. So what does a medical student do for 12 months after he passes his final exam ? For the uninitiated, the answer is INTERNSHIP. Now the definition of internship varies from hospital to hospital and sometimes even from a department to department in the same hospital. 1) In some places, an Intern is a mythical creature who exists on the record books, signs attendance register and then makes way to the hallowed sacred library to mug for post graduate entrance. 2) In a vast majority of places, an Intern is  a multipurpose health professional: works up few cases, collects blood samples and traces reports of all patients, runs around to fix scans, echos, EEGs, makes uses of convincing and oratory skills to arrange blood, and anything and everything that a postgraduate or senior resident would want him/her to do.  3) However in a few places, an intern is part of a treating team, takes part in the case discussion on rounds, presents cases, is made to test his clinical competence or the lack of it that he has acquired over four and a half years of medical education.  4) And in still fewer places, an intern is the one who calls all the shots and takes all the decisions especially when on call. So does internship actually become a life changing experience? Does the system make an intern a competent doctor who would be able to give primary care? Speaking from the viewpoint of one who has just completed internship in a system that is based on definition 2 and 3 above, the answer lies somewhere in the middle path rather than the extremes and it would also depend on the individual as much as it depends on the system. It’s a time when one gets to know more about their likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. But most of all, internship can be an opportunity that either strengthens or completely nullifies misconceptions and prejudices. Yours truly disliked surgery.  In fact before setting foot in the department, fear of clumsiness, fear of what if something goes wrong was being played out in the mind. But 6 weeks in the department…… hold your breath….. Nah, I still wouldn’t want to be a surgeon but it did remove a lot of prejudice and misconceptions that I had.  A realization that not all surgeons are gifted or born. Quite a few get where they are from practice was a comforting notion. Putting the first suture got me into quite a bit of tangle more than the suture!!! But there were post graduates/senior residents joking about how their first time was worse or funnier gave comfort. The good old adage “Practice makes one perfect” was epitomized with practice sessions on unlucky banana peels, leftover suture materials. Slowly the joy of scrubbing up,  getting to cut, putting the final sutures and even assisting a transplant began to sink in with admiration for the subject that I really had not given much thought. Every intern will have a story to tell on how internship changed perception of a subject. A male intern P deciding to choose OBG after 8 weeks of posting there will be the coup de triumph for the system called internship and...