Let’s get to it, brand new intern. Here’s what you need to know for your internship:
- You are going to have questions. C’mon, who’s ever 100% comfortable reading lab work? Senior clinicians, other doctors, and your intern mates will help you. If they don’t want to help you, keep asking questions, eventually they will and they will feel good about it. Everyone inherently likes to help.
- Keep a list of all the cases you see, save records as templates, or find a file in your hospital’s database that has canned discharge instructions. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when typing discharges and to-go-home instructions for clients. Be efficient. Copying and pasting is easy. Just remember to change the names of the pet!
- Don’t be afraid to call on-call doctors about an emergency case, a potential surgery case, a neurological dog or cat, an exotics case, or an animal in respiratory distress. These cases are difficult, especially starting out, and they are on-call for a reason. It’s their job to consult over the phone!
- You will not have much free time, but when you do have free time, sleep outside. Buy a hammock or lounge chair or some sort of portable surface and sleep in the sunshine, take in the breeze, and listen to the sounds of nature. This is a great way to recharge and refocus and break the monotony of being inside all the time.
- Read publications and consensus statements. Knowledge obtained from these reports is super helpful in handling the more complex cases, and the easy ones too. They also help you elevate your clinical acumen and you definitely feel like more of a doctor when you can reference research findings to other clinicians and clients.
- Think slowly and try not to think out loud and ramble. This makes clinicians and clients feel like you don’t know what you’re talking about, even though you probably do. Try to get better at thinking internally, organizing your thoughts quietly, and then speaking coherently and with confidence about the case. This goes a long way and makes you look (and feel) really good.
- Drink lots of water throughout the day. It’s good for your skin, great for your brain, and it does wonders for your energy. And, try to cut down on the coffee. Give your adrenals a break – adrenal fatigue from excessive caffeine consumption is a real thing!
- Lastly, be patient with yourself and others. Learning and growing takes time. Remember, a giant oak tree (which converts CO2 to O2, provides a shelter for hundreds of animals and insects and bacteria and fungi, stores carbon, controls planetary climate, and improves human mental health) was once a tiny little acorn wedged in the cheeks of squirrel about to get eaten.