Internship is a dramatic shift from being a student to a doctor. Even if you’re the most involved medical student, I don’t think it adequately prepares you for what’s to come.
I don’t know if the stories from previous interns really helped me prepare for internship… it did help me choose where to go for internship.
As I write this at 10:25am, sitting in the lab at work waiting, exhausted by the thought of my 56 hour shift, I sigh. My eyes are heavy and burning, I have a vague headache that seems to always be there. I slept for at least 7 hours last night but I’m still tired.
This tiredness, I feel, seems to be more than a lack of sleep, I feel drained. It feels difficult to juggle a life outside of work. When I go home I have no energy to do anything- even writing feels like an impossible chore.
The worst part is, it appears that this is expected and complaining about being tired or drained is met with “you have it so good- I remember when I was an intern blah blah blah”. It is accepted that I’m supposed to be tired and keep on pushing. That my life pauses for these 12 months.
In general, complaining and airing the inadequacies of the health system is not “encouraged” but with quick google searches you’ll see that the inadequacies of our system mirror (atleast partially) those of other countries. Long hours, not enough resources among others.
Keeping quiet about the hardships of working in the health system does nothing more than perpetuate the hardship. We have to be (more) open to constructive criticism and change which may bring about improvement.
Within my own space, I wonder how I can improve this experience for myself and those that come after me- even if it’s by emulating seniors who make my experience better.
With that, I know what I am feeling may not have been as bad as how those before me or even those at other hospitals may feel- but it doesn’t invalidate my experience… or theirs.
I am grateful to my colleagues who have made it easier- interns and seniors alike. I’m grateful to my mother and her support. I am grateful to the listening ears for when it’s just too much.
It’s safe to say, by the end of this article- a kind of dear diary post- many of you may be thinking what I’m thinking. That I, like many of of colleagues and seniors, am burnt out.
Thank you for reading.
Samantha C. Johnson
PS. While writing this my sister (one of my biggest support systems) sent me this:
(featured image is one of the many of me sleeping)