First Intern Day Fumbles

so today was my first day of my internship, and I started off on the hospital wards (meaning that I take care of patients who are currently hospitalized for one reason or another).

i started off the day bright and early, doe-eyed, scared, and anxious.  although the hospital was familiar to me, it was not familiar to me as one with responsibility.  i had grown so used to just kinda floating through the hospital, sprinkling my fairy dust of lame medical student notes that no one really reads nor cares about in order to get a pat on the head.  now, i had several random people greet me in the elevator (“how’s it going, doc?”), i have all these post-it-notes sticking out of binders asking for my signature, and if i forget something, people actually care!  scary… well, i’m getting too serious and introspective for what this post was set out to be.  so by the first 2 hours in the hospital, i already had 3 hilarious incidents happen to me.  i’ll go from most severe to least (which coincides with how they occurred chronologically).

1) I met the outgoing intern at 6:15AM in the hospital and he briefed me on the 5 patients i was taking on.  He told me specifically about one lady (we’ll call her “Mrs. White,” as i’m changing details to protect the innocent) who was a very mean and unkind patient, and warned me that she would be difficult.  I was dreading meeting her. Finally, I went to her bed in room 573 (still protecting the innocent here).  She was fast asleep and snoring loudly.  Great, i thought, now I have to wake her up and make her even more unhappy.  So i started shaking her arm, saying “GOOD MORNING MRS. WHITE!” She would only JUST barely open her eyes, and then go back to sleeping/snoring.  After about 45 seconds of this awkwardness, I then said, loudly, “I’M DR. AHN.  I’LL BE REPLACING DR. GREEN, AND I’D LIKE TO INTRODUCE MYSELF.” No response.  Finally, I just carried out my physical exam, and then walked on to see the next patient, in room 365.  When I got to the 3rd floor, I realized Mrs. White was actually in room 373, not room 573. I had totally just woken up, bothered, and done a physical exam on some random lady who was probably totally annoyed by this guy calling her the wrong name.

2) Next, for one of my other patients, I walked into his room and introduced myself.  The outgoing intern had told me all the basic details and stories for each of my 5 patients, and I wasn’t quite sure which one this guy was, but I figured I’d be able to pick up on things quickly by asking him, “How’s it going this morning?  How was your night?” Then, the guy starts complaining about how he never gets any sleep (which is very common… don’t go to the hospital to get sleep, btw) and how he’s super thirsty because they made him NPO (no food/drink).  This caught me off guard, and I looked at my sheets again, and realized he wasn’t one of my patients either.  Instead of telling him that I had him confused for someone else, I finished hearing him out and quickly excused myself.  … THANKFULLY, it ended up working out because he became my patient later that day.  whew!

3) Lastly, after about 2 hours of being in the hospital, I was walking around with my team (consisting of a resident, and 2 other interns).  We hear a short *beep*, and then one of the interns turns to the other intern and says, “is that your pager?” The other intern responds, “no, i think it’s his <and points to me>.” Shocked, I checked my pager and realized i had already been paged 3 times.  (The pager beeps like every 5 minutes when you haven’t checked the page).  I felt pretty n00b-status at that point because I hadn’t even recognized my own pager (it’s because it was handed off to me, and I didn’t recognize the pager ringtone).

enough stories for now… hopefully there won’t be too many more.