It has teased us from a distance for some time, but the first day of Student Internship finally arrived. We did not have the White Coat Ceremony in first or third year like many other medical schools, but today we had our badge “ceremony”, loosely defined. For two and a half years of clinical rotations we have worn generic navy-blue name badges and white coats. Today we received our pretty cream and red badges – and unofficially, nobody with such a badge is compelled to wear a white coat. Except in Urology, which incidentally is my first rotation.
For these last few months of the year, we will rotate with the “old” SIs, those who are graduating at the end of this year. Gives us a moment to get used to the whole shebang! For those who don’t know, Student Internship is the final 18 months of our medical training. It’s backbreaking work and very scary.
I have many hopes for this period. I want to work harder than I have ever worked before so that I will feel confident as a doctor in 18 months’ time. I want to be good to the juniors that I’ll work with next year. I want to stay healthy and sleep enough (which is a subjective experience, of course) – I finished so late today and almost did not have the energy to go for a run.
The gap between first semester of fifth year and the second semester (a.k.a. NOW) is huge. Just Friday I was a little student who was not expected to know too much. One golden weekend later and we are expected to be an almost-doctor. There is not that much difference between us and the fourth year students, but I look at the current sixth years and I can hardly believe that that will be us in twelve months.
During his speech, our course convener asked us what our most important textbook was right now. We tried various things. Talley & O’Connor! Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine! Nope. “The patient,” he said.
In high school, a family friend of ours (a retired Harvard Professor of Paediatrics and an incredible role model) once visited my house shortly after the school day finished. I was still in my school uniform, and at the time I had a heavy train of badges for various activities and committees on my tunic. He looked them over, reading everyone carefully and asking about each society. Finally he got to the very top badge – the name badge. He said, “Ah, now this is who you are. Your name is the most important of all your accomplishments.”
I hope I can remember that and not become conceited as my confidence grows.