Day 1: Student Internship

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.

the patient your most important textbook

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.


  1. says:

    Good luck, so proud of you!! Love Us at Clarrie!! Xxx
    Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom – let your email find you!

    1. Thank you Mrs Harri! Missing you all!

  2. Jane says:

    Thanks for linking up with Medical Mondays. What great advice “your name is the most important of all your accomplishments”, reminds me of what I was always told: Remember who you are. Good luck this year!

  3. Good luck! I don’t care how true it isn’t, but I always picture your experience like Grey’s Anatomy (don’t shoot me).

    1. Thank you! I love Grey’s Anatomy. There are similarities for sure – I wish we had a nice hospital like that though!

  4. Emma says:

    So great to have you as part of our Medical Monday community! Thank you for linking up! Great advice! I’m sure you won’t forget it! 🙂

  5. BandileMsimanga says:

    Woooow! What a cool doctor you will be! I read all your Medicine-related posts and I must say, they are amazing! I’m coming to Stellenbosch University next year to study MBChB. You’ve given me an idea of what to expect! Stay cool! I hope to see you next year!

    1. That’s WONDERFUL! Congrats on the acceptance, I am sure you will LOVE it. Sent you an email 🙂

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