Tips For New Doctors: Things To Do During Your Last Summer Before Internship

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Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of finding out that I had passed my final year of med school; and on Friday a new group of young doctors was born. I’m so excited to welcome them as my colleagues!

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As I write this, I’m sure that most of them are in a deep slumber trying to catch up on all the sleep they missed out on this year. I am jealously thinking about the summer holiday they have ahead of them, so I made a list of things I think one should do before starting your first official job as a doctor.

1. SLEEP

If you don’t sleep a lot during your last big holiday I might actually disown you.

2. Do what you’ve been dreaming of all year

In my case it was spending the festive season with my family; for others, it was traveling. DO IT NOW. You deserve it.

3. Declutter

Chances are you’ll be moving into a new place – maybe even a new city! Instead of chucking everything your own into boxes, spend some time going through the detritus of your life and getting rid of things you don’t need or don’t use. Haven’t worn that all year? Chuck it. It’s the age of minimalism – dust is gross and moving companies are expensive. If it’s old and gross throw it away; if someone might still use it, donate it to a charity shop.

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Some awesome articles here – click for source.

4. Buy a car

(or start looking) I didn’t have a car, and I waited too long to start the process of getting one. If you have your formal letter of appointment from the hospital, most financiers will forego the requirement of “three payslips”. Trust me: test-driving cars when you’re post-call because you avoided it all summer is NOT ideal.

5. Sort out your: banking, investments, life insurance, medical aid, etc.

As in #4, this kind of admin is REALLY hard to get to when you’re trying to settle into your new job as a doctor. Spend some time trying to understand all the financial jargon and while you’re at it, make sure you save everything in a dedicated folder on your computer so you can access it easily.

6. Get into an exercise routine

My theory is that it’s easier to adjust a routine than to start one. No doubt your call schedule will wreck havoc with you; but if you are at least comfortable with some form of exercise before starting your busy intern-life, it will be easier to adjust. (And I trust that as young doctors, I don’t need to convince you of the importance of exercising.)

7. Get Mom to teach you how to make some easy meals

I mean, you will be able to afford ready-made meals, but surely you have better things to spend your new salary on?

8. Get a tan

I mean, without inducing melanoma of course. You have a whole month to laze in the sun. Enjoy it!

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9. Get your scripts renewed, and attend to your immediate health needs

You’d be amazed how easy it is to postpone appointments when it comes to your own health: GP, Gyno, Dentist, Optometrist… Get your six-month repeats now, order your new glasses now, get your cavities filled now, and get your Loop now. You’ll thank me later.

10. Make certified copies of all your documents

Come 31 December, you’ll suddenly be informed that you need certified copies of everything (yes, including your Matric certificate, so start hunting for that!) as well as a curriculum vitae when you report to hospital for the first time. And believe me, the last place you want to be on New Years’ Eve is a police station. Consider yourself informed.🙂

11. You do you, babe

I can give you all the advice I want, but ultimately it’s your final long holiday to enjoy: so do what you need to do!

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11 thoughts on “Tips For New Doctors: Things To Do During Your Last Summer Before Internship

  1. Thanks for the tips Doc!
    Just wondering, whilst in med school, is there anything you can do to get a leg up in terms of specialising in the future?

    • Hi Craig – that is actually a hotly debated topic. Nobody is very forthcoming with how posts for specialising are allocated, so at best this is speculative, but it seems that getting involved in research – and especially if you manage to get your research, however small, published – is a huuuuuuuge benefit. Even something as simple as a case study!

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