It is difficult to put into words the level of frustration and despair that I have felt over the last few days watching the schizophrenic national response to this COVID-19 crisis and its detrimental effects on the work conditions of my colleagues. As an internal medicine physician working in Utah, it feels like it is the calm before the storm as emergency room and urgent care volumes are down as people try to socially distance to correct the spread of this virus. Other areas of the country are not so lucky.
The other day at work, there were a few employees that were unnecessarily spreading panic on a message board by comparing the novel coronavirus COVID-19 to the infections mentioned in Jared Diamond’s book Guns, Germs and Steel — one commenter wrote that “every once in a while in history an infection comes along like this.”
Realizing that we have both inpatient and outpatient months, which require different skill sets, I feel that it would be better to split these lists into both outpatient and inpatient suggestions. After a few month of being on outpatient rotations, here is my list of eight things to master in order to break the successful intern barrier in the outpatient world.
I got an email recently from one of the faculty at my program who prompted us to each evaluate the question “what does success in intern year look like?”
I feel like there are so many things to work on in medicine. I need to be more efficient at taking a history; I need to gather morning data more quickly; I should be better at chart review when I get a new admission; I need to be more thorough at following up on labs; I could write the H&P more quickly, and so on. I also feel, from time to time, I do poorly on one thing — maybe I stay at work way too long writing my H&P — and then I obsess over how I can get faster at it.