Almost every resident and attending will tell you that nothing prepares you for your first day of residency. I will tell you the same thing, but that said I have to admit that the Larner College of Medicine prepared me as well as possible. The transition to residency can be rocky, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of the residents and attendings at the University of Vermont Medical Center, I felt ready to start my intern year at UMass Memorial Medical Center. I can’t say it has been easy. For one thing, UMass was still on paper charts when I arrived, along with about seven different electronic medical record systems. Thankfully after about three months, I got to endure and assist in the transition to Epic, an electronic health record system that stands to make our work easier. There were times I had to run up five flights of stairs to check a patient’s file as well as learn my way around the three different hospitals in the UMass system. Now four and half months into my intern year I can confidently say I’m getting the hang of this intern thing.
I’m one of seven categorical general surgery residents in my year, along with five preliminary residents. We mainly cover two different hospitals, UMass Memorial Campus and UMass University campus, although I started my first day of residency at St. Vincent’s, the local private hospital where we rotate. The medical students at UMass are just as curious and hardworking as I remember my classmates and I were. The feeling of community at UMass is similar to UVM Medical Center even though it is a much larger facility. There is a sense of a shared purpose, to care for the patient, that rises above all else. But, in my short time as an intern I can see how people burn out, get jaded, or forget why they got into the medical field. With the long hours and seemingly relentless amount of reading and studying that is required of residents, it is sometimes difficult to remember the best parts of medicine. From being worried about getting something wrong, to the thankless work of interns and medical students, I admit it is sometimes hard to remain resilient and positive.
I am thankful that I had wonderful peers at the Larner College of Medicine and now in my residency program at UMass. I feed off of my senior residents who are so knowledgeable and able to communicate so well with patients and other treatment teams. I was lucky to learn from amazing residents and physicians at UVM, and the teamwork and communication skills I learned there have helped me immensely. The exemplary physicians I saw at UVM have helped shape the physician I hope to be, and I think of them often.