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What you can do to prepare for intern year

This one's for you, MS4s!

You matched! Congratulations!

Now what?!

After the initial shock and excitement about matching has worn off, you’re probably wondering what you can do to prepare for intern year. We’ll go more in depth about our separate intern year experiences in other posts but for now, let’s focus on how to prepare.

First piece of advice: RELAX!

We know that as type A medical students (we’ve been there!) we all struggle to enjoy our time off and want to over prepare ourselves for the next step. For you overachievers, we’ll provide some advice on what you can do ahead of time below. But you have been given the gift of time for the last few months of medical school before intern year so use it wisely! Spend that time going to dentist/doctors appointments, getting your hair done, moving to your new residency location, getting your car serviced, spending time with friends and family, traveling (!), getting organized, reading recreationally, and doing anything that you might not have time for once you start residency.

Tip: In the week before you start residency, meal prep a bunch of food (especially if you start on hospital wards or ICU!) so that you don’t have to stress about cooking. Making meals that are packed with veggies, protein, and are easily freezable are a great way to go!

If you’ve done all the relaxing you can possibly do, here are some things you can do to feel more prepared to start residency.

Firstly, OnlineMedEd (not sponsored) has a great intern guide book and video series that covers important topics, practical advice, and how-to’s for intern year. I (Catherine) as a transitional year (TY) resident found the book (and videos!) to be super helpful and pulled it out many times throughout the year during ICU and medicine floors! It’s definitely geared more towards prelim/categorical medicine/TY interns rather than categorical surgical specialties (like ortho).

If possible, try to get some hands on practice or at least review videos about certain procedures! For incoming surgical interns, if your school offers an applied surgical anatomy course or anatomy refresher that might be helpful to get a head start. These are by no means required and neither of us did a “boot camp” offered by our medical school, but it can be comforting to have had at least some practice by the time you start. For instance, I (Catherine) had never placed a central line or arterial line in medical school, but did these procedures during my ICU rotation. Before I started the rotation, I watched several videos on how to perform these procedures and during the rotation was taught by my upper level residents. The first time was definitely tricky, but I felt more confident the second time around! If you did away rotations your third/fourth year you should be well prepared. Again, none of these things are required, but it did help alleviate some anxiety.

Overall, it is not completely necessary to prepare for intern year. Enjoying your last few months of freedom, settling into your new home, and spending time with people you love will benefit you the most. However, if you feel like you need something to do, feel free to follow our tips above and you will be more than ready.

The transition from medical student to doctor is a tough one and in all honesty, the first few months are a challenge. All of a sudden nurses and staff call you “doctor” and you are now the one in charge of making decisions (with the help of your upper level residents and attending of course).

But, all that being said, you can do this! You have been training your whole life (literally) for this and once you are about a month into intern year, you will feel so much more confident.

Congrats, Doc!


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