For those who are doing a transitional or preliminary year prior to residency training, an easy intern year seems incredibly appealing. Having gone through the interview trail, I noted that some programs sold their intern year based on how cush it was – great hours, small patient load, moonlighting opportunities, plenty of time to study for USMLE Step 3, etc.This sounds wonderful! Let me ease my way into becoming a physician, make this mandatory first year as painless as possible, and then start my “real training” in residency. And this is where the peril of laziness becomes evident.
When you’re an attending, everyone else will expect you to call the (correct) shots. Fellows, residents, interns, and medical students will attempt to emulate your clinical judgment. Your colleagues from other disciplines will refer patients to you. And above all, your patients will trust you. Don’t you want to go through a rigorous enough training process so you’re well prepared?
Residency (beginning with intern year) is not the time to slack off. This is where you’re taking your training by the reigns and learning how to become a competent and outstanding physician. The road to success is tough and lined with many detours towards laziness, but in the grand scheme of things, you need solid training to fall back on once you’re board certified and practicing independently.
Intern year should be a balance – focus on programs with an exposure to multiple patient populations, and different clinical settings (ie, ambulatory and inpatient). And hey, if an easy rotation gets tossed into the mix, great! But your objective should be to gain as much experience as possible. Residency doesn’t last forever – put in the hours now so you can reap the benefits later!