Bold Intern Advice

July 2, 2011

It’s the cusp of a new medical year and there’s no shortage of advice on how to succeed as a house officer.  The White Coat Underground and Wes Fisher will put you in the right direction.  And I love Mary Brandt’s Advice for New Interns.

But just a couple of more points to keep in mind:

Keep you options open.  Medicine is changing quickly.  You’ll start you career training as a 20th century doctor and retire in a place none of us can imagine.  Your ultimate success will be determined by your ability to adapt to a shifting foundation.  Keep an open mind.

Quiet you fingers.  You are the first generation to have publication tools that make it dangerously easy to breach your patient’s trust.  Keep their business off the public forums.  Better yet, find a way to apply all this wonderful technology to really move the chains forward.

Be remarkable.  Medicine desperately needs folks willing to step up and offer something unique.  Those around you will work to mold you one way.  While you need to learn the basics, don’t be afraid to draw your own map.  It’s a new world desperate for new leaders and fresh ideas.   Use your gifts and seize the opportunity.

As far as advice that’s less bold and more concrete: Drink lots of water.   It’s one variable that can really change how you feel.


Erin July 2, 2011 at 10:18 pm


I was reading this and thinking about how much it applies to life in general. This is why I look to you for sound advice. You hit the nail on the head, and maybe I’ll have you for an attending one day. *wink*

DrV July 2, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Now how cool would that be?

Mike Cadogan July 2, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Great work DrV
Thankfully we still have another 6 months before the onslaught, giving me a chance to collate and distill all these pearls of wisdom…
When literary medicine, altruism, empathy and experience collide – it is indeed a powerful thing

Erin July 2, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Pretty cool, if you ask me. Refer to your inbox for rantage. July 1st confused the fool outta me.

DrDarrellWhite July 3, 2011 at 8:10 am

1) Eat when you can.
2) Sleep when you can.
3) Don’t “mess” with the pancreas.

Irwin Lim July 3, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Medicine, in many parts of the whole, has all sorts of problems. In Australia, its rising costs & lack of access for those who don’t live in cities. Even for those in cities, it’s rationalising health costs.

I don’t have answers. But “Be Remarkable” would seem to be a much needed trait. We need new ideas & innovation. Doctors in the “establishment” in general, however, are typically fixed in mentality & not open to innovation when it comes to service delivery & system management, eventhough they may be scientifically or clinically brilliant. This needs to change.

Susan Giurleo July 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Four great pieces of advice. True, I think for all students/interns and people young in their career. Don’t be afraid to innovate and apply new ideas to tough problems. The ‘old guard’ is wise, but does not have all the answers.

And I’d like to encourage all those who teach to keep an open mind as well.

medaholic July 11, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Thanks for the advice. Definitely do not drink enough water during the work days.

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