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A Day in the Life of an Intern

Hey friends! My name is Jacque, one of the current interns at Chehalis Family Medicine. I’d like to illustrate a typical day in my shoes. I will use one of our internal medicine schedules to do so but this is similar for our inpatient pediatric and obstetric rotations as well. Intern hospital rotations are mostly up at St. Peter’s Hospital in Olympia, WA vs in later years when we do most of our rotations at a smaller community hospital, Providence Centralia Hospital in Centralia, WA about 30 minutes south.

Within each week, we are typically scheduled 4 full hospital days and 1 full clinic day. Every other Wednesday has protected workshop time from 1:30-5:00. Most rotations provide two full days off to recover each week – hallelujah!

See a sample intern schedule here.

Hospital day:

5:15 AM Crawl out of bed, removing myself from the entanglement of my toddler’s limbs and get ready for work

5:45 AM Kiss toddler and husband goodbye, head to the hospital. Try to wake up with some good tunes in the car.

  • I live in Rochester (30 minutes from St. Peter hospital in Olympia, 20 minutes from Centralia hospital/Chehalis family medicine clinic).
  • Residents usually choose to live in either Olympia or down in Chehalis/Centralia. Through the three years we have lots of experiences in both locations but the drive is pretty easy (30 min one way) and a nice quiet relief from an often hectic day.

6:30 AM Meet for sign-out.

  • All hospital residents meet together and participate in sign-out for all services (medicine, OB, peds). Some mornings, we have a short inpatient didactic. Every other Wednesday morning we have sim lab covering various topics (OB/peds/medicine) such as a shoulder dystocia or neonatal resuscitation for a baby.

7:30 AM Pre-chart and see patients on my panel.

  • Some services allow you to work with both an R3 and attending whereas others you work directly with the attending.
  • The morning flow for different services and different attendings can vary but generally I round on my patients alone, put in appropriate orders and prepare to round with the attending. Sometimes we do bedside rounds and sometimes sit-down rounds.

12:30 - 1:30 PM Noon didactics

  • Previously in person but during COVID are all virtual so I participate from the call room while eating my lunch
  • Some days are lectures and some are meetings or support groups. Attendance is mandatory but patient care takes precedence and lectures are all recorded for later viewing or re-viewing. Lectures are provided by core faculty and residents as well as community specialists.

1:30 PM Return to patient care and complete notes, take new admissions and follow up on tasks from the morning

  • On workshop day (every other Wednesday), all services are signed out to the R3 and all three residency programs meet together for protected workshop time.

6:30 PM Meet for sign-out with the night team and feel the sweet breath of freedom as I race home to my family

Clinic day:

7:00 AM Slowly pry my eyelids open and get ready for work

7:30 AM Kiss toddler and husband goodbye, head to the clinic

8:00 AM Get settled at work station, huddle with my MA

8:10 AM Clinic huddle

  • All clinic staff (MD/DO, MA, RN, PSR) huddle together to briefly go over the day’s schedule, address any concerns, and give any important clinic updates. I also use this time to grab our behavioral health specialist or pharmacist and discuss any patients that I have questions/concerns about (they are incredible).

8:30 AM-12:00 PM Clinic Session

  • As interns you start with 4 patient's per half day to allow for transition to independently seeing and managing patient issues as well as to leave more time for learning with precepting. As you progress in residency you will see more patients per half day, usually adding one patient per half day every 6 months.

12:30 - 1:30 PM Eat lunch and participate in virtual noon didactics in the clinic conference room with the other residents in clinic that day

1:30 - 5:00 PM Clinic Session

5:00 PM: Head home when finished with my last patient. Some residents chose to finish their notes before going home and others finish them later in the evening, depending on their choice.