Open Accessibility Menu

A Day in the Life of an Intern

Hey friends! My name is Jacque, one of the current PGY-3 residents at Chehalis Family Medicine. I’d like to illustrate a typical day in my shoes when I was an intern last year. 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 in the intern year, we are typically scheduled 4 full hospital days and 1 full clinic day. We have dedicated time for didactics every Wednesday afternoon. 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 Lunch Time!

  • Some days we have meetings such as clinic meetings, support group or resident-faculty meetings.

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

  • On workshops or didactics (every Wednesday afternoon), all services are signed out to the R3 and all three residency programs meet together for protected workshop time. These are taught by our interdisciplinary faculty from all our programs as well as outside specialists.

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

8:10 - 8:30 AM Clinic huddle/MA 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). I also meet with my own individual MA to come up with a plan for the day.

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 any meetings if needed, catch up on any of my notes, take a quick walk or try to FaceTime my kids for a few minutes.

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.