So I finally finished Internal Medicine! It feels really good to be done. As much as I love IM, the long hours can take their toll after a while – especially when Christmas break is just around the corner. All I have left is my shelf exam, and then I am off to Sunny Nebraska! Wait…no…I mean freeze-my-butt-off Nebraska. I may need to dig out my snow boots and sweaters. It is still so surreal to me that it’s a week away from Christmas, and I am still wearing sandals!
Internal Medicine was a blast for me! I know many of my readers are medical students who have had IM and hated it, so I’m sure they think I’m crazy. But, honestly, I love working in the hospital. All the residents I worked with asked me what kind of medicine I wanted to go into. When I told them I wanted to be a hospitalist, they all said, “WHY!?” Even my attending said that, and he IS a hospitalist.
Needless to say, it isn’t for everyone. For some reason I like working with really difficult patients. I never realized it before, but I like the challenge of trying to sort through a myriad of medical problems and try and figure out what is causing my patient’s chief complaint. Most of my patients at the VA had it all – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, sleep apnea, heart failure, kidney failure, previous heart attacks, PTSD…I mean, you name it, they had it. Plus they are all taking about 20 different medications.
The way I see it, if I can do four weeks of internal medicine at the VA and not want to jump out a window, I can probably make it as a hospitalist. I am a little sad my rotation is over. Next semester I have to survive surgery, Ob/Gyn, Pediatrics, anesthesiology, and radiology – none of which I am super excited about. I am sure I will love them all, because I just love medicine, but I can’t wait to get back to internal medicine.
I learned so much during this rotation. By the end of it I feel pretty good about what I know. However, there is still so much I have to learn. At this point I am trying to figure out what elective rotations I want to do next year. I am pretty sure I don’t want to specialize, but I think I could really benefit from spending time in some of the different specialties. That way when I am a hospitalist and I need to consult with a cardiologist or pulmonologist, I have a better idea of what they will do.
I am planning a rotation in Infectious Disease at the end of third year, which I am really excited about. Of all the specialties out there, this is the one I am most interested in. I also want to try cardiology and pulmonology. I am probably going to avoid nephrology, as I kind of hate the kidneys. Of course, I am terrible at kidneys, so maybe that means I should do a rotation in it. Gah!
Anyway, I should get back to studying. As much as I’ve learned these past few weeks, I am a little worried about my shelf exam. “Internal Medicine” is usually just referred to as “Medicine,” and for good reason. It encompasses everything, so studying for this exam is kind of like studying for a mini board exam. I just hope I pass so I can enjoy my 2 week Christmas vacation!