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You’ve already been introduced to the world of disease management and patient care for four or so years. But interning at a healthcare facility is probably sending chills down your spine. It’s normal, and you’re not alone; many medical students have similar fears.
You can prepare adequately to overcome your fears and have a fantastic experience practicing medicine. Below are five tips to prepare for the intern year.
1. Find A Suitable Internship Program
By all means, don’t wait until the last minute to start applying for internships. You may get lucky enough to land one, but it may not be at your desired location or hospital. It’s best to start applying early enough to have time to weigh the options and settle on the best medical internship program.
Suppose you want to intern abroad. Knowing whether your application has been approved allows you to prepare psychologically and financially. As you know, traveling to another continent for several months isn’t an overnight affair. You’ll need to set things at your home in order, so your absence doesn’t overly disrupt your family and friends.
Furthermore, you must acquire the necessary travel documents and maybe get vaccinated against prevalent diseases in your destination country. You may want to check out these further resources on the typical requirements and dynamics of medical internships abroad.
Generally, finding the right internship program at a good time enables you to prepare adequately. Getting into your intern year hurriedly is the last thing you’d want.
2. Learn To Cope With Stress
Truth be told, as a medical student, you’ll never learn everything in class. And medicine is one of the many noble professions that is challenging and stressful. Hence, coping with stress is a life skill you must master. The schedules will sometimes be tight during your internship, forcing you to work many hours into the night or even over the weekends. Moreover, you may not be in contact with the same circle of friends you had while in med school.
The hospital environment also exposes you to tragic events like deaths and accidents. Witnessing such untold suffering daily may soon take a toll on your emotional well-being.
Knowing how to cope with stress under such grueling circumstances is crucial. You may want to try tactics like exercising, meditation, eating good food, and mastering the art of sleep. Start early enough with these routines so that by the time you start your internship, you simply carry on with what you’ve been doing. You’ll not be learning new tricks from scratch.
3. Find A Support Group
Medical internships may turn out to be rougher than you’d thought. There will be difficult situations at work, such as negative remarks or complaints about how you’re handling your duties. Remember, as a medical student, you’ll be working with diverse people, and each has their way of managing emotions.
Besides, you may feel discouraged if you can’t just seem to do your job right, even after spending several years studying. You may falter even in basics like administering a vaccine, perhaps by missing the right vein. Such mishaps can considerably hurt your confidence.
One way to overcome this is to have a support group. Team up with your schoolmates or co-interns by having a physical or virtual meeting as often as possible to share your daily experiences. Doing so can be therapeutic, which may help you lift the heavy burden.
4. Master Your Theory
It’d be embarrassing if you can’t seem to remember the basics learned in class. For instance, failing to correctly name the human body’s bones may make your supervisors wonder if you’re serious about your medical career. Therefore, you should thoroughly review your med school class notes to save yourself from such embarrassment.
Don’t get excited about completing your studies and getting into the field. What you learned in class matters a lot, not only during your internship but also throughout your medical career. So, make it a habit of reading your class notes and other course books daily. It’ll significantly solidify your grasp of medical concepts.
Completing your coursework and going for a medical internship comes with excitement and fear of the unknown. Your winning point is mastering your emotions and starting your intern year soberly. The many ups and downs down the road will be manageable if you know what to expect and develop systems to keep yourself grounded and avoid getting swayed. The four tips above should guide your preparation. Most importantly, do everything in advance to avoid last-minute rushes. And you’re bound to have a fantastic experience at your interning station.