Resident Alien

I've given two talks this year: one in November and one just a few weeks ago. Both were "Joint Conferences" with mixed audiences.

In November, as I reviewed the PowerPoint slides before I presented, I remember going back to the title slide, and removing the references to my doctorates. In their place, after my name, I entered "PGY-1" -- thinking that maybe the attendings and residents of other department would go easier on the intern.

When I was preparing my talk two weeks ago, hiding behind the "PGY-1" label seemed a little absurd. I didn't think I needed to, anymore, and besides -- my internship's days were numbered. What was the difference between the me of mid-June and the me of July 1st, anyway?

But tomorrow, I think I'll miss that shield of internship. Though the increase in responsibility for EM residents is not as dramatic as in, say, internal medicine, more is nontheless expected of us: To take the sickest patients. Manage our section of the ED. Nail the tricky procedures on the first try -- hell, not just do them but teach along the way.

I recently led a simulation in which I made some mistakes -- I failed to give antibiotics to the sim-patient as soon as I could have; I let him go to the CT scanner with unstable vitals. Afterwards, a resident told me not to beat myself up about the case too much -- "after all, you're still an intern."

Not anymore.