I’ve figured out what my problem is: I don’t have any common sense.

There was a patient today, and I just couldn’t get it right. The only good thing about the whole humiliating episode was that I erred on the side of overestimating the patient’s illness, not underestimating it. (Humiliating as in, now anyone in the hospital who had any doubts about my competency/intelligence/character has had them answered – not in my favor; ok, I guess the entire hospital wasn’t paying attention, but it feels like most of the surgery residents were.) I was starting to feel the slightest bit hopeful about next year, but not any more. Actually, I’m not so worried about myself, as about the people who will be getting called by me, since I’m clearly no good at assessing situations.

Honestly. I messed up, and the only conclusion I can come to is that I have no common sense. And I don’t know where to get any. You would think, if it came with experience, after ten months I would start to be able to at least add two and two, or simple things like that. You can’t get it out of books, because I’ve been studying with unheard of diligence for the last two months, and it’s not doing me much practical good. It wouldn’t seem to come from anecdotes, because I’ve read a great many medical blogs and memoirs with enjoyment, and that doesn’t help either.

So what do I do? I don’t think I’ve made enough spectacular blunders to get fired, although that would certainly save both me and the attendings a lot of headaches next year. The only two practical things I can think of are: I didn’t keep my hands in my pockets, or my mouth closed; and, I should walk away for ten minutes and come back before making any conclusions. I’m reduced to formulas like this for at least reducing the impact of my lack of common sense. Maybe it’s just that I still need a lot more experience, which is definitely true, but the other interns don’t seem to make the same kind of mistakes I do. Like they were born with surgical intuition, and I wasn’t. . .

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