One thing I am really looking forward to about internship is being able to stay in one hospital, on a few units, long enough to really make relationships with the nurses. One of the best things about last month was the nurses. They were uniformly friendly and helpful, even patient with the dumb medical student who didn’t know where to find vital signs or prescription pads. After I had been there for only a month, several of them would wave at me in the halls, and a few even knew my name – which to my shame was more than I knew for them. It’s going to be so tremendous to be in one place for a few years, long enough to learn everyone’s names, and children, and pet peeves. All through medical school I’ve changed services so many times, rotated in and out of hospitals so much, and even when I was in the same hospital, it was a different floor every month: medical, surgical, ICU, bariatric, renal – never long enough to really make friends.

Even the nurses with an attitude – the ones who feel put upon (probably with reason!) by the administration – are nice with residents and students. One of the JCAHO rules I hate most is the one about how prescription pads have to be locked up in the medicine cabinet. That means that every time you want to discharge a patient, you have to stop a nurse who’s running around trying to chart on three-four-five different patients, take care of a family’s questions, administer a dozen meds to every patient, and I don’t know what all else – you have to stop them to go key into the Pyxis and dispense a precise number of scripts. Which is bad enough. But it also means that if I made a mistake, and later the intern or resident decides the patient actually needs one or two more medications, I have to go stop the nurse again and ask for more scripts. (Of course there are ways around this, but I would hate for JCAHO to hear about them, so I won’t explain.)

The hospital I’m going to is bigger than the one I was at in May, so probably the nurses will be busier, and maybe not be as approachable. But with five years to work in, I hope to make some good friends.

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