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Starting Intern Year After 9 Month Hiatus with 9 Month Old

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2 weeks 1 day ago #96891 by Anesthesia201721
Hi everyone,

I am starting intern year in Anesthesiology soon and I've been away from anything clinical since September. I've enjoyed every second of spending time with my daughter and finishing up my public health degree. But, I'm terrified that I have forgotten everything.

My concerns:
1) My below average board scores and inability to remember basic concepts make me feel like the hiatus will be worse for me than the average medical student. I'm scared I won't be able to even recognize a MI.

2) Will I be able to be a mother and wife during residency or do I have to disappear for 4 years? I have ENT, colorectal surgery, and CT surgery the first three months. I'm worried that I won't be able to give my daughter or husband the attention they need, especially since I am a below average student (in terms of board exams and tests) who will need to put in more effort than other interns who are working to become confident, knowledgeable anesthesiologists.

My Questions:

Do I need to be reviewing a lot right now and if so, what's better: board review books (STEP 2/3) or clinically oriented books (pocket medicine, Marino's ICU)?

What strategies/coping methods did you use as an intern to balance the workload?

How do you deal with not seeing your family much? How do you prepare your husband/significant other for this transition?

What advice could you lend a student who has always struggled to keep up with medical knowledge, clinical skills, and family life until now?
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1 week 6 days ago #96893 by sahmd
I didn't have a family during training, and I don't know what studying resources are available these days, but I can share a piece of advice I got on the first day of residency: don't make any personal plans for the first 6 weeks. You will probably be tired and overwhelmed by everything you have to do and everything you have to learn. You will have to think consciously about every single thing you are doing -- things that will become automatic with practice -- and it does take a lot of mental energy. You will need extra time to rest and to get used to the new normal. It may sound like kind of extreme advice, but I found it very helpful.

The more help you can get with taking care of your baby, the better. See if you can also delegate other household duties that you may have taken on (cooking, cleaning, bill paying, etc.). Ideally your husband could do these things, but you could also get other family members to help or pay someone to do these tasks. After 6 weeks, you can see how things are going and readjust your time management if needed.

As for preparing your husband, it might be good to make sure he knows how to do all the things that need to be done in your household. Make sure to leave him alone with the baby, if you haven't done that already, so that he can get comfortable with that. And just explain to him that any new intern needs to focus on work at first, and why you feel that you personally can't compromise your learning at this critical time. Tell him that it is not forever, and that you can reassess after 6 weeks.

I know you are not feeling confident right now, but the fact that you matched in anesthesia means that your program believes that you can be successful. Good luck!
The following user(s) said Thank You: Anesthesia201721
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1 week 6 days ago #96894 by OnExtendedLeave
Hi, I think those are all great suggestions from sahmd. I just want to add that you're starting a training program where there are junior residents, senior residents, and attendings to provide back-up and teaching. I remember being on maternity leave in the community after residency was completed (my second maternity leave) and realized it was much more a relief to return to clinical practice in a training setting (after my first maternity leave) than in a community Attending setting!

I'd recommend reviewing what's most relevant and clinically-oriented, so start with ENT, then colorectal and CT surgery. You'll still get to see your immediate family even if it's just snuggling up while falling asleep minutes later. You could let your friends know you'd like them to be supportive and patient when they don't hear from you for a while.

Good luck!
The following user(s) said Thank You: Anesthesia201721
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1 week 5 days ago #96895 by sahmd
If your first rotation is for anesthesia for ENT surgery, I imagine there would be a lot of emphasis on airway management, so it would be good to review anatomy and techniques related to that.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Anesthesia201721
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1 week 1 day ago - 1 week 1 day ago #96905 by Anesthesia201721
Thank you very much, sahmd. The advice about reassessing in 6 weeks is particularly helpful and I will most definitely set that as a goal for myself and my family :-)

Recognizing that there is back up and support is reassuring, OnExtendedLeave. It sounds like reviewing clinically relevant information for ENT, colorectal, and CT surgery is my best option instead of studying general broad topics for Step 3 (OBGyn, Derm, etc). Thank you for the advice!
Last Edit: 1 week 1 day ago by Anesthesia201721.
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