A day in the life of an intern – Reed Johnson, MD

We asked a number of our residents to describe what a typical day looks like. We are grateful to share their stories in this series of diaries.

Inpatient Cardiology Teaching Service – November 9, 2020

5:30 – Morning.

My alarm goes off. I’ll admit most days I hit the snooze button for 10 extra minutes of transition time to start the day. Then at 5:40, I am ready to shower, change in to scrubs, and grab a bite to eat. In case you missed it, I’ll say it again. I change in to scrubs, every morning. Not worrying about dressing up is one less stress I am very happy to forget about in the busy life of being an intern.

6:30 – Out the door. 

One of the fantastic things about Iowa City is that you can living within walking/biking distance to the hospital. And did I mention that I love fall in Iowa?! We have just had the time change, so as I am heading to work, the sun is starting to rise. Some of the trees still have their colorful leaves, but most have now fallen and blanket the sidewalk on my way to work. Today is a special treat because my roommate (who is also a first-year resident) and I are on a similar schedule and we walk in to work together.

6:45 – Sign-out. 

In 15 minutes, I can leave my condo, walk to the hospital, and catch up with the night team to get sign out. I just love Iowa City.

6:45 to 8:30 – Pre-rounds. 

Pre-rounding for me is all about routine. Vitals, Is-and-Os, labs, repeat.  Luckily, everything was quiet overnight. I check in with the nurse of the patient in bed 76 to see how much he was able to eat yesterday, as we are trying to wean him off tube feeds. Then, I am off to see my patients and answer any questions they might have.

8:30 to 12:00 – Rounds.  

One of my favorite things about medicine is how team-driven it is. Rounds is the time where the team comes together to decide on how to best care for the patients. There is a lot of learning that happens along the way. Today, we table round on the patients in our team room and develop preliminary plans before heading out to the wards.

12:00 to 1:00 – Conference.

Today is an interview day which means it’s a case conference. The chief residents lead a case discussion on a 31-year-old male with chest pain who was seen on the wards at UIHC by one of our resident teams. These sessions are always highly interactive as the residents ask history questions and suggest a work-up in order to figure out what is going on with the patient in the case being presented. Halfway through the presentation, there is a didactic session about the differential and work-up of chest pain. Turns out, this patient had a gigantic aneurysm of his left main coronary artery. Who would have guessed?! Another perk of conference is that our pagers are monitored by a staff member, which allows us to focus on learning. My favorite part of conference is being able to catch up with friends for a little bit before heading back to work.

1:00 to 5:30 – Notes, admissions, pages, and calls to family.  

A day in the life of an intern is unpredictable. Anything can happen at any point. This is both exciting and a little terrifying. Luckily, I am surrounded by a fantastic team of co-interns, senior residents, and approachable staff that can help answer or help me look up the answer to any questions that come up throughout the day, allowing me to learn as much as possible. And another thing that happens a lot in the afternoon: teaching! I love being on a team with medical students. They bring fantastic energy and insightful questions that push me to be a better educator, and consequently a better doctor.

6:00 – Home.

On my current rotation, sign-out is at 5:30 (sign-out is anytime between 4:00 and 6:00, depending on the rotation and where you are in the call schedule).  I am home most days by 6:00. This gives me plenty of time to cook, eat, and relax. On the menu today: homemade burritos. After supper, I have been spending my down time reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. Next up on the reading list will be Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson. 

9:30 – Bedtime. 

After a full day, it is time to get some rest.

Leave a Reply