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Interview with a PGY1 Internal Medicine Resident

What is your favorite part of Internal Medicine?
I like how investigative it is. You are always looking for the why, the underlying cause of something. You have to consider a wide variety of possibilities in the differential diagnosis and understand so much medicine to help your patients. I enjoy constantly learning, and really thinking about things and the reasons behind them. My inpatient IM rotations in medical school were always my favorite because of this. Additionally, I really feel like I develop a bond with my patients when they are admitted because I see them every single day (sometimes multiple times) and I feel like I can really provide comfort for patients in a very vulnerable time while admitted to the hospital.
Were you considering any other fields?
I briefly considered EM (emergency medicine) but ultimately realized it wasn’t for me when I would wonder what happened with my patients days after my shift ended. I liked EM, but not having follow-ups with patients after they are admitted and not knowing exactly what they ended up having would drive me crazy. I also like having continuity in the outpatient clinic as a PCP and being the primary point of care for my patients.
Are you happy in your residency?
I really love it. The hours during wards can get long in internal medicine residency. There is a lot of responsibility and long hours of rounding on rotations like wards and ICU but it’s actually so much better than wards as a medical student in my opinion! When you are on wards as a medical student, it is interesting, but you usually present your few patients then follow along on rounds for the rest of the time. As a resident, you have more patients and can be putting in orders or checking up on your patients during rounds. You are not just passively following.
What advice do you have for medical students interested in Internal Medicine?
The best thing you can do if you are interested in internal medicine is to just focus on medical school and develop a good foundation/knowledge base. You can also take electives in fields that you can specialize in outside of internal medicine; cardiology, GI, pulmonology, etc. This will give you that good foundation and maybe you will find yourself interested in specializing in one of those things.
What fellowships can you pursue after residency? Are you considering any?
I am interested in interventional pulmonology so I am considering a pulmonary/critical care fellowship (3 years after internal medicine residency) with another fellowship in interventional pulmonology afterward (1 year). One of the things I liked about internal medicine is that I could pursue a lot of different specialties afterward. I didn’t even know interventional pulmonology existed until my pulmonology rotation halfway through my PGY1 year of residency.
Overall, I have enjoyed being an internal medicine resident and would be very happy working as a hospitalist, PCP, or pulmonologist/interventional pulmonologist. I actually initially applied for a surgical field as a 4th year medical student and ended up switching because medicine was a better fit for me. Sometimes you don’t know the best fit for you right off the bat and that’s okay. Not everyone loves every field, you just have to find what is best for you.
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