Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Ideal Co-Intern

Now, I'm not one of them hippocrates who passes judgments on residents while leaving my colleagues alone. The Ideal Co-Intern is, in a lot of ways, more important than The Cool Resident. You share responsibilities instead of having them dumped onto you like a car parked underneath an aviary. You go through the same grueling routine, have the same rights, the same work timings. For that month of rotation, you're like Siamese twins, except with fewer awkward bathroom moments (Can't elaborate, you need to have been there, or maybe you'd rather not!). 

T'was two years back with a senior friend when the concept of the Ideal Co-Intern (ICI from now) took shape. He explained how it's not always beneficial to have a friend working with you during internship as the relationship sours over time, neither is it easy to have a total stranger who you don't have any pull on. He explained that delegation of duties is as important as showing up at all; and that you can't really survive without good people around. Here're the qualities of an ICI:
  1. The ICI shows up, preferably on time, all the time. You two should have the SAME work timings, unless of course you're taking turns while on-call. 
  2. The ICI gives two days prior notice for remaining absent, even if it's for an acute medical emergency. 48 hours are a bare minimum to finish crying and cribbing about the work you'll have to do alone. 
  3. The ICI never tells the residents you haven't shown up. "He's off tracing histo-path reports", or the classic "The professor gave him some personal work" never gets old
  4. The ICI let's you alternate shifts with that hot new extern who you've been meaning to talk to since before you knew her.
  5. If you're surgically inclined, the ICI agrees to take care of the world outside while you're scrubbed in. 
  6. The ICI always has backup lists of everything, so if you lose yours, no harm, no foul
  7. The ICI shows up when it's not his turn, even when he has a hangover, because he knows you HAVE to show up hungover yourself. Wasn't that sweet?
  8. The ICI does not entertain friends, relatives, strangers during on-call days. It's not cool to go visit your uncle, aunt, father, niece, fiance and spend ages in the cafeteria while your co-intern is slogging it out
  9. The ICI never forgets to make it clear to the residents that you live extremely far away & that it you must cross mountain ranges, rivers and landslides to get to work on time
  10. The ICI always calls at dinner time to make sure you've eaten
  11. The ICI always has that elusive EDTA bulb when you need one
  12. While on that point: the ICI is a thief! Their bag is littered with an awesome collection of syringes, needles, varied catheters, urosac bags, central lines, micropore tapes, labels & a phone charger! The ICI doesn't mind you raiding his/her bag ever so often
  13. If you're romantically involved, you share those all-too-corny cinematic moments when one of you has only syringes and the other, needles
  14. The ICI always starts work in the morning without waiting for you to show up
  15. The ICI is always courteous and offers you the chance to doze off first while on-call
  16. The ICI is NOT a sexist prick! Cause all women are more than capable of performing their internship duties with flair, and men shouldn't have problems getting basic work done by the ancillary staff just because they don't have the right type of 'pair'
P.S: I know the difference between Hippocrates & hypocrite. Do you? Or did you miss that altogether? Good job either way


  1. Yayy! Great post. I never got your hipppcrates joke. Point 16 was the best.

  2. Got the joke. Good list.

  3. You never meet your ICI. Its either you or him/her working. No duplication of labour.

  4. #7! Totally agree. #17. The ICI doesn't ever prick you with a seropositive needle!!!

  5. I was feeling a little bad for you when I read Hippocrates up there but guess I got my comeuppance at the end! :D Points no. 11 and 12 man! Some of my co-interns have been real life-savers on those counts. The one I got paired up with in Medicine had more wads of forms than he had study notes. And he could sweet-talk staff nurses in three different wards to get them to give him EDTA bulbs and gloves. In return, I obliged wholeheartedly with point no. 4. :D

  6. First time here and a grand read to begin with! I spent 9 months with *can't-even-describe-in-words-people* before I met my ICI(s). And in the 3 months that followed: work=fun!