I admit it: I love July 1. There's so much energy in the air. True, some of that energy is nervous energy - newly minted PGY1s trying to fit into the "doctor" role, PGY2s and PGY3s adapting to new responsibilities, new attendings working independently for the first time.
I can still remember July 1 of my intern year, now ten years ago. I remember how I was both excited and nervous as I drove to the hospital that morning. I was simultaneously thrilled to finally be a doctor and terrified that I would hurt a patient with a thoughtless mistake. I paid careful attention to everything my attendings and seniors did, anxious to show them that I deserved the M.D. after my name.
Some people refer to July 1 as "National Don't Go to the Hospital Day." But I think that, on July 1, residents are more closely supervised than any other day of the year. This morning on inpatient rounds, I double-checked patient history details, drug dosages, and orders for tests. Just yesterday that kind of micromanaging would have stifled the residents' confidence and independence - but the difference between today and yesterday is as big as it gets during the academic year. I will enjoy watching how quickly those out-loud double checks (I still do it quietly behind the scenes all year, of course) become unnecessary this week.
So, to everyone who is experiencing a role change today, I say congratulations. Put all of that nervous energy and enthusiasm to work benefiting patients and your colleagues. Ask for help when you need it - this doesn't go away when you're an attending, by the way, and it shouldn't. One of medicine's greatest joys for me is the infinite, ever-changing amount of knowledge to absorb. It's impossible to be bored as a family doctor. And, every day, remain thankful for the privilege of doing what you are doing to help others.
Happy New Academic Year, everyone!