June 30th, 2015

The Storm Is Coming

Ahmad Yousaf, MD, is the 2015-16 Ambulatory Chief Resident in Internal Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

Ahmad Yousaf, MD, is the incoming 2015-16 Ambulatory Chief Resident in Internal Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

The tempest approaches. July the First. The interns approach the edge of their protected nests and prepare to jump into the whirlwind of senior-hood. The responsibility of managing a team weighs them down like the gravitational force, pulling them toward the unforgiving earth. They will flap their little wings and flex their intellectual muscles frantically in an adrenaline-rushed attempt to gain flight and legitimacy amongst their peers and attendings. If they look below, they will see the monsters they fear awaiting their failure: M&Ms, the furrowed brows of skeptical attendings, families with unrealistic expectations, and chief residents that appear more like administration than compassionate older siblings.As the interns graduate into medical adulthood, the miraculous circle of residency life repeats itself as wide-eyed, innocent, and fragile medical students crack the shells that have kept them from any burden of accountability. They will enter a coddled world of note writing, experiencing their senses and environments, and frequent feeds. Feeds packed full of tidbits of semi-pertinent medical knowledge regurgitated from seemingly reliable sources in the cited portions of UpToDate and Wikipedia. They will learn and grow strong and even feel, at times, that they could do what their predecessors had done without all of the ceremony and ritual. There will be many successes in the coming year, but even more moments of humility. The true question of the day is, do they have the grit and luck to survive the tumultuous time when they are most prone to insult and injury? … And, most of the time, they do.


The final group to speak of during this momentous change of the seasons is the veteran horde of steely-eyed 3rd-year residents. Their faces carry the consequences of 3 years of struggle and perseverance. They are a collection of the wise, the hopeful, and the jaded. They glide through their final days efficiently and competently. Some look forward optimistically with eyes full of dollar bills, whereas others only see the mountains of debt that await them. Both groups, however, have begun the collective sigh of relief that comes with the conclusion of the most grueling, but satisfying, period of life they will ever experience.

And so the day approaches … July the First. The day when some will lift off into the stratosphere and others will be overwhelmed by the gale-force winds. Either way, the chiefs will watch over them, in hopes of catching those who fall and moving out of the way of those who soar. In the meantime, we hunker down … and prepare for the storm that is coming.

One Response to “The Storm Is Coming”

  1. Javed Yousaf MD says:

    Still remember July 1, 1991. My first day as an intern. All you said is true my son. But you already know that don’t you.

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