Ode to our interns

One of the greatest joys—and pains—of my residency training has been working with (and for) medical students. Since January I’ve been appointed one of the Learning Unit 7 (LU 7) resident monitors, a task I’d originally resisted but a responsibility I’d later come to like and actually love. I work with Mervyn Leones, who has been my all-around partner in the extra-curricular of residency, including research, where we’ve worked on our meta-analysis and, now, our original study involving something about discharge planning. I also work with Rich King, who never complains about the tasks I assign him, things he has every right to refuse but gladly does anyway. I also work with Alfie Chua, whose meticulousness cuts through every grade that’s improperly input, a trait that manifests in the clarity of his charting and formulation of diagnoses.

Together we orient the 26 blocks of interns that rotate with the Department of Medicine at some point during the academic year. These blocks are composed of both UP College of Medicine (UPCM) graduates and post-graduate interns (PGIs). Each student spends two months under our care: one month at the wards, and anther month at the Emergency Room, Medical ICU (MICU), and Out-Patient Department (OPD).

We deal with their gross absences and their complaints. We also learn about their blooming romantic attachments, or brewing conflicts, or simple joys—things that remind us of who were were during our time as interns. Talking to them refreshes us. Each block is different, in the way that each person is. There are blocks that are easily cracked up by anything remotely funny, blocks that like to eat and sing and take selfies, blocks that hate each other’s skins.

I’ve later come to realize that the interns also offer the best advice, the most honest feedback on how to improve their rotation. Their passion is reflected in their work. Their frustrations resonate with us, too: they hate the inevitability of death, the reality of poverty, the uncertainty of every breath. They criticize the present health system of the country, which the Philippine General Hospital is a faithful witness of.

A resident monitor must advocate for these interns, and to do that, one must understand them. But the monitor must impose rules, initiate disciplinary actions, and expect nothing less of them: excellence, integrity, and honesty. I’m sure we’ve had many shortcomings in our responsibilities, but we did our best.

Last week, the interns of Academic Year 2016-2017 have finished rotating with us. We miss having them around. It’s been an enjoyable, memorable year, and we can’t help but thank them for their excellent work, their refreshing insight, their infectious drive to learn and be the great Filipino doctors they’re meant to be.

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Some photos taken last June 30—the interns' last day with us.

From left: with Noe dela Fuente, Drs. Greco Malijan, KP De Castro, Mervyn Leones, and Marvin Espino.

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With Greco.

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Ward Three charting table, with Jereel Sahagun, Jim Sarsagat, Pao Cerrado, Ray Ragasa, and Butch Roque. They look like fratmen!

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JM Torres, Marvin Espino, and our interns, notably Paul Dizon and Khris Dy (in coats), our interns in Service 2.

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Drs. JC Feliciano and Ray Ragasa.

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