Congratulations! You matched and are going to be spending your intern year at a transitional year (TY) program. For some this is an exciting prospect with the opportunity to finally act as a "real" doctor, while for others its just one more hoop to jump through to get where you want to go. Either way, you may have some questions about what to expect this coming year, so I've laid out a couple things to help guide you as you begin to prepare to transition into your transitional year (see what I did there? I’m so clever). Only one year stands between you and training in your chosen specialty. For some, this year is an
The number one thing I would tell anyone that will be starting a TY is to relax. There's no need to spend a lot of time brushing up on medical knowledge or drug dosing or anything else. Generally, if you were able to match into TY program, you aren't an idiot and you know how to perform the basic tasks of a doctor. Most anything beyond that you will be able to pick up as you go along and in short order most things will become second nature to you. To be honest, the first time I ordered Tylenol as an intern I was clueless as to what dose to order and I didn't get fired because of it. So relax. Try to enjoy the year and spend as much time out of the hospital as you can. You'll be able to be refreshed and ready to go next year when you start training in what you really want to do.
2. Don't be scared to run things by your senior
Don't be scared to run things by your senior. Anything. Pain med dosing, management questions, the finer points of discharging a patient. Anything. If you have a question, try to figure out what you think the answer is and then ask your senior if its right. Your seniors will expect you to not know stuff and ask them things and as long as you made an intelligent stab at the problem, they shouldn't be bothered by the sometimes incessant questions. This doesn’t just apply to the very beginning of the year either. I did my medicine month in December after a long stretch of pretty nice electives. After being away from inpatient medicine for so long, there was a lot of stuff I didn't remember/know that to the internal med interns (who had already done two or three months of medicine wards) was second nature. Programs with transitional year residents know this happens and nobody will get mad at you for it. So don't be scared to ask your senior questions.
3. Schedule your electives wisely
Electives, and the number of months you get for them, are often what makes a TY the preferable choice for many people. ACGME requirements are clamping down somewhat on the amount of elective time you get in a TY, but they are still often the best months you'll have during your intern year, so choose them wisely. Which electives you choose really depends on the goals you have for the year; some people just want to coast and have the easiest, most relaxed time possible, and some people want to get after it and get a lot of experience with different things. Whatever your preference is, try to talk to former residents from your program to see which electives will fit your goals.
Did you do a transitional year? What other advice would you give? If you're headed to a TY this summer, what other advice/information would be helpful? Subscribe to our blog for more articles like this!