Critical Events in the Lives of Interns.
J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Oct 30;
Authors: Ackerman A, Graham M, Schmidt H, Stern DT, Miller SZ
BACKGROUND: Early residency is a crucial time in the professional development of physicians. As interns assume primary care for their patients, they take on new responsibilities. The events they find memorable during this time could provide us with insight into their developing professional identities. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the most critical events in the lives of interns. PARTICIPANTS: Forty-one internal medicine residents at one program participated in a two-day retreat in the fall of their first year. Each resident provided a written description of a recent high point, low point, and patient conflict. MEASUREMENTS: We used a variant of grounded theory to analyze these critical incidents and determine the underlying themes of early internship. Independent inter-rater agreement of >90% was achieved for the coding of excerpts. MAIN RESULTS: The 123 critical incidents were clustered into 23 categories. The categories were further organized into six themes: confidence, life balance, connections, emotional responses, managing expectations, and facilitating teamwork. High points were primarily in the themes of confidence and connections. Low points were dispersed more generally throughout the conceptual framework. Conflicts with patients were about negotiating the expectations inherent in the physician-patient relationship. CONCLUSION: The high points, low points, and conflicts reported by early residents provide us with a glimpse into the lives of interns. The themes we have identified reflect critical challenges interns face the development of their professional identity. Program directors could use this process and conceptual framework to guide the development and promotion of residents' emerging professional identities.
PMID: 18972091 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]