This is Ben. He is an internal medicine resident in his final year.
“As trainees, we spend countless hours preparing—from the innumerable exams throughout medical school, to licensure, to late nights anxiously memorizing ACLS algorithms ahead of ICU call. As a resident, I’d been trained to try to anticipate every contingency.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, exams were cancelled. For many of us, careers were put on hold as life seemed to grind to a halt.
My first instinct was to find new ways to prepare.
I was scouring the internet for the latest statistics and research articles, while obsessively refreshing my Facebook and Twitter feeds, anxiously grasping at any bit of information to fill the new void of confidence created by the pandemic.
Covering the COVID team made me feel like a fresh medical student entering the wards for the first time. Everything was strange again. I was suddenly self-conscious of my every action, from donning and doffing my PPE to performing a physical exam.
Over a month into the pandemic, as the dust continues to settle and a new reality sinks in, an overwhelming fatigue has taken the edge off of my initial anxieties.
I still don’t feel fully prepared for what lies ahead. We constantly hear of the unprecedented nature of this pandemic. Like many crises before, it has revealed the best and the worst already existing in our society—giving voice to expressions of compassion and solidarity, while at the same time exposing stark inequities and ugly xenophobia hidden in plain sight.
Looking ahead, I hope that my residency will end not with a bang, nor a whimper, but rather will be marked by a deeper appreciation of our interdependencies, a newfound gratitude for our colleagues, and a shared commitment to a more equitable and healthier future for all Canadians.”
This interview was conducted on May 11, 2020.