Medical Residency

Internship and residency have been portrayed in novels and movies and on television for many decades, in terms that range from the heroic and melodramatic to the downright comic. The reasons for the appeal of the residents' stories are fairly obvious. Generally young and handsome or beautiful people, society's best and brightest, brimming with book knowledge, then set at the bottom of the clinical hierarchy as indentured servants and expected to cure and care for patients whose own life and death stories would make decent drama in itself. A dead-on formula for success. Many of these fictionalized accounts have sensationalized the residents' private lives—what they get into when they're not on the job. What hasn't been recognized and examined until recently—until residents began talking about going on strike to gain more reasonable working conditions—is the fact that residents are filling four different and demanding roles while they are on the job: student, teacher of other students, clinician, and employee. This month's issue focuses on these four aspects of the resident's worklife and the conflicts inherent in endeavoring to function competently in all roles at once

Volume 5, Number 3: 65-109 Full Issue PDF