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The Intern Blues: The Private Ordeals of Three Young Doctors Hardcover – February, 1989

4.3 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A New York pediatric geneticist, Marion ( Born Too Soon ) bases this thought-provoking, informative account of internship on diaries kept by three pediatric interns, two men and a woman, whose adviser he was at an unidentified hospital. They recall their transformation into experienced physicians, their initial panic, depression and doubts about the profession, their chronic exhaustion and the disruption of their personal lives. They dealt with often-fatal accidents and illness; with fetus-like premature infants and babies infected with AIDS; pregnant, disturbed, drug-addicted or VD-infected teenagers and hysterical, abusive parents; and often-hostile staff members. They criticize the internship program's applicant selection and assignment procedures and rotation system, and the long shifts which they aver adversely affect the intern's efficiency and judgment. At year's end, they mostly express relief that their internships are over.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Using the diary entries of three interns at a medical teaching facility in New York City, the author depicts the rite of passage from self-doubt, frustration, anxiety, and immaturity to personal and professional growth that occurs during the first year of post-graduate medicine. Interspersed throughout are the author's own entries, which provide background information on the interns, medical techniques and advances, hospital organization and politics, and proposed changes in medical education. The diary format effectively dramatizes the often agonizing decisions and compromises that are made in the face of sleepless nights and inexperience. This will be an important book for anyone contemplating the long, arduous task of becoming a doctor. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.
- Erna Chamberlain, SUNY at Binghamton Lib.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co; 1st edition (February 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688068863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688068868
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,119,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
During medical school I was given "The Intern Blues" by a friend (we were both interested in pediatrics). I could not believe that what was in the book really happened, because the problems and stresses appeared to be impossible for anyone to undertake. During my internship in pediatrics, however, I reread the book and was amazed to find that it was 100% factual, from the patient AND physician standpoint. As a Chief Resident in pediatrics as a teaching hospital I have recommended it to the interns, to let them know that what they are experiencing is not unusual, and that they are not alone. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in medicine (especially pediatrics), and for the families of medical students and residents, as it can help them understand the many personality and life style changes that accompany internship and residency. This book is a MUST READ for anyone contemplating pediatric residency.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Intern Blues, written by Robert Marion, M.D., is a look at the life of doctors fresh from medical school, from the inside. The author asked three interns to record their lives on hand-held tape recorders, compiled the recordings, and offered commentary on their experiences. This exercise is meant to give the reader an understanding of the process of becoming a doctor. The interns Amy, Andy, and Mark begin the year enthused and excited to be finally working with patients of their very own. They explain the work they are doing, their interactions with their superiors, the staff and their patients, and their personal relationships. The interns are eager to learn the skills an independent doctor must possess. The internships start off in a positive light; however, their experiences quickly become much less positive. Through the remainder of the book, their observations and outlook on life become almost entirely negative. All three characters have lost their ability to socially interact, feel deprived of time with their families, and have no knowledge of anything that happens outside of the hospital. Despite their grim outlook on life, the reader can see their skills and abilities progress quite dramatically. They are transformed from timid students, unwilling to act without supervision, to competent doctors capable of supervising others. The conversion is quite impressive. The author ends the book by questioning the worth of the intern year. He leaves it to the reader to weigh the benefits and the drawbacks and to come to his or her own personal decision.Read more ›
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By Dana on January 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am currently finishing my pediatric residency at a large, urban academic center. I agree that we may not have to work the 36 hour shifts as described in this book (post 2003 federal legislation), but I've done many a 30 hour shift on no sleep at all, and could very much relate to the fears, anxieties, and stresses of being an intern. I recommend this book to all my non-medical friends and family as a real-life look into a turning point in a young doctor's education.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A powerful account of the first year of internship of three young doctors, you will not forget the stories and experiences recounted in this book. The parts written by the Robert Marion are especially good at placing the accounts in context, and updating the information. Even though these diaries were kept in the mid-1980 and both regulations covering interns' working conditions and medical practice have changed, these emotional toll of internship remains the same.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book for the family, friends, and loved ones of those who are about to embark on the dreaded one-year internship. Marion acknowledges the book is aimed more for this type of audience, as a way to explain the stresses, strains, fears, and lives of interns.
The only downside to the book is that the book isn't nearly as "journal-like" as I would've preferred, and the reader does, after time, get a bit bored with the constant "I'm so tired" and "Why do the nurses hate me" comments continually made by all 3 interns. We also never hear from the significant others and family members of the interns, and these accounts might've helped make the accounts more lively and 3-dimensional.
Potential readers should also be warned that the interns survived programs prior to the recent attempts to overhaul and humanize internships, so the accounts may be somewhat outdated.
Still, a great look into the training of our physicians. It is especially interesting to read the brief updates as to where the interns wound up in their lives and careers.
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Format: Paperback
This book, as it states in the introduction, is a good book for spouses, friends, and family to read. It will give them an idea of what we will go through and the immense demands on our time. It is true that legislative changes have been made since these interns went through the experiences they chronicled; however, it is still an exhaustive process.
It is too bad that the book did not also go through the preclinical experiences of these three. Or maybe that's a good thing! I recommend reading it and passing it around the family, as well.
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