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From student to surgical intern – a world of change

The following blog is written by Dr Giselle Dela Cruz, a medical intern at Peninsula Health. 

Medicine is a world of change. Headlines are born from the research that comes out of health professionals’ careers and every consultant has a story about how medicine was taught in their day. As health professionals, we live in this constant movement and it is our responsibility to manage it. On a more local level, our work depends on acknowledging the differences in all stages of life and how new goals can change our care. Teams work to smooth the transition from primary care to hospitals, from hospitals to subacute, from all levels of care to places patients can call home. We do all of this while reconciling the changes that occur in our professional and personal lives.

As a junior doctor, I have felt this first hand – from the initial transition from medical student to doctor, to the inevitable change from one rotation to the next. The experience of going from a role of relative passiveness to directly helping others left a cloud of imposter syndrome hanging around me for much of the first rotation but as I gained experience and confidence in my work, this dissipated. Like most of my colleagues, I went from treating with trepidation to prescribing with purpose and it is both a privilege and a necessity to be certain about our work.

Naturally, I have started over again as I fall into my new rotation. From surgery to emergency medicine, I have found myself gradually adapting the way I think, and though the transition has been slowed further by the nature of shift work, I am making progress. We are privileged to be in a field that both requires and encourages ongoing education, one where we are actively supported in our efforts to overcome deficits in our knowledge.

Change is inevitable. In the past three months, I have experienced more than I could have ever anticipated and despite this – or perhaps because of it – I have found myself anticipating the rest of the year ahead. It is the rotation between specialties that keeps junior doctors thinking. The transition may not always be easy or smooth but it encourages us to rethink how we think and adapt to different circumstances. It affords us the chance to learn and change for the better – both for our patients and ourselves.


Find out more about doing your medical internship at Peninsula Health at our Information Session on 17 April