Breaking down a month on Internal Medicine!

Breaking down a month on Internal Medicine!

By Jeffrey Cannon



One month. Thirteen H&Ps. One IV placement. Four Against-Medical-Advice (AMA) discharges. Two code blues. One round of CPR. One set of ribs cracked. Two deaths. Seven attending physicians. Who knows how many various medical conditions, I lost track after 20….


I have been on my internal medicine rotation at the WVU School of Medicine for 30 days. As a medical student, I have a little more time to spend with patients than the interns, residents, fellows, or attendings do. So they tell me a little more about themselves when I go in to ask their history or perform a physical exam. They share how they hope they can get out of the hospital soon so they can see their family, go to work, eat a good meal, etc. They ask me to pray with them, as tears fall down from their eyes, over their facially drooped mouth, now post-stroke.

Patients share frustrations about how their medical problems have interfered with their lives. They wonder aloud how they will find a new normal after this surgery. Some impart important wisdom I didn’t find in the library studying for the USMLE Step 1 exam. Along with the medical team I was assigned, they teach me each day how to develop as a young physician.  Here are four quotes I’ve written down so far in this first month:

  1. “If we could take insurance out of this whole equation, we could do a lot more for patients.” Dr. Attending
  2. “Seeing a urologist in the hospital on a Saturday is like seeing a unicorn.” – Dr. Senior Resident
  3. “The goal is to work toward a career where you can wear scrubs every day.” -Dr. Intern
  4. “New students, huh? Don’t forget compassion; it’s the most important thing.” -Radiation Oncology Patient

I have much to learn. But thanks in advance to each patient, fellow student, intern, resident, fellow, attending, and countless other clinical staff members who have and will invest in me as a student and a fellow human. I desire to someday invest in all of you as you have invested in me.


Jeffrey Cannon @jcannon1993 is a third year medical student at WVU School of Medicine in Morgantown, WV. When he isn’t wandering the wards or cowering in a corner in the clinics, he is sleeping, eating, exercising, barbershop singing, or reading— and definitely not studying for the shelf exams. But mostly sleeping.


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