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The Intern Blues: The Timeless Classic about the Making of a Doctor [Paperback]

Robert Marion
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 9.63 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

Sep 2001
The intern year is the toughest time in a doctor's life. Literally a baptism by fire, internship must turn the average green medical school graduate into a seasoned physician. The typical intern is deprived of sleep, confronted with all manner of human misery, and, at least temporarily, driven slightly insane.

Robert Marion was ten years out of his own internship, and supervising a small group of pediatric interns at a major New York medical center, when he asked three of them to keep careful diaries of their impressions over the course of a year.

It is the testimony of these three interns -- Andy, Mark, and Amy -- that forms the core of this book: their real-life lessons in treating very sick children, confronting child abuse and the awful human impact of the AIDS epidemic, skirting the indifference of the hospital bureaucracy, overcoming their own fears, insecurities, and constant fatigue. Their stories are harrowing and often funny, their personal triumphs unforgettable.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 2 Reprint edition (Sep 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060937092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060937096
  • Product Dimensions: 20.7 x 13.5 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 674,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Author

Sequel to INTERN BLUES soon to be published
It has been ten years since the publication of INTERN BLUES. Many things about training have changed since the 3 doctors portrayed in the book completed their training. In a new book, ROTATIONS: THE TWELVE MONTHS OF INTERNSHIP, I examine how those changes have affected the lives of three interns who trained in the 1994 to 1995 year. ROTATIONS will be published by Harper Collins in June, 1997 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I suppose I should have started this diary forty-eight hours ago, before I'd actually started my internship, but I only got this tape recorder today. Read the first page
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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4.0 out of 5 stars The life and times of first year docs 21 July 2007
Format:Paperback
According to legend the Holy Roman Emperor Fredrick II once locked up various children and forbade anyone to speak to them to see what the original language God gave to man was. However, before any of the children managed to speak they all perished with chroniclers of the time putting their deaths down to neglect. The interns of Intern Blues certainly seem to try and test the theory of killing children by neglect. The story traces the lives of 3 interns in 80s America as they make their way through their first year of being a doctor. I'm not a doctor (yet) so I can't qualify the accuracy of their experience but even so it is one worth reading about. In fairness to them their under extraordinary pressure and left almost stranded alone most of the time and in writing a journal it's almost hard not to put yourself at the centre. Whilst, one hopes that doctors would do all they can for their patients it's not always possible and whilst the interns are a little annoying they do seem basically like nice people being broken down by the system. The book tells of harrowing nights on call, situations where they've been left in charge of whole wards of children who seem determined to die and other such experiences showing the extraordinary stress placed on their lives.

In the introduction it states that this book is aimed at those who know interns in order to give them some experience of what they're going through, and whilst it's a laudable aim the poor way in which medical terminology is explained may be a little off putting.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest and real novel which I thoroughly enjoyed 25 April 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am sixteen years old and I want to become a doctor and this book has been perfect for me to read. What a wonderful idea for a book that Dr. Marion thought of-- by taking a diary of 3 different interns and showing how their internship truly is. It's just an excellent book, one that took me just a week to read. As I read this book, I felt like I was beginning to personally know these three interns through their good times and struggles. I look forward to reading the sequel. I would really like to know what Amy, Mark, and Andy are doing now and how they feel about this book. Excellent job, Dr. Marion!
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Right on the nose 28 May 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As a third year resident in pediatrics, I re-read this book. I read it initially as a premed student, and I couldn't wait to live it myself. Having lived it, I'm glad I san say that I am part of a rich alumni of former interns. However, my second year was more grueling than the first. Insted of being the intern, I was supervising the interns, as well as the ICU's, My only criticism of the book is that Marion seemed to select 3 ultra whiners for his subjects. Maybe it's an East Coast thing, but even after a horrible call night or some terrible deaths, my colleagues and I rarely achieved this level of whining and self pity. Suggestion : Do a book at a Big Ten School !
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  42 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hauntingly accurate representation of internship 22 Feb 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
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.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A future intern's blues 28 Jun 2000
By Katie Donohoe - Published on Amazon.com
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. I don not believe this is meant to challenge the entire medical teaching process, but rather ask each individual reader to fully understand what a doctor must give up inside of themselves in order to achieve their goal. My main criticism of the book is that the characters primarily record only when really bad things happen, thus there are very few positive events, and even fewer neutral events. So the reader is not sure if all of the internship is truly this horrible, or if only the truly horrible things are recorded. I have a feeling that if a third party had followed each character and recorded ALL the events, the picture would be significantly less bleak. I hope that is true, seeing as in two years, I will be an intern myself. This is a good book for anyone interested in becoming a doctor, or interested in understanding better the sacrifices one must make along the journey to becoming a doctor; Although it should be taken with a grain of salt. The characters all mention that if they knew how bad the internship would be, they never would have done it. However, as the book is closing, amnesia sets in, and upon reflection, they all concede that it "may" have been worth it. In any event, they all choose to continue their training. At first glance, this book appeared to be filled with the whining of interns. Upon further inspection, it is an interesting commentary on the experiences that young doctors have as they gain the skills and confidence needed in the field of medicine.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars powerful account 24 Aug 2005
By Patricia B. Christian - Published on Amazon.com
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great but sobering look at the making of physicians 9 July 2002
By Ann Ueda - Published on Amazon.com
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read 12 Jan 2005
By Dana - Published on Amazon.com
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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