Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician's First Year” as Want to Read:
The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician's First Year
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician's First Year

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  4,721 ratings  ·  646 reviews
In medical school, Matt McCarthy dreamed of being a different kind of doctorthe sort of mythical, unflappable physician who could reach unreachable patients. But when a new admission to the critical care unit almost died his first night on call, he found himself scrambling. Visions of mastery quickly gave way to hopes of simply surviving hospital life, where confidence was ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Broadway Books (first published April 7th 2015)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,721 ratings  ·  646 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician's First Year
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
*4.5 stars*

If you want to know why I became a dentist instead of a physician, you should just read this book.

I adored this touching, sometimes humorous, well written book about Matt McCarthy's first year as a doctor at Columbia hospital. It is rare to find a non-fiction story by someone who isn't a writer by trade be this readable. This author has a natural ability to draw people in, and I was completely absorbed by this story.

As many of you know, I'm a dentist. Now, one of the main reasons
Diane S ☔
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an incredibly fascinating book and the way it is written makes it so easy to read. Matt's first year as an intern, all the cases, rotations, long shifts, doubt, mistakes, victories all the things that go into making a young man into a confident doctor. Some of the cases and people we get acquainted with in depth and it is hard not to cheer and hope these people have a good outcome. Loved the ending, when he and is fellow interns become residents and then a very special something else ...more
Dec 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-read
I'm about a quarter the way in. So far I think it is really honest and down to earth, but the author is beginning to really annoy me. He never loses an opportunity to say he went to Harvard and that's like name-dropp;ing, once is enough, more looks like you are trying to impress. Also the women in the book, no matter whether they are his peers or supervisors, have to have a physical description attached to them, whereas the men don't. What's with describing your boss as having 'impossibly high ...more
India Clamp
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine getting skewered by an HIV infected needle and having to endure meds for a month. Meeting Matt at Stanford and observing him helped me to understand why many physicians are prolific readers/authors/healers. Feelings are laid bare when he says I felt like the dullest scalpel in the drawer and guilt over a botched diagnosis.

The clock is ticking, my friend. And youre stalling. As my intern pondered the scenario, I turned to the group. A wise man once said that when you arrive at an arrest,
Louise Aronson
Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doctor-books
I know what you might be thinking: Another book about the internship year? Yup, but read it anyway. It's different in its brutal honesty about the flawed narrator, and because the doctor-writer really knows how to put together a scene and build tension. In short, dramatic chapters he takes the reader through a year that is at once universal and completely unique. I was hooked!
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fastest I've read an audiobook in awhile :) This was one I saw in rec on amazon based on another one I was reading at the time but kind of forgot about it after placing it on my amazon wishlist. It came to notice again when I was searching for a medical memoir to read. Something about it called to me this time and I listened to it on the way to and from work and at home when I wasn't feeling good.

Always love when people read their own memoirs too... to me it adds that extra "something" and helps
2.5 stars, rounded up because I liked his writing style.

If you're going to write a memoir, you should probably have a story people would want to read. The tales of Dr. McCarthy's first year as a doctor would make a good chapter in a comprehensive autobiography but makes a boring book.

Once you get past the expected (little sleep, complicated hierarchy, med school doesn't teach you how to read an X-ray or write patient notes, inspiring patients) there really isn't any story. Yes, an accident led
Sonja Arlow
I wanted to study Microbiology at the end of high school but due to a range of circumstances I ended up getting a marketing degree years later. But the love and fascination of biology, the macabre and medicine has stayed with me.

Although this book is light on the macabre and the more technical side of practicing medicine it did show how terrifying it could be for an interns first year. The writing was easy to digest and had quite a few funny moments in-between the horrors of constantly not
Alissa Patrick
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great nonfiction book. It read like a novel, and it made it so much more interesting when you realize that this is a real doctor and this is what being a real-life doctor is. A lot of the beginning made me think of the first season of Grey's Anatomy, when they didn't know what the hell they were doing. It was a good mixture of scary and hilarious. Plus, the ending made my heart leap with joy. Highly recommend!
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health, healing
Nervously I approached this book. How many times have I been burned by my anticipated hopes for a memoir by someone with an intriguing point of view who turns out to have few storytelling skills?

Eagerly, let me assure you, Matt McCarthy can write. Whew. One hurdle. And he has a great story, that first year as a doctor. Whew. Second hurdle. And were in the race.

I read on and on, watching from the sidelines as our doctor, who is expected to leave college and be ready to handle every health
3.5 Stars. "You know," he said, patting me on the back, "there is nothing more rewarding than bringing a ninety-five-year-old demented woman with widely metastatic lung cancer back to life. Well done."

One of the most disturbing things I have realized as I've grown up is that, despite what I thought as a child, most adults are pretty much just winging it. I had excluded doctors from that assessment, for my own peace of mind. Of course everyone has to start somewhere and The Real Doctor Will See
This memoir outlines the making of a physician. Dr. McCarthy gives the reader a walk in his shoes as he navigates his first year out of medical school. For the lay person and medical professional alike, it is very readable.
The medical jargon is explained without talking down to the reader. The situations he finds himself in are typical and yet extraordinary. After a needlestick, he is forced to confront himself and what kind of doctor he wants to be.He struggles with empathy and objectivity
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I have read a number of accounts of the first year of medical internship. This one ranks somewhere in the middle. What is appalling, but not surprising, is the grueling aspects of this intern year. Makes me want to forever avoid being a patient in a teaching hospital. Dr McCarthy's account had some good moments when I cared about him and his patients but it also revealed a whiney persona that was less than attractive at times.
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Matt McCarthy tells of his experiences as a first-year resident at Columbia Hospital in New York City. He provides a rare in-depth look at the inner workings of a hospital through the eyes of an intern. What this book does is show just how human doctors are. They mess up... a lot. But there's always someone who's got their back in the event that they do. If medical shows make you squeamish, I'd advise not to read. But I'll definitely recommend to anyone who likes those sorts of things. There ...more
5 Stars, Completed June 7, 2015

You do not want to be the physician who assumed the patient was sleeping," the instructor told us, "when in fact he was dead."

The quote above is one of the many words of wisdom and advice Dr. Matt McCarthy learned as a first year intern at Columbia hospital, and it perfectly illustrates the pressure health care professionals have to deal with every day.

In this frank memoir, The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly, Dr. McCarthy beautifully writes about the brutal
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
3.5 stars

This is an accessible, entertaining memoir of one brand-new doctors intern year at Columbia University Medical Center. It is rather light reading, but Dr. McCarthy proves a good storyteller, and for anyone whos ever been a brand-new professional in over their head, it proves a fun (and sometimes wince-worthy) mix of relatability and schadenfreude.

The Real Doctor is the intimate, candid story of the authors struggles, and sometimes successes, as a trainee doctor. He graduated from
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having worked in a hospital for 6 years, I have always found it fascinating to learn about what the doctors go through before they become doctors and this book more than answers that question.

Matt McCarthy, excuse me... Dr. Matt McCarthy, details his life as a first year intern after graduating from Harvard Medical School. He begins by describing the daunting task of presiding over night shift of the CCU with a second year resident, whom he affectionately refers to as "Baio" after Scott Baio.
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Doctors really dont know how to do anything. On TV shows they show doctors doing everything and nurses are basically nonexistent. But the real doctor will see you shortly tells you how it is. Dr. McCarthy knows pretty much nothing and is not a functioning human being yet. So we go from seeing him know basically nothing to knowing a bit less than nothing or a bit more than nothing I suppose and it was funny and entertaining and I feel like i learned a bit as well. ...more
Susan Swiderski
You really can't judge a book by its cover. Trust me, THIS book is much much better than its blah cover. Better than its title, too. I'm really happy I won this one through a Goodreads giveaway, because quite frankly, nothing about it would have captured my eye if I'd seen it... or to be more accurate, overlooked it... in a book store. I entered the giveaway based on its blurb, but in a book store setting, who's gonna pick up a book to even read a blurb if there's nothing noteworthy about the ...more
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, arc
The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly is an incredibly candid inside look at what life as an intern was like for author and doctor Matt McCarthy during his third year of medical school.

I must admit that I began this book with the expectation that McCarthy would be one of the many doctors who can't seem to take the time to string two coherent sentences together. So I was honestly shocked to find that McCarthy is, in reality, a truly exceptional writer and storyteller. This book has wonderful flow
Bethany Zimp
Jun 15, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure this will be a popular book with the lay reader, but as a medical professional I did not find it interesting, except perhaps as: what not to do when trying to become a physician. Matt McCarthy retells what his experiences in medical school and residency were like on his way to becoming a doctor. I wasn't clear how long ago he actually took this journey as many of his references to Charles in Charge, TV dramas, HIV care, and celebrity gossip, seemed very dated. Even his 30 hour work day ...more
May 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As a high-acuity health practitioner myself, I have to say that the incompetence described by the author during his first intern year was appalling. No person already ascribed a doctorate in medicine, with four years of so-called training behind him, should be performing to such low standards, let alone glorifying those failures as part of some 'honest' account of real-life doctoring. Failing to understand the significance of a unilaterally dilated pupil, knowing nothing about cardiac arrest, ...more
Apr 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-written addition to the "becoming a doctor" genre (one of my favorites, even though I'm terrified of doctors and had no desire to become one). It was heartening to learn how deeply these young doctors care for their patients, but it was alarming to read how clueless the interns are, especially when it comes to practical procedures like drawing blood and putting in tubes . Clueless or not, they still get assigned to stab things into their poor patients.

Now I have to research which
Linda Terblanche
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I'll write a memoire about my first year as an accountant.... anyone interested??
Charles Finch
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best memoirs I've read - an urgent, funny, and fascinating look at how one doctor was made. I'll write a longer review soon, but want people to be aware of this book now!
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars! This book has been on my To-read-list since the start of my dubious Goodreads "career" (2015, oh my!) and even though I've been wanting to read it for literal ages now, I could never find the motivation to do so. Medicine? Bleeegh. Probably the only subject I was never ever interested in studying. Not only because I inconveniently happen to faint at the sight of blood, but because I could never imagine voluntarily working 30h-shifts and killing myself getting through med school, just ...more
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, medical
Matt McCarthy is so endearing. He's a brand-spanking-new doctor and he doesn't know a darn thing and isn't afraid to tell us. This book mostly covers his first year as an intern at Columbia University Hospital. He went to Harvard for med school (although apparently they don't teach much medicine which is disturbing. Harvard grads are well-known for having no grasp of physiognomy, only dissecting one upper or lower extremity.) And then, in the grand tradition of American medical training, he is ...more
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, and had it not been for the fact that I was studying for a shelf exam at the time that I started reading this, I would've finished it in one sitting. I was hooked just by the prologue.

As a medical student, I could definitely relate to most of what Dr. McCarthy wrote about and described in here. He writes really wellthe story flows naturally, and he really knows how to put scenes together. He also has a great sense of humor, and his writing style is very engaging.

Diane Yannick
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matt McCarthy's internship at Columbia Hospital was both entertaining and thought provoking. His candor and ability to tell his story are gifts to his readers. Taking those huge steps from book learning to real patients takes a tremendous amount of courage. As this doc did early in his internship, mistakes are made, not through negligence but through inexperience. Whether these mistakes inform future decisions or create an insurmountable fear depends on the doctor's personality and mentors. Matt ...more
Apr 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book reads like a novel and takes the reader through the author's experiences of his first year as a medical intern. I've never liked working with residents, interns, or medical students precisely because of the types of experiences talked about in this book. It was scary, yet often humorous to read about different cases and patients this intern encountered, and reminded me of all of my experiences as the mother of the patient, trying to explain things to a young intern or resident. As this ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • On Call: A Doctor's Days and Nights in Residency
  • Hot Lights, Cold Steel: Life, Death and Sleepless Nights in a Surgeon's First Years
  • Internal Medicine: A Doctor's Stories
  • When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales of Neurosurgery
  • Intern: A Doctor's Initiation
  • The Year They Tried to Kill Me :  Surviving a Surgical Internship Even If the Patients Don't
  • Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis
  • Blue Collar, Blue Scrubs: The Making of a Surgeon
  • Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science
  • Confessions of a Surgeon: The Good, the Bad, and the Complicated...Life Behind the O.R. Doors
  • Diagnosis: Solving the Most Baffling Medical Mysteries
  • Lights and Sirens
  • Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance
  • Cook County ICU: 30 Years of Unforgettable Patients and Odd Cases
  • A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic's Wild Ride to the Edge and Back
  • Patient by Patient: Lessons in Love, Loss, Hope, and Healing from a Doctor's Practice
  • Last Night in the OR: A Transplant Surgeon's Odyssey
  • Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity
See similar books…
Matt McCarthy is an assistant professor of medicine at Cornell and author of Superbugs (2019), The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly (2015), and Odd Man Out (2009).
New book giveaway:

News & Interviews

Regular readers of romance know that the genre is currently chock-full of fresh plotlines and heroines who save themselves (and sometimes the he...
136 likes · 57 comments
“Going to give you some words of wisdom,” he said, “that were passed down to me when I became a surgeon. Consider them a surgeon’s survival guide.” I closed my eyes briefly, indicating I was ready to absorb. “When you can eat, eat. When you can sleep, sleep. When you can fuck, fuck. But do not fuck with the pancreas.” 8 likes
“We are wrestling with some form of imposter syndrome, unable to internalize and appreciate our own accomplishments” 8 likes
More quotes…