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Intern: A Doctor's Initiation

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3.72  ·  Rating details ·  3,981 ratings  ·  310 reviews
Intern is Dr. Sandeep Jauhar's story of his days and nights in residency at a busy hospital in New York City, a trial that led him to question his every assumption about medical care today. Residency--and especially its first year, the internship--is legendary for its brutality, and Jauhar's experience was even more harrowing than most. He switched from physics to medicine ...more
Paperback, 299 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published December 26th 2007)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  3,981 ratings  ·  310 reviews


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Lobstergirl
Jun 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Dagobert O'Gara
Shelves: memoir, got-rid-of

Dr. Jauhar seems like a pretty narcissistic douche. His personal career struggles, the difficulty he has in deciding what profession to pursue, and his moderate depression and ennui in the midst of stressful situations are, he will be surprised to hear, much less interesting than the anecdotes of the hospital patients under his care. His and his brother's (also a physician) douchiness are not unexpected given their parents' attitudes: get out of academia, where you will never be successful but w
...more
India M. Clamp
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Intern: A Doctor’s Initiation” is at times shouting in your face with brutal “hot pink” honesty bringing back memories of me and my brother accidentally seeing a cadaver at Rio Hondo Hospital. This memory was similar to what made Dr. Jauhar vomit in-between patients. “Cookbook medicine” is the generic term he applies to the medical practice and not something he wishes to emulate. “Creare fabulis” and drones mimic.

“One thing I never thought seriously about was becoming a doctor. In fact, for mo
...more
Adrienne
Mar 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I almost didn't even bother finishing this book--the author's attitude grated and grated to the point where I was actively angry with him. His self-absorption knows no ends. Everything--including the woe felt by a young man diagnosed with testicular cancer--comes back to his comparatively trivial existential angst about his career choice, which gets incredibly old before the book is even a third of the way finished. And if the self-absorption isn't enough? Worry not--you get a nice heaping helpi ...more
Shelah
Sep 05, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit that I'm curious about the lives of the doctors who care for me and my family. How many kids do they have? Where do they go on vacation? Are they happy? But if they're not happy, do I really want to know? In Intern, Sandeep Jauhar describes the crisis he went through during his intern year (the first year after medical school-- a hellish, hazing sort of year when doctors are on call every third or fourth night and work LONG hours the other days). It's an interesting, well-written book ...more
Michelle
This book was different than I had expected it to be. I had expected it to be funnier than it was...more along the lines of "The Nanny Diaries" but for doctors.

That said, I still enjoyed the book. As others have said, Dr. Jauhar's writing style is sensitive and insightful, but also a bit self-indulgent at times. After all, most professionals have moments of doubt, have major hurdles to overcome in their education or when they are a rookie, and will continue to have hurdles through their careers.
...more
Lori Anderson
I did not like this book. I did not like the author, although I have never met him. He may be quite a wonderful person but it is apparent after reading "Intern" that he is not a very good doctor -- and he knows it.

Dr. Jauhar held a PhD in Physics, and I can understand that amount of work and time it takes to accomplish this as one of my sons is a PhD in Physics from Yale. I understand medical school because I went through pre-med at University of Virginia, then took a year off to raise money to
...more
audrey
200 pages of wibbling about whether to be a doctor, 100 pages of wibbling about whether everyone thinks he's a good doctor or not. Along the way he seems pretty terrible at doctoring. ...more
Koren
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medical, medicine
What is it like to be an intern in a big hospital in New York? According to this doctor it is not much fun. I cant imagine a job being more stressful than what these future MD's go through. This book is at its best when he is talking about individual patients and I wish he could have gone deeper into their histories but the truth is he does not have time to treat the whole patient and is often dealing with several emergencies at once. He does not have confidence in his abilities and often questi ...more
Mazola1
Nov 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great trial attorney once told me that a plaintiff's attorney should never leave a nurse on the jury. His reasoning was that nurses make unsympathetic jurors because the suffering they see in their jobs makes them jaded and insensitive. A kernel of truth lies at the heart of that stereotype. The same kernel of truth provides much of the dramatic tension in Sandeep Jauhar's insightful memoir about his medical training. Dr. Jauhar's story is not only the story of his struggle to learn his craft, ...more
Lara
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love medical memoirs, but I agree with @Lobstergirl; there’s this weird, casual misogyny that permeates the whole book. Every single woman is a “pretty blonde” or a “knockout.” His colleague Caitlin is "a very attractive brunette” with “great breasts.” He describes a woman whose husband is dying as sensual. Not only is it unnecessary, but it’s just bizarre. I really enjoyed the book, but I have no idea how Jauhar’s constant sexualization of women made it past his editor. ...more
Katie
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brutally (almost shockingly so) honest look at a doctor's first year of residency, the internship year. The "bitch" year, the personal assistant year, the abused newbie year.

This author is the opposite of everyone who always knew they wanted to be a doctor. He had a PhD in physics, and then had some experience as a journalist before coming into medicine. He was never sure through the course of the book that this is what he wanted to do. That's a tough place to be in, given the nonstop, sleep-
...more
Caitlyn
Aug 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was bummed I accidentally deleted my first review!


I will preface this that I am a physician - about five years out of internship. I generally have avoided medical memoirs or medical books in general but this was on my bfs bookshelf so I picked it up. I hate overly grandiose memoirs of medicine and for that reason I liked this book. This book felt real. I doubt its a story that anyone else outside of medicine could truly appreciate though. Medical training is such a unique experience and I thi
...more
Apta
Apr 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Be not afraid of greatness: some men are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them."
William Shakespeare, "Twelfth Night"

What leads a man into the 'noble career' of medicine? The answer to that question is deeply personal and for some of us, has not yet been answered concretely.

Yet, we practice medicine every day. We make the tough decisions demanded of us, work the long hours and give it the focus it demands.

What lies in the transformation from the naive, un
...more
Ellie Revert
Sep 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
Recommended to Ellie by: good review
We have a favorite nephew, Doug, who has recently finished his intern year, and is now into his residency. The author seems to have been pulled in many directions, and was rarely sure of the wisdom of his choice of medicine. I think he truly portrayed that intern year--and how does anyone survive that?

This book is timely in that it talks about end of life care. And about DNR--DO NOT RESUSITATE. And I was reading it as Pres Obama is trying to finally settle healthcare for all Americans. Like the
...more
Anna
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful and ultimately frightening book! Continuing on my memoir kick, Jauhar's memoir about being a medical intern in a NYC hospital shows what an incredibly steep learning curve newly graduated doctors are on. It is astonishing to me how quickly Jauhar goes from knowing little in his first year as an intern to being quite competent even by the second year. He recognizes how brutal the internship is with respect to hours etc. I get the sense that the biggest casualty from tiredness is ...more
Chaya Leah
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. I love reading healthcare provider memoirs, and especially love specific patient stories, and this book definitely had many of those. I did think at times Dr. Jauhar was too self-indulgent in his wallowing. By the halfway point of the book, I wanted to slap him and tell him to stop mourning his physics career and move on. In fact, I stopped reading the book for two months because I felt the wallowing bogged down the middle section.

I liked how he used specific patient stories to illus
...more
Carrie Hinchman
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love reading about medical cases, experiences, and ethics, so I did overall enjoy this book. BUT the author is a doctor who just thought going into medicine would be a good move and spent the first 3/4 of the book second guessing his career choices, which really annoyed me at times (especially as someone who is psyched to go into medicine). The last 1/4 of the book took a pleasant turn when he finally felt at peace with his decision and dove more into the type of medical writing that I enjoy.
Kylee Eubanks
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Doctors, they are the people that help heal others with their knowledge. Many children dream of becoming a doctor when they are young, but do they really know what it takes to get there? Intern by Sandeep Jauhar is an autobiography nonfiction novel that tells the story of struggles on his journey to becoming a doctor.
Sandeep is the narrator in his novel Intern. He grew up in a country in Asia and has an older brother who also had the dreams of being in the medical field. His parents had the mone
...more
Kristin
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jauhar tells the story of his first two years of internship in New York City, and what makes it stand out is that his path to being a doctor is different than many of the similar books I've read. He has a Ph.D. in Physics, which sounds unpleasant to me, and apparently it was to him as well, because he hadn't even finished earning that degree before he needed a switch and chose medicine. Cultural influences came into play here, as he is Indian-American and his parents expected him to be a scienti ...more
Tung
Jan 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
The practice of medicine is endlessly fascinating because it involves people and life and death and unique medical cases. For me, Atul Gawande is the model for how to tell all of that fascination in a way that is both engaging and illuminating. Intern is Jauhar's take – a memoir of his journey from being a Physics doctoral student to his years of internship at New York Hospital. Internship is the boot camp for doctors, the exhausting period where doctors both learn their craft and test their met ...more
Casey
I didn’t expect to relate to Dr. Sandeep Jauhar: he’s a physician, while I’m an (arguably) failed academic who never considered a career in medicine because it didn’t intellectually engaging. Turns out, I’m kind of an asshole, but so is Dr. Jauhar, who got his PhD in Physics from UC Berkeley before becoming a failed academic himself, packing up, and matriculating at Washington University in Saint Louis’ Medical School. His issue with medicine is the same thing that kept me from really thinking a ...more
Sonia
Jun 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was completely in love with this book for the first few chapters. It was exactly the kind of book I needed to read at this point in my life. Jauhar is reluctant, anxious, frightened even, of starting his internship year. He is a Californian relocating to New York City, and he has a love of writing that makes him question his career choices. Sound familiar? At first sympathetic to the author, for all his indecision and all his qualms about medicine. However, about halfway through the book, I ju ...more
Holly
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2014-reads
An incredible book, really. I listened to the audio version and if the Overdrive listing is correct it was read by the author himself - a fact that rather astounds me as it was so well-performed: clear diction and pacing, and no shifts in volume or under-talking - and emotional, too.

It's a memoir of the author's medical education and days as an intern but it's so much more: graphic medical detail and diagnostic terminology, can-barely-look moments of near comedy, and Jauhar's aversion to bad sm
...more
Freddy
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting spin on the path to becoming a doctor.
It kind of reminded me a little of Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, showing you Jauhar's path to becoming a doctor. Not a lot of intrigue and a pretty straightforward read; it is enlightening.
...more
Lua
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found the author's story of his medical training to be a compelling read. I appreciated his honesty when writing about the problems inherent in the way that doctors are trained, as well as the stories that highlight the gray areas when it is unclear whether treatments are helping or hurting the patient. The author weaves his personal stories into the narrative, along with the stories of his patients. Since most of us will end up in the hospital at one point or another, with a relative or for o ...more
Susan
Jan 21, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
He's a whiner, but it was still fascinating to read about the patients he met and to get a more realistic portrayal of internship/residency than you get from watching Grey's Anatomy. It renewed my commitment to steer clear of hospitals for anything short of a life-threatening emergency. I definitely respect the profession, though. ...more
Leo Lakpa
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent memoir of Dr. Jahur's journey of becoming a physician. Full of compelling stories of his insecurities, naiveties, and triumphs he went through during his rigorous years of residency. ...more
Praneet Sachdeo
Story: 4 stars. (very relatable)
Narration: 3 stars.
Language: 3.5 stars.
Overall: 3.6
Divya Pal Singh
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I began the book with a groan “Oh no! Another cliched story of the overworked and randy intern going through his apprenticeship in the usual flippant manner.” However, it was a pleasant change in the narrative and this turns out to be an engrossing tale of self-discovery. Here is a cynical PhD in physics deciding to pursue a career in medicine. He is confused as he weighs his options to do law or journalism (in fact, he does an internship in TIME).

He describes the gut-wrenching details of his in
...more
Eric
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intern inevitably invites comparrison to Atul Gawande's phenomenal books, particularly Complications, that blend narratives from the hospital floor with medical musings and professional lessons. Compared with Gawande, Dr. Jauhar conveys much more of his personal struggles, candidly discussing his failures and foibles.

Unfortunately, Jauhar writes with the awkward habit of describing women in especial physical detail. It grew from distracting to mildly disturbing to plain entertaining. Here are s
...more
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Sandeep Jauhar has written three books, all published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. His first book, "Intern: A Doctor's Initiation," was a national bestseller and was optioned by NBC for a dramatic television series.

His second book, "Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician," released in August 2014, was a New York Times bestseller and was named a New York Post Best Book of 2014. It
...more

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