The pager on my hip beeped at 1:22 am with a call from the ICU. The nurse on the other end asked if I would please come down and pronounce a patient who had passed away. “I’ll be right there,” I responded, put down the admission note I was writing, and set off toward the ICU. This was my first inpatient medicine rotation as an intern, so I was embracing this task with a mix of overconfidence and not knowing what I didn’t know. I was also trying not to disturb my senior resident who was either addressing some important tasks or sleeping. Hitting the wall plate to open the double doors to the ICU, a nurse behind a desk pointed in the direction of one of the patient rooms. As I approached the room, I realized that I didn’t actually know how to pronounce a patient and had never been taught how to do so in medical school.
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