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Interns.

An intern is a term used for a doctor in training who has completed medical school. An intern has a medical degree, but does not have a full license to practice medicine unsupervised and so are taught by their residents and attendings.

Interns in a medical residency are also known as medical interns, while interns in a surgical residency are known as surgical interns.

Start of Residency Year[]

The start of a residency year at Seattle Grace Hospital/Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital/Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital is typically marked by an intern mixer, shortly before the nation-wide official start of a residency year on July 1st. The mixer gives the interns from all specialties (internal medicine, surgery, ...) a chance to get to know each other and the hospital as well as any present attendings. On their first day, the surgical interns are welcomed by the Chief of Surgery and/or the Director of the Residency Program. Afterward, the surgical interns get scrubs, lab coats, trauma protocols, a phone list and pagers (if still used) and are met by the resident to whom they have been assigned.

Richard's Speech[]

During his tenure as Chief of Surgery at Seattle Grace Hospital and the successor hospitals established later on, Richard gave the same speech to the new class of interns every year on their first day as he first showed them the hospital's operating room. As such, it became well-known among the surgeons on staff, even those who were trained elsewhere. After stepping down as Chief, he was appointed the Director of the hospital's Residency Program and thus continued the habit of welcoming the new interns with his classic speech.

Each of you comes here today hopeful, wanting in on the game. A month ago you were in med school being taught by doctors. Today, you are the doctors. The five [seven] years you spend here as a surgical resident will be the best and worst of your life. You will be pushed to the breaking point. Look around you. Say hello to your competition. Eight of you will switch to an easier speciality. Five of you will crack under the pressure. Two of you will be asked to leave. This is your starting line. This is your arena. How well you play? That's up to you.
— The speech as given on Meredith's first day. The "seven" years would later be changed to "five" years as the pilot episode wrongly stated a residency in general surgery only takes five years.

Aside from the first time the speech was shown in the very first episode, it was shown on two more occasions for new intern classes:

  • Time Stops: Richard, as Director of the Residency Program, welcomes Andrew's class of interns with his speech. Audrey Shaw interrupts his speech by asking why the residency will be the best and worst of their life. He is disoriented for a second due to being interrupted and says he was getting to that, then continues as per usual.
  • My Happy Ending: A new class of interns start out early to help out during the coronavirus pandemic. The heavy impact the pandemic has on the medical field is reflected in a heavily changed version of Richard's speech.

Bailey's Speech[]

Bailey's classic "five rules" speech as given to her interns was later used when those interns became residents and were assigned interns themselves. The speech is given as the resident shows their interns around the hospital.

I have five rules. Memorize them. Rule number one, don't bother sucking up - I already hate you, that's not gonna change. Trauma protocols, phone list, pagers -- Nurses will page you. You will answer every page at a run -- a run -- that's rule number two. Your first day starts now and lasts 48 hours. You're interns, grunts, nobodies, bottom of the surgical food chain. You run labs, write orders, work every second night until you drop and don't complain. On-call rooms. Attendings hog them. Sleep when you can where you can, which brings me to rule number three. If I'm sleeping, don't wake me unless your patient is actually dying. Rule number four, the dying patient better not be dead when I get there. Not only will you have killed someone, you would have woken me for no good reason. We clear? Rule number five: when I move, you move.
— Bailey's speech as originally given to Meredith's class of interns.

Chronicled Residency Years During the Show[]

The following episodes show or confirm the introduction of a new class of interns:

  • A Hard Day's Night: Richard welcomes Meredith's class of interns to the hospital with his iconic speech.
    • Seasons two and three continue the residency year that started at the beginning of season one.
  • A Change is Gonna Come: The welcome speech for Lexie's class of interns was not shown. They were only shown to be told Bailey's speech by their respective residents.
    • Season five continues the residency year that started with season four.
  • Goodbye: Lexie mentions becoming a second-year resident that day but no specific new interns were introduced, thus no speech was shown.
  • Season 7: While the known residents were confirmed in dialogue to have progressed to the next years, no new interns were shown. The timeline in the beginning of the season is not specified. As such it's not clear in which episode the new residency year has started. It is likely that it started in the two-month gap between the finale of season six and the start of season seven. If so, it is also possible no welcome speech was given due to the hospital still shaken up by the shooting (with Chief of Surgery Derek recovering from being shot and Richard stepping in as interim Chief).
  • Free Falling: New interns are introduced yet no welcome speech was shown though it likely happened as Richard didn't step down until shortly after the start of the residency year.
  • Season 9: Jo's class of interns started out shortly after the plane crash, thus a month before Going, Going, Gone. Flashbacks shown in Remember the Time did not show their first day. Owen Hunt was Chief of Surgery at that point and it remains unknown if he even gave a speech to the new interns.
  • Map of You: Jo's class of interns have taken their intern exam and progressed to their second year of residency. No interns were introduced on screen for the remained of season ten.
  • Season 11: I Must Have Lost It on the Wind takes place after the start of the new residency year and confirms the fellows from season ten have finished their fellowship/the residents have progressed to their next year of residency.
  • She's Leaving Home: The episode(s) chronicle(s) a full year yet only focus on the holidays. July 4th is shown but no welcome speech is shown, nor are any new interns for that matter.
  • Time Stops: Richard, as Director of the Residency Program, welcomes Andrew's class of interns with his speech. Audrey Shaw interrupts his speech by asking why the residency will be the best and worst of their life. He is disoriented for a second due to being interrupted and says he was getting to that, then continues as per usual.
    • The rest of season eleven and seasons twelve and fourteen continue the residency year that started in Time Stops.
  • Season 14: Come on Down to My Boat, Baby shows the intern mixer for the new class of interns. Grey's Anatomy: B-Team, which runs in parallel to Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story, chronicles the interns' first day. Bailey welcomes the residents in the locker room and recites her own five rules. Richard's speech was not shown though he was shown to round with Dahlia, one of the interns.
    • Season fifteen continues the residency year that started in season fourteen.
  • Season 16: No new interns are introduced nor is the start of the new residency year specified. It likely started somewhere during the five weeks spanned in Nothing Left to Cling To
  • My Happy Ending: A new class of interns start out early to help out during the coronavirus pandemic. The heavy impact the pandemic has on the medical field is reflected in a heavily changed version of Richard's speech.

Surgical Interns and Their Residents[]

The interns are listed under their residents according to their season of introduction.

Season 1, 2, and 3[]

Bailey's interns.

Seasons 4 and 5[]

The interns of Cristina Yang, Izzie Stevens and Alex Karev as they are chosen to be given to George

Season 8[]

Seasons 9 and 10[]

Season9interns.jpg

The season 9 interns were all assigned to unknown residents.

Seasons 11 to 13[]

Season 14 and 15[]

The season 14 interns were assigned to Jo Wilson until she started her fellowship.

Season 17[]

The season 17 interns started out in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Since the usual hierarchy at the hospital was no longer intact, with attendings doing scut as well, they have not yet been assigned to a specific resident.

Notes and Trivia[]

  • While Meredith was an intern, there were only six female interns out of the class of twenty interns.
  • The interns have 48 hour shifts and work every second day.
  • According to Bailey, ER interns don't know the ass from the esophagus.
  • Bailey has described her former interns as such: Alex was lazy, Izzie was whiny, Meredith was downright depressing, and Cristina was annoying. In the first episode, Bailey said, "George O'Malley is a puppy." Later, she said George was her favorite.
  • Curiously, the season 9 interns were always on the services of attending surgeons. In earlier seasons, interns were always seen assisting their residents rather than being on an attending's service.
  • Throughout the course of the series, all of Bailey's interns have been on the operating table at least once.
  • According to Callie, psych interns aren't the sharpest.
  • It's unknown how it gets decided which resident interns get assigned to. Over the course of the series, residents from different years have been assigned interns.
    • In the first season, the five interns get assigned to Bailey, a fourth year resident at the time.
    • In season four, the new interns get assigned to second year residents.
    • In season seven, fourth-year resident Alex mentions having interns.
    • In season eight, Lexie is assigned interns in her fourth year.
    • In season eleven, Stephanie first is assigned interns while in her fourth year.
    • In season fourteen, Jo is assigned her first group of interns while in her fifth year.
  • While a medical intern is also a first-year internal medicine resident, Grey's Anatomy utilizes the term surgical intern for first-year surgical residents.
  • In order to practice unsupervised medicine as a resident, an intern must pass the final part of United States Medical Licensing Exam, otherwise known as the Intern Test.
  • Season 17 interns started earlier their internship to support the hospital staff due to Covid-19 pandemic.

See Also[]

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