A/N- So this story has been lightly inspired by a lifetime of watching scrubs, greys anatomy and recently hart of dixie along with my own personal experience of working in hospitals. I should mention that I'm not a doctor, I was never smart enough :( but I've had plenty of insight into how they work; especially mean consultants/attendings, however any kind of medical terminology used may be, in most likelihoods, incorrect.
Another thing worth noting is that I have done my best to 'translate' if you will the english medical hierachy into the american one but I do apologise in advance if it is wrong.
I hope you enjoy it and please, review and let me know what you think!
Elena Gilbert readjusted her stethoscope around her neck for what would probably be the hundredth time that morning. She craned her neck backwards, staring at the looming, ominous building before her.
"Well," chirped the girl to her left, "Here we are." She was stood in between her two best friends from college, Bonnie Bennett to her left and Matt Donovan to her right; all fresh out of med school and as green as they came. The trio began to walk slowly towards the doors of the main reception, a large red lettered sign above the door welcoming them to Mystic Falls General Hospital. Elena stepped to the reception desk first, smiling meekly at the clearly stressed and slightly unwelcoming receptionist.
"Yes?" She asked, not even raising her head as she scribbled something on a paper form in front of her, groaning exasperatedly as her pen ran out and she threw it across the desk.
"Erm, we're supposed to be starting here today..." she began quietly.
"You're students?" she questioned, finally looking up at the three individuals in front of her. Before waiting for an answer she began to rattle off in a monotone, well practiced speech "Students have to report to the hospital university building, if you take the elevator to the-"
"We're not students." Elena cut across her, panic almost immediately setting in that in somehow pissing this woman off she might be jeopardising her entire medical career.
"We're interns." Interjected Matt from behind her and Elena felt herself stiffen with irritation, internally trying to tell herself that Matt had not said it because he thought she needed help, he was just doing her a favour...something he frequently took it upon himself to do. The woman snorted, taking in the appearance of them before muttering something under her breath that ended with "...younger every year".
She directed them down the corridor to the staff changing rooms in the same monotone voice she clearly reserved for directions and then told them they needed to take the elevator to the first floor where they would have a brief talk about what was expected of them before being assigned to their attending.
The trio trudged on, following her instructions exactly. Elena balked slightly as they reached the changing rooms that were, obviously, unisex. Insecurities began to niggle at her insides, sending the small caterpillars that had been settling into her stomach into a full swarm of butterflies. She breathed out slowly, pushing the door open and reminded herself that she'd seen plenty of patients in less dignified circumstances and she wasn't any different. The scene that met Elena's eyes as soon as she walked into the room was something like she imagined the backstage area of a fashion show to look like. Everywhere men and women were stripping off to their underwear hurriedly and dragging scrubs over their heads or onto their legs. Bonnie, Matt and Elena fought their way through the crowds and found a space on a bench at the back with three lockers close to each other. It felt like high school all over again.
Matt immediately began to strip his clothes off, closely followed by Bonnie; both completely uninhibited when it came to these things. Elena, however, attempted to manoeuvre her scrubs over her t-shirt and then take her t-shirt off underneath it, getting herself into a huge tangle. She then moved herself into the corner as much as was humanly possible before wrapping her now discarded t-shirt around her trousers, pulling them off as quickly as possible without falling over and whipping her scrubs on. Maybe she would just come to work in her scrubs from now on, she thought, regretfully.
By the time she had manoeuvred herself into her scrubs most of the other occupants had left the changing rooms, leaving the three alone again. "We better get moving or we'll be late." Stated Matt matter-of-factly. He could not comprehend Elena's inhibitions about her body, he had thought she was beautiful since the day he met her and found it unfathomable that such a stunning creature could be so insecure. However, having known her for so long he was aware that her insecurities ran a lot deeper than not just wanting to get changed in a busy locker room.
They exited the changing rooms and worked their way up to the first floor, finally finding the conference room with about 15 other interns in it, however the door was closed and the person at the front had already begun talking, a line of men and woman in white coats stood behind him. The three of them groaned as they realised they were late on their first day. Bonnie went first, squaring her shoulders and taking a deep breath as she walked into the room, mouthing a sorry with a pleading look in the direction of the man speaking at the front, Elena allowed Matt to go next and crept in behind him, keeping her head down and taking a seat near the back next to him.
The man speaking at the front did not stop for their entrance and after sitting down Elena looked up to listen to what he was saying. He was a man possibly in his mid to late fourties, his once brown hair now more grey than anything else and clearly thinning slightly at the temples. He had gentle creases at the sides of his eyes as if he'd spent an eternity smiling and Elena immediately took a liking to him. His voice was warm and reassuring as he spoke about the fine institution that they had chosen to work in, the support it offered to its interns and the leading teaching facilities it possessed, boasting some of the best doctors in the country. He spoke of the responsibilities that would now befall upon them and how they would not be alone in these. His words calmed Elena's nerves and, looking around, she saw that the anxious faces that she'd encountered in the locker room were now more calm and collected.
He clapped his hands suddenly, causing a few of the interns to startle and then giggle nervously, glancing around them. "Right, well that concludes my little talk, now for the fun part." He smiled rubbing his palms together enthusiastically, his skin suddenly filling in the creases around his eyes and looking altogether more natural, as if this was his neutral facial expression. "You'll be split into groups of approximately four or five and each of you will be assigned to an attending. Your attending is your teacher people; they are there both to teach and test but also to support." He stressed this last point heavily and one of the doctors behind him snorted derisively.
Elena had not noticed this doctor before as he had been stood directly behind the older man, who she now took to be the chief of medicine. He was stood with his arms folded across his chest, leaning casually against the wall behind him as if this whole experience was so utterly boring to him that he could barely keep himself upright. Whereas Elena had immediately felt the warmth of the older doctor she took an instant disliking to this younger doctor.
He was strikingly handsome, Elena deigned to note, he had jet black hair that was slightly long and hung messily around his forehead but his most prominent feature was the two azure blue orbs that peaked out underneath his mop of hair. Underneath his mandatory white coat he was wearing a plain black shirt that only served to further enhance the darkness of his features, causing his eyes to stand out all the more and a pair of slim fitting grey trousers. The clothing screamed expensive and Elena knew that he had probably spent more on his shirt than she'd spent on her entire wardrobe put together.
After he snorted the chief in front of him turned slightly, glancing over his shoulder and smiling warmly at the younger man behind him. "Ah I see young Dr Salvatore here has volunteered himself to go first." He clapped his hand onto the younger man's shoulder pulling him forward to stand next to him. "Dr Salvatore is one of our new attendings, a newbie like all of you." He smiled to himself at his use of slang, believing himself to be not totally past it. Dr Salvatore rolled his eyes, shoving his hands into the pockets of his white coat and glancing idly around the room. His eyes met Elena's for a second but he'd looked away before she could even acknowledge it. "Let's see who we have here then," said the older man, raising a clipboard to his face and fishing a pair of glasses from his pockets and shoving them up the bridge of his nose, still squinting at the clipboard. "Just come to the front when I call your name, please." He moved the clipboard backwards and forwards slightly before focussing on the piece of paper in front of him.
"Matthew Donavan." He called. Matt groaned slightly beside Elena, he clearly wasn't keen on the look of this doctor either. He raised his eyebrows at Elena slightly as if to say 'oh well' before making his way to the front, he smiled at his new attending who met his smile with a cold expression and, Elena thought she noticed, a slight sneer.
"Tyler Lockwood." A boy sitting near the front with dark hair stood up and went to stand near Matt, the name Lockwood rang bells in Elena's head and she was sure there was a Lockwood on the board of directors for the hospital; she had done her research before her interview. Elena was looking at Bonnie, please let me be with Bonnie or Matt, she thought desperately. She reached across to Bonnie and squeezed her knee slightly, noticing that her friend's hands were clenched tightly together in her lap. She met Elena's eyes with a slight, worried smile before turning back to face the front anxiously.
"Caroline Forbes." A perky looking blonde girl about two rows in front of Elena jumped to her feet, clearly thrilled to be with Dr Salvatore, and walked to the front, her steps bouncing as she went.
"And finally, Elena...Gilbert." The man frowned slightly as he read her name off the list, raising his eyes and smiling warmly once more as Elena stood, offering a disappointed smile to Bonnie and a shrug of her shoulders before making her way to the front. Dr Salvatore barely even acknowledged the four, who were glancing at each other nervously; however the older man kept glancing over to Elena, frowning slightly.
"Well now, where was I? Dr Saltzman would you like to go next?" he asked as a man in his early thirties stepped forward raising a hand in a shy greeting and smiling slightly at the remaining interns. "It's ok Elijah," he said, patting the man on the back, "I have mine written down here." He pulled a crumpled piece of paper out his pocket and began reading names.
"Well I suppose you all better come with me then." Spoke their attending suddenly, his voice was not what Elena had been expecting. Although he had not spoken particularly warmly there was still something in his voice that made the hairs on the back of Elena's neck stand on edge, something strangely comforting about it.
They all began to shuffle awkwardly towards the door as Elijah, the older man, suddenly called after them. "Hang on!" He caught Elena lightly by the arm and smiled at her, the whole group had now turned around in curiosity and most of the class that were still seated had diverted their attention to the brown haired girl stood at the front of the room.
"It's Elena, isn't it?" he asked quietly. "Elena Gilbert." Once again he stressed her surname.
"Yes." She said, completely baffled by this man's interests in her. Her mind flew back to earlier in the reception; maybe the woman from earlier had said something about her. She felt her neck redden and struggled to contain her breathing as she felt the whole room's eyes and those of her attending upon her.
"I used to work with your father, Grayson; a brilliant doctor." She smiled politely, adopting an expression she was so used to that seemed to say 'why thank you for mentioning my dead father, I'm so glad you brought it up.' She felt like someone had punched her in her gut and her eyes scanned the room for Bonnie, now stood near the front with a female doctor with long brown hair.
Elijah had now reached for her hand, patting it lightly. "I'm so glad that you've decided to follow in his footsteps. We're all very happy to have you here."
She heard the swivel of Dr Salvatore's shoes behind her and turned to see her group filing out of the room once more. She nodded and smiled once more at Elijah before following the back of the group out of the room.
"Honey, I'm home!" Shouted Elena exhaustedly as she dragged herself through the door of her apartment. She threw her bag onto the floor and kicked her shoes off into any direction. "Bonnie?" she shouted inquisitively. Her and Bonnie had lived together in college and now rented an apartment together that was approximately ten minutes walk from the hospital. It was nothing grand, owing to their combined meagre salaries but it was cosy and they were perfectly happy with it.
"In here!" Came the reply from the direction of the living room. Her best friend was sat on the sofa with a large glass of white wine, an open bottle in front of her on the coffee table and a glass sat waiting for Elena. "I thought you could probably use one too." She explained, reaching forward and pouring a glass as Elena plonked herself down next to her on the sofa, curling her legs up underneath her. She handed the glass to Elena who accepted it gratefully, running a hand through her hair as she fought back a yawn.
"How was your day?" She finally asked Bonnie, after taking a large gulp of wine.
"Ok, I suppose. My attending is...interesting." Elena raised her eyebrows inquisitively, "She's a total control freak, and apparently she's obsessed with proving that she's better than all the male attendings. Anyway, I'm sure I'll learn a lot from her."
"What's her name?" asked Elena, curiously.
"Katherine Pierce." Answered Bonnie, she shrugged, having never heard the name before. Elena was similarly nonplussed; it was not a name she had ever heard of. "I can't believe who you got though!" she shrieked excitedly, Elena groaned however.
"He's really not all that special." She said dismissively.
"Not that special! Have you looked at him, Elena? He is smoking hot!" Elena laughed at her friend, wishing they could switch places then.
"Yeah well being smoking hot doesn't stop him from being a complete asshole." She said sharply. Bonnie frowned as her friend launched into a long rant about how awful her attending was and how all his criticisms and condemnation seemed to be deliberately aimed at her. "He just drilled us all day on every condition known to man, it was horrible. And then when you didn't know the answer he'd just laugh and shake his head like it was a waste of his time to have to lower himself to our poor little standards. He's hateful!" She concluded, reaching forward and snatching the bottle of wine up, pouring herself another glass and knocking it back quickly. At this rate she'd be an alcoholic by the end of the month.
"Well," began Bonnie tentatively, "Look at this way, we've already done one day and in 4 more it will be the weekend and then..."
"And then we only have 51 weeks left of our intern year. Woo!" She raised her hands sarcastically. "I wish I was with you." She said sincerely, "I have Matt I guess but..."
"But being with him every day is going to make him even more in love with you." Stated Bonnie sympathetically.
"Don't say that." Chided Elena.
"Why? Because it's true?" Bonnie raised an eyebrow, it was a subject often avoided. That their other best friend Matt had been in love with Elena for the entirety of med school was common knowledge amongst most people, he'd never declared it to her out loud, thank god, but with his every action he might as well be screaming it in her face. She ran a hand through her hair again, she constantly felt guilty that she could not reciprocate Matt's affections, however he was a loyal friend and she couldn't bring herself to be cold or blunt with him.
She yawned heavily again, causing Bonnie to yawn also. Looking at her watch she was surprised to see that it was already midnight and she had to be at work at seven. Sighing she collected the glasses and now empty bottle of wine and deposited them in the kitchen. She said goodnight to Bonnie and climbed the stairs up to her small bedroom, falling asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.
She woke up the next morning to the sound of the front door closing as Bonnie left. The realisation hit Elena like a southbound freight train; Bonnie wasn't due in for a good half an hour after her which meant...she looked at her clock and immediately began to panic. It was 6.50am; she had overslept and had to be at work in 10 minutes. She hurriedly sprung out of bed, pulling clothes off a pile from her chair and dragged her hair back off her face into a high ponytail. She quickly slipped her trainers on and glanced in the mirror, she looked like hell she was aware of that but there was no time to spend any time on her appearance as she grabbed her rucksack from by the door and ran out of the house; sprinting the entire way to the hospital.
Her previous insecurities went out the window as she was basically taking her clothes off before she even entered the staff changing room's, ominously empty signifying that most interns were already at ward rounds. "Shit." She muttered, it was her second day and if she hadn't already made a bad enough impression yesterday this certainly wasn't going to endear Dr Salvatore to her any further. "Shit, shit, shit." She rammed her scrub top over her head and draped her stethoscope around her neck. Slamming her locker shut she ran out of the room and continued running to her ward which was, mercifully, on the same floor. As she sped round the corner she caught sight of the three other interns surrounding Dr Salvatore, she glanced at the watch hung from her pocket. She was exactly one minute late, it wouldn't matter, would it?
"Dr Gilbert, so nice of you to join us." He sneered as she joined the back of the group, earning a concerned look from Matt that she waved away. His deep voicd cut through her earlier resolve and she realised that yes, it would matter.
"Sorry." She panted, breathlessly and trying not to hyperventilate as his blue eyes met hers menacingly.
"Yes well, sorry isn't normally sufficient for the rest of us who have got where they are on their own merit, not because Daddy put in a good word for us with the chief of medicine." His eyes slid over to the awkward figure of Tyler Lockwood, "Well, most of us anyway." She felt her breath catch in her throat and saw Matt tense next to her, his fist automatically clenching threateningly. She breathed out slowly, biting back a retort that had already formed on her tongue. It didn't matter to her whether he knew her father was dead or not, she knew why she was here and that was all that mattered to her.
The rest of the week went by in an awful blur. Elena quickly learned that Dr Salvatore worked on a reward system; if you answered a question correctly you could assist him in intubating someone, or take a medical history from a patient. However, as Elena frequently found, if you answered a question incorrectly you were likely to be derided or even ignored for the whole day and encounter little experience with actual patients but find yourself sat in an office filling out patient paperwork.
On Friday lunchtime she plonked herself down at the table that very quickly had become her and her fellow intern's location of choice in the cafeteria. Bonnie and Matt were both there along with Tyler and Caroline, who so far had turned out to be fairly likeable if not a little too keen to please on Caroline's part. There were other interns from other groups and it always served as a perfect opportunity for the young doctors to discuss their attendings candidly.
Elena caught the middle of a discussion as she sat down in between Matt and Tyler. "Yeah well I heard her and Damon Salvatore had a fling-" someone hissed conspiratorially.
"What!" Exclaimed Caroline, clearly outraged at the thought of Dr Salvatore being with whoever this mystery woman was, "She's way too old for him." She stated, animatedly waving her salad fork around.
"Who are we talking about?" she whispered to Matt.
"Bonnie's attending, Dr Pierce." He murmured back to her. Tyler Lockwood looked up from his plate of chips and pointed towards Elena.
"Don't you think she looks like Elena?" he asked the whole group. Several of them nodded their heads, obviously only noticing this now. Elena had only seen the woman a couple of times in the week and had not really had a good look at her so she couldn't really deny or agree with the observation. "It would certainly explain why he can't keep his eyes off her." Tyler continued, snorting.
It was her time to be surprised now, "What!" she choked out, if anything she'd noticed that Dr Salvatore seemed to make every effort to ignore her.
"I have noticed that." Announced Caroline disappointedly, "He does kind of stare at you, Elena." Elena laughed and scoffed sarcastically. "Have you noticed, Matt?" Caroline asked, twisting to face him. He'd been quiet through this whole exchange and Elena saw the slight hurt in his eyes as he shook his head absent mindedly, "Can't say I have. I'm too busy trying not to look like an idiot half the time." At this the four interns nodded in agreement, verbalising their assent with moans and groans.
"Well anyway," announced Caroline, thankfully chirpy again and steering away from the topic of the insufferable Dr Salvatore, "We should all celebrate the end of our first week, don't you think? There's a bar right across the street that's supposed to be where all the staff go. We should all go check it out." The group nodded their heads in agreement, as they began to check their watches and stand up to head back to the wards. "Half eight, ok guys?" shouted Caroline over the sound of scraping chairs as they all exited the canteen and nervously hurried back to their awaiting attendings. Just a few more hours, thought Elena, then I get a whole two days without having to see that hideously handsome, smug face. She immediately chastised herself for throwing in the word handsome.
As I said before, I would really appreciate any reviews or suggestions for where you'd like the story to go :)