This Was a Really Cool Thing in Residency…
Misty Todd, MD
Having just finished residency in June, and having now independently practiced for a whole 4 months, there are many cool things I miss about residency already. As evidenced by an hour and a half zoom call with my former classmates yesterday—not all really cool things about residency end when the three years are over though.
I think the first really cool thing is having built-in friends (co-residents!) to share experiences with. Whether it was in clinic, inpatient or on labor and delivery there were always other residents around who were also trying to master the art of medicine, get their notes done most efficiently and figure out how to maintain wellness on this journey. I shared more meals, laughs and frustrations with my co-residents during the three years of residency than I did with my family. They truly became my work family, my closest friends and the keepers of so many secrets.
The next really cool thing about residency was the constant flow of applicable pre-sorted, evidence-based information. I miss the “Hey Misty, I was reading this…” hallway conversations with colleagues. I miss the previously annoying checkouts where the attending (I sincerely would go back in an instant to be across the desk checking out again—but at the time I was always hungry, late, or had to get to another meeting) would ask me a million questions, about 90% of which I had thought to ask the patient. The attending would then pull up some tucked away file about why it was so important that I ask those other 10% of questions or should have done one more part of the physical exam. After residency, there are still people around to ask for help and hopefully you’ve spent the time to build up your arsenal of consulting docs, but there isn’t the same level of “high yield” information being fed to you daily. It takes effort and time to sort through everything that comes your way to figure out what you really need to be reading and what applies to your practice.
The next thing I wanted to touch on was my favorite line to escape from a patient room. There are times when I had no idea what was going on or what patients were talking about and I would always say something along the lines of “That’s a really good question. There are some more experienced physicians here I’m going to go discuss with and I’ll be right back!” It made the patient feel their concerns were valid, it appeared that I was thorough enough to consult someone else, but the real beauty of it was being able to run to the desk of someone who had been there, done that, or would at least give me some time to chart search or data dive to find some answers!
The last really cool thing I wanted to share is that I had an entire residency cheering for me, supporting me and understanding the difficulties of residency. It’s difficult for anyone not in academic medicine to understand it—family, friends or neighbors. Those who live it every day understand it and were more than willing to make it more manageable in any way they could. Attendings always had my back when a patient was being unreasonable or demanding. I always had the back of my co-residents when they were running late or needed to leave early for a family emergency. My residency staff, clinic staff and multidisciplinary teams were always the first to offer help to make my life easier and that was so appreciated.