February 12th, 2016
What Have I Learned as a Chief Resident?
At my institution, next academic year’s chief residency application email was sent out last week. The APDIM spring meeting for chief residents and program administrator is going to be held in Las Vegas in April 2016. The 2016 chief residents need to be selected before that meeting.
That e-mail brought a flashback memory for me. I met Charleen (the NEJM JW Resident blog editor) at the last APDIM meeting, and that’s how my association with ‘NEJM Journal Watch Insights on Residency Training’ started. I clearly remember walking up to the NEJM booth and seeing a card on a table that read ‘If you are a chief resident and interested in writing, please stop by.’ We spoke for a while, and I decided to apply. My journey as a chief resident and a blogger started at the same time. Now, I have finished 70% of my tenure as a chief resident and a blogger. It’s probably time for introspection about what I have learned during this journey and what I have delivered to my institution.
Last year at APDIM, I attended many different sessions, including morning report teaching, keeping residents engaged, making call schedules, preparing an academic calendar, addressing conflicts between residents, and dealing with difficult residents. I did not realize at that time that most of my learning would actually come in the form of real life experiences in all of these areas.
I surely have evolved into a more mature individual from dealing with these issues. It’s not just about what to say, but how to say it. It’s about what to write in an official email. How to get work done without offending the majority of people. How to improvise new teaching strategies to keep the audience engaged in different situations. Acquiring the ability to stay neutral and unbiased as an administrator and to maintain confidentiality.
I learned to identify weak and strong people from a team and mentor them accordingly to achieve their individual goals. And, the most difficult situation I faced was saying no to my best friends’ call change requests but still hanging out together after working hours. I definitely see and appreciate the enormous amount of work done by graduate medical education staffs to run residency programs in academic institutions — working closely with people who have administrative roles has been an invaluable learning opportunity.
At times, I struggle to balance clinical work, study, administrative work, and family life. However, I am not complaining. This is what I wanted! I have enjoyed every day so far as a chief resident. So, a few more months of this, and then a new journey begins. What I have learned as a Chief Resident will stay with me for the rest of my life. If you’re thinking of becoming a Chief Resident, prepare yourself for a whole new learning experience, and enjoy every moment of it!