Earlier this year Dr. S, the program director for our nephrology fellowship, found me in the hallway. He told me about the annual Kidney Week conference put on by the American Society of Nephrology (ASN). For the past few years they have been offering an increasing number of travel grants to residents and medical students who are interested in the field of nephrology. Fortunately, my program director thougth of me as I am definitely interested in nephrology. He told me if I wanted to try and apply, he would help me with the application process. Apparently, each applicant must be nominated by an ASN member and then provide two letters of recommendation as part of the application.
It was supposed to be held in November in the city of Atlanta, GA. Fortunately, I had already requested one of my weeklong vacations for the exact time period — and it was already approved. Unfortunately, I heard about the travel grant about 1 week before the deadline. Long story short, I applied and received the travel grant.
Fast forward to November and I found myself traveling cross-country to Atlanta, GA. I had never attended any national medical association meetings in the past so there was some excitement and curiosity about the unknown. I was definitely overwhelmed by the sheer size of the location. There was just so many nephrologists, nephrology fellows packed into the daily plenary sessions. The exhibit floors were always busy with booths from various companies set up. It was definitely easy to get lost in there.
I was really grateful for the opportunity to attend. As a resident in a rather large university-based program I was surprised but really happy that a sub-specialty program director sought me out for this. I think it goes to show how much contact you get with your attendings here. And how much they want to help you get into fellowships that interest you.
I cannot over emphasize how important it is to find a residency that fits you. I definitely am not at the most prestigious university program, but I do know that, for the most part, I work with attendings who also care about our careers as well as the patients we treat.
In the comments section of my previous post I did write that I wanted to think about and write a post about the number of hours we work as residents. I have not forgotten about it. And I still do intend to write a post about resident work hours.