July – It’s That Time of Year Again

It’s July.

It’s that time of year again.

Those involved in medical education — or just those that work at academic medical centers — know that this is the time of the year when brand new interns step into their roles as doctors.

Cue all the jokes about July being the worst time to be sick in a hospital.

During my chief resident year I was in charge of the first Journal Club session of the academic year. I assigned the residents an article about the July effect. You can find that article by here: Annals of Internal Medicine.

Jokes aside, I think the month of July is an exciting month to be involved in medical education. It’s a time of very new beginnings. As an attending physician supervising learners it is a time of heightened stress. However, I think it’s also a time of when you get to see new baby doc spread their wings for the very first time. This is the first time they are addressed as “Doctor.” These are the first orders they will write as a physician. This is the beginning of the rest of their professional careers.

The transition is defintely not always smooth-sailing. But it is definitely worth the trip.


Academic Internal Medicine Week 2017 (AIMW)

This past week I had the opportunity to go to Baltimore, MD to attend Academic Internal Medicine Week 2017. It was put on by the Alliance of Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM), an alliance made up of five different organizations:

The last time I participated in an academic conference like this was for the 2015 APDIM Chief Resident’s Meeting. Each year, APDIM invites upcoming Chief Residents for several days of workshops and training. They provide education about the role and a sort of network for those who are interested in it.

This year I attended the CDIM meetings in my role as one of the Associate Clerkship Directors at my institution. My first impression was that I felt out of place. I looked around at people who have been in their roles for their entire careers. I saw people who have published numerous articles in the field of medical education. It was, I’ll admit, a bit intimidating.

I flew out on Saturday afternoon and arrived at nearly 11 PM at BWI. Picking up my checked bag from baggage claim took longer than I had hoped. By the time I was able to get a taxi to the Marriott in downtown Baltimore, check in, and get settled in my room it was past midnight. By the time I was in bed and trying to fall asleep it was past 2 AM. My alarm was going to go off just under 4 hours later at 6 AM.

The following morning I headed out to get find registration and pick up my ID badge. I picked up the program and a free bag — one of those bags they always give out each year. I had pre-resistered for a pre-course. Officially, AIMW would kick off later in the afternoon with an opening session in the evening. Starting at 8 AM, I would be at a pre-course designed for new clerkship directors.

One nice thing about sitting down at the new clerkship directors course was that I got to sit down with people who were new to their roles. All — at least as far as I could tell — of them seemed to be there as the Clerkship Director, though. They weren’t there as an associate clerkship director like myself. It was comforting to hear people talk about how they were feeling overwhelmed as they waded through the responsibilities of their new positions. I started to feel like I could understand a little more about how much the clerkship director had to do. I’ll admit there was some relief that I was not attending this conference as a new clerkship director. I think that role would be quite overwhelming for me at this stage of my career.

The rest of the conference was quite a blur. It was fast-paced. There were plenary sessions and workshops galore. I felt like I learned a lot. I tried to scribble or type notes as fast as I could. Hopefully some of it sticks.

I don’t know where life will lead me. I dont’ know where I will be in 10 years as far as my career goes. But I do know that going to a conference like this has the ability to fire you up about what you’re doing. It’s refereshing and re-energizing to be surrounded with people so dedicated to passing on knowledge to their learners.

Maybe one day, in the future, I’ll find myself at another one of these conferences. But instead of being the new guy on the scene, I’ll be a seasoned veteran who is excited to share and teach and help out.


Back To Work

I go back to work this week. It’s the first time I have been on a shift since mid August. My wife and I recently celebrated the birth of our first child, a baby girl. I was fortunate to be able to arrange my schedule in order to accomodate this time off.

It’s odd going back to work after a long time. Part of me welcomes going back. Part of me wants to hang out with this brand new, little human being.

They say that having children changes your priorities and perspectives.

Personally, I think its’ too early for me to say what, if anything, has changed.

Sure, I wish I could spend a ton of time with the little one. But I also have gotten antsy and wanted to get out of the house.

If it were an option or possiblity, I wonder how I would do being a stay-at-home dad/husband. I would probably have to be intentional about being active and doing things out in the community with the baby. Needless to say, I’ve got tons of respect for men and women who are full-time caregivers with their children at home.

We’ll see how it goes.


The End Is Coming

The end is near.

As I type this we are speeding through the month of June.

On June 30, my year as one of the Internal Medicine Chief Residents will come to a close.

Before this year began, I remember hearing a former chief resident fondly look back on his own time as chief resident years ago. He told me that was the best year of his career.

I don’t know if that nostalgic statement was supposed to be encouraging. It probably was.

Right now I hope that this year will not go down as the best year of my career.

I’ve had fun. I’ve had headaches. I’ve learned a lot — both clinically and in other professional areas as well.

But, like I said above, I sure hope that this year isn’t the best of my career and it’s all down from here!


Dr. W?

I was waiting in the lobby of the building. I had a 9:30 appointment with human resources. I knew they wanted to take a picture for my ID badge. I assumed I would be given some other info as well. I had already previously completed a bunch of new hire “paperwork” online.

As I sat and waited (im)patiently in the lobby I started playing with my phone. Then I heard a male voice call out, “Dr. W?” (And he did a decent job of pronouncing my last name, too!)

I almost laughed out loud. But I stood up and went to meet him, all the while trying so hard not to have a weird grin.

It’s still weird to hear someone seriously call me “doctor.” Better get used to it though. I start on service in about two weeks…