Jessica Becker

Three months into my PGY-2 year, it is hard to believe how many experiences I already have under by belt! Throughout my time here at MGH/McLean, however, I have been pleasantly surprised to find that my expectations of the variety and diversity of experiences as a resident have easily been surpassed. As one of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry track residents, I spent six months of my intern year dedicated to caring for children, from pediatric inpatient wards to the neonatal ICU to pediatric neurology consults and clinic. Steeped in this rich combination of clinical environments, I learned the unique challenges faced by the pediatric population and their families in the hospital, which I have no doubt will inform my future career taking care of pediatric patients psychiatrically, particularly as I hope to work with children with co-morbid medical and psychiatric illness. I was also intrigued to find that even early on in my residency, unanswered questions about individual patients and the work-up of specific populations have already led me to formulate research questions at the interface of psychiatry, underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms, and care systems. As a member of the Research Concentration Program, I have dedicated time each year to address these questions and fine-tune my research skills as well.

I completed my intern year on Blake 11, the adult inpatient psychiatric unit at MGH, which made my transition to second year a smooth one. I just completed a three-month stint at McLean on “potpourri,” which means I had the opportunity to rotate through an Addictions inpatient unit and consult service, nightfloat in the admissions unit, an Adolescent residential program, and a Geriatrics dementia-focused inpatient unit and general outpatient clinic. This whirlwind tour of psychiatry allowed me to delve into particular areas in more depth and opened my eyes further to the wide range of roles psychiatrists can play. While on the potpourri block, I took late call one night a week as well as some weekend day and overnight calls, in addition to the two weeks of nightfloat built into the three-month block. While I was nervous taking on this new role as the primary on-call psychiatrist for the hospital after-hours, it quickly became one of my favorite parts of residency thus far, as I had the opportunity to be the first-line in thinking through patient care for newly admitted patients, learned how to manage challenging situations, and gained confidence in my clinical skills. At present, I am working in the psychiatric emergency service at MGH (the APS), where I am building on all of these skills. While the MGH ED can be a busy place, I have felt very supported in this role, through training shifts with senior residents and staffing attendings who love to teach.

When I interviewed for residency, I was inspired by the unique combination of settings – a general hospital and stand-alone psychiatric hospital – that the MGH/McLean program offers to trainees. The resources here are vast, and I have been grateful to get the opportunity to tap further into them as a second year resident as I develop my career. With one-on-one and small group interactions with faculty built into the residency curriculum – through supervision, process rounds, and didactics, to name a few – what could be an almost overwhelming collection of great minds, research opportunities, and innovative systems of care has become tangible. Already in my second year, in addition to my clinical responsibilities, I have been able to hone research questions, attend administrative meetings about the delivery of psychiatric care in the greater Boston area, and learn through tutorials on how to excel as an educator. Through these sorts of opportunities, I have felt supported through the program in training not only to be a clinical psychiatrist, but a fully well-rounded academic.

Second year has also offered the opportunity to get to know better, and learn from, upper-class residents through training call shifts, resident report, and PGY2-4 combined journal clubs and advocacy meetings. I am lucky to be surrounded by such a varied and fascinating group of people and have made new connections this year with residents who share my interests.

As a Boston native, I have been rediscovering my city since making my homecoming after medical school. In my time outside the hospital, I have been getting my dancing shoes on, trying out the variety of new restaurants, visiting the museums and historical sites around the area, going to concerts, hiking, and (my favorite!) spending time at the beaches on the Cape, Islands, and North Shore. I am fortunate to be journeying through residency with such a dynamic group of colleagues, and I am eager to see where my experiences at MGH/McLean will take me in the upcoming years!


Yale University School of Medicine, M.D., 2015

Harvard University, B.A., 2009