As my residency journey has continued, now a couple months into PGY-2 year, I continue to feel grateful for my experience at MGH/McLean. Intern year and the new year thus far have not been without their challenges, but I have emerged from each new and difficult experience feeling stronger and more capable. The community of faculty and residents at both MGH and McLean has proven to be remarkably warm and supportive, providing valuable and constructive feedback, but also showing interest in the lives of me and my co-residents. Our program directorship has shown a commitment to getting to know us interns personally and professionally, and carefully considering our feedback on a continuous basis. Changes are always being made to support the wellness of residents based on feedback from the program as a whole. I continue to be impressed by the warm personalities, amazing accomplishments, and intellectual and clinical curiosity of my residency colleagues. I look forward to growing as a physician, psychiatrist, and human together with the larger residency community into which I now feel fully integrated as a PGY-2.
Now to reflect back on the experience of intern year and life in the Acute Psychiatry Service, where I have spent the beginning of PGY-2. My experiences on all of my rotations in psychiatry, neurology, and internal medicine as an intern were incredibly rewarding and formative in different ways. My first three months doing psychiatry and neurology at McLean CEC, McLean Neurobehavioral Consults, and MGH Neurology gave me an appropriately paced introduction into key principles with adequate time to get reacquainted with the city of Boston and enjoy the summer. Subsequently, I spent 6 of the 9 remaining months (in staggered 3 month sets) rotating through internal medicine as one of the 4 MGH-based interns. I strongly feel that I made the right choice doing my medicine at MGH, where I felt like I was a fully integrated member of the medicine residency community. My experience on medicine was rigorous and challenging indeed, but my colleagues and attendings were so fantastic and supportive, and the team-based care environment of the Bigelow system made patient care feel so much more rewarding, as everybody was working on the care of all patients together. Sandwiched in between those months of medicine was 3 months on Blake 11, which was an immersive introduction into inpatient psychiatric care with a broad range of patients and psychopathologies. Blake 11 was my first experience where I felt like I was truly running the show and the primary physician taking care of psychiatric patients. I worked with two incredible attendings, supervising PGY-2’s who were invested and supportive, a fantastic and committed chief resident, and ancillary staff including nursing and social workers who were so dedicated to the well-being of our patients. I also had a chance to supervise the work of medical students, who were eager to learn, were often quite adept, and showed a strong interest in (or at least a respect for) psychiatry as a profession. Overall, PGY-1 year provided an appropriate mix of fun, of varied and interesting medical and psychiatric presentations, and challenges which stretched me to learn, grow and become a better clinician.
Being in the APS (Emergency Psychiatric Consults) as a PGY-2 has been every bit as rewarding as psychiatry in PGY-1, but in a different way. Now that I am officially differentiated as a psychiatrist, and am working as a valued consultant within the emergency department, I enjoy liaising with the primary ED medical team to provide the best psychiatric care for patients. The pace is faster here, and there is an opportunity to see a much higher volume and variety of psychiatric presentations, with essentially the full gamut of psychopathology. During the day, we work with incredibly intelligent, conscientious and supportive attendings and ancillary staff. Overnight, as Juniors in the APS, we learn to manage acute psychiatric situations more confidently and independently, always with the accompaniment of a more senior resident. These night shifts have been an excellent way to bond with the larger residency community through Junior-Senior pairings, and I have savored working with a variety of residents of different working styles and demeanors.
I want to say a little bit about Boston and New England, because in my opinion the place where one does residency is nearly as important as the quality of the program itself. Having lived in Boston for 3 years prior to medical school, and now here again for residency, I can say with great confidence that Boston is a fabulous place to live as a young professional. Between Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and other surrounding suburbs, there is abundant variety in terms of neighborhoods, culture, food, and recreation. Drive a few hours in any direction from Boston and you can find all sorts of amazing outdoor experiences, from beaches to hiking to skiing, and quaint New England towns on the coast and further inland. And then there is New England fall - a season of unmatched beauty and pumpkin themed glory you have to experience yourself.
You have made an excellent choice to pursue psychiatry. It is with great pride that I thank you for your interest in the MGH/McLean program and look forward to getting to know some of you during recruitment season and perhaps as a colleague in the years beyond!