Samuel Dotson

I’m currently on the PGY2 Blake 11/Community psychiatry rotation. It’s a three-month block split evenly between supervising interns on our inpatient general psychiatry unit and working with an underserved, severely and persistently mentally ill population through the state Department of Mental Health. On Blake 11 (MGH’s general inpatient unit), my primary responsibilities are teaching medical students, supervising two interns who each carry 6 patients, and staffing admissions in the afternoon. I am paired with another PGY2 the entire rotation, and we worked on a quality improvement project together to reduce restraints and assaults using the Broset Violence Checklist.The hours are great and there is a lot of unstructured time in the afternoons for learning and exploring other career interests. My only call responsibility is working every other weekend in the emergency department (alternates days and nights). During those shifts you act as the primary Psychiatry triage resident for the MGH ED, and it’s a really fun opportunity to see a high volume of patients and practice with increasing levels of autonomy.

On the Community portion of this rotation, I will do a deep dive on four clients at a state mental health shelter and try to better understand their narrative and individual experience. I also get to rotate with the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program’s Street Outreach Team, lead dual-diagnosis groups, and rotate through a busy clozapine clinic each week. All PGY2’s also have a half-day a week for outpatient clinic, a half-day for didactics, and on Blake you get an additional half-day off every other week. I’ve had a great start to second year, and I couldn’t be happier to be learning and growing at MGH with my awesome co-residents!

My career interests in psychiatry remain broad. I came to the field late after seriously considering fields like cardiology, radiation oncology, and critical care. I find the science and art of psychiatry to be uniquely fascinating, and I especially love how our field is team-driven and intersects with so many of humanity's biggest questions. My primary interests right now are medical education, community psychiatry, and evidence-based mental health.

On a personal level, I'm a North Carolinian who had no exposure to New England prior to residency. I grew up in Charlotte, went to undergrad at the University of Alabama where I studied biochemistry, and then went straight into medical school at UNC. I was pretty nervous about the potential culture shock of moving up North and living in a big city. In fact, I had only visited Boston once before I moved here for residency, and that was for my residency interview. I have absolutely loved it so far! The people, both inside and outside the hospital, are incredibly nice, and I found it super easy to find a community with so many diverse people and opportunities. The summer is beautiful and there is always something to do on the weekends. I've spent a lot of weekends hiking and camping in New Hampshire, checking out new restaurants in Chinatown and Fenway, and spending time with my co-residents. I really can't emphasize enough how incredibly kind, friendly, and fun my co-residents and faculty are. They are definitely the best part of our program.