Linda Herrera Santos

Intern year concluded faster than I expected and what an amazing learning experience it was. I will never forget how nervous I was during the long ICU nights or how unprepared I felt when I saw my first pediatric neurology patient at the clinic. The learning curve was steep, the hours were long, and the responsibility was at times overwhelming. However, every patient encounter contributed with new knowledge and helped to, little by little, build my confidence as a physician. I emerged out of internship changed in many ways. I saw suffering like I had never seen before, but I also saw recovery, happiness, joy, and hope. And throughout these experiences, I was never alone. During the trials and milestones of intern year, I always felt supported by the residency program leadership, my co-residents, attendings, nurses and staff.

The transition from intern to PGY-2 resident has been both exciting and challenging, with many new roles to play. As PGY-2s we receive our first panel of clinic patients, both for psychopharmacological management and psychotherapy. This new role offers the first opportunity to feel like a true psychiatrist, with its own set of challenges and rewards. In addition to the outpatient clinic, I started PGY-2 in the Acute Psychiatry Service, considered one of the most difficult rotations of the year. During this rotation, residents quickly get efficient and comfortable while managing acutely agitated patients. This rotation, while intense during the work hours, also offers free weekends, which has allowed me to enjoy Boston’s beautiful summer days. Finally, PGY-2 has also provided the opportunity to see all my co-residents on a weekly basis during didactics, which was not possible during intern year. Getting to know them better further re-affirms how fortunate I am to be part of this program.

Outside of my rotations, my interests in Psychiatry are broad, but my interest in mental health care disparities in racial and ethnic minorities continues to grow. PGY-2 came with many different opportunities to get involved in projects related to this, including helping run a group for Hispanic parents of youth at risk for developing psychiatric illness. This year, I will also help coordinate evaluations in the MGH Asylum Clinic for people seeking asylum in the U.S. In addition, I am interested in Consultation and Liaison Psychiatry, and I will contribute to a research project on delirium to get involved in the field before my CL rotation in PGY-3. As I slowly grow into the psychiatrist that I will become, I am grateful to be in a program where the opportunities to explore my interests are endless.

On a personal note, moving my family from Texas to the Northeast was not an easy task. However, we quickly adapted, and Boston soon felt like home. We fell in love with the area and my daughter thrived in the incredibly diverse school system. We have built a community, both inside and outside of the program, and playdates in the park and yoga classes are common during the weekend. Even with the expected demands from residency, I spend quality time with my family and have made it to school events, ballet recitals, birthday celebrations, and pediatrician appointments.

With one quarter of residency done, I eagerly look forward to what the rest of it will bring. I can’t wait to see where this journey will take me!