✚ The First Week

I completed my first week of residency yesterday. 76 hours total.

Like much of my medical training thus far, there were some very tough low moments and some great high moments. I had some tough patients throughout the week and was beginning to become very frustrated. But, then I performed a lumbar puncture on an infant that came back with zero red blood cells [1] which instantly brought me back to center. I can do this.

Compared to such experiences in med school, they are similar but on steroids. I have gone home each day mentally exhausted.

Strangely, the medicine is one of the easiest parts [2]. You learn most of the medicine you need in the third year of med school and refine that in the fourth. What you don’t learn—and what residency is for—is how to be someone’s doctor.

It’s hard to walk into a patient’s room and say, “Good morning. I’m your doctor and I’m going to take care of you today.”

Luckily, I have had a great team to work with and great support from my residency program and hospital. I truly believe I am at one of the best programs in the country for training clinical pediatricians. It’s going to be a tough road but I am incredibly excited for the journey.

  1. Lumbar punctures (or ‘spinal taps’) are a requisite procedure for all pediatricians and performing them without having any red blood cells is a consummate skill.  ↩

  2. By no means do I mean to say I’m an expert clinician or know everything about pediatrics; far from it. The medicine aspect is still difficult, but compared to some other, less familiar skills (like speaking with families or navigating foreign hospital systems) it can seem easier.  ↩