总住院日记 Chief’s Diary （三）
6/7/09 Why do I want to be a chief resident?
The intern year was tough, really, really, really tough, man! A Psychiatry intern has to spend half of their first year in internal medicine and neurology ward. Most of the neurology and medicine interns are smart, and they only do medicine rotations for the whole year, no psychiatry rotations. Basically there is no way to compete with these young American kids. I can only count my days and hope to survive. There are months when I got up every day before 5 am and left hospital during the night, on call 5-6 times a month, works over 32 hours (although ACGME allows only 30 hour) when on call. Weekends? No weekends! Just one-day rest for the whole week, that’s it. I was not a human being. I was a machine. “Survive residency” is a popular slogan for all the residents. “Survive internship” is actually the core of “Survive residency”.
Once survived the intern year, the rest of psychiatry residency is not that hard. For most rotations, work started at 8am and finished at 5 pm if lucky. There are psychiatry calls, but it is possible to get some sleep when there is no patient, or even sleeps at home if one lives close by. The senior residents have fewer calls. They can have most of their weekend days off. For a licensed physician after residency training, life can be even more relaxed if one chooses to earn less money. I am planning to find a position that will allow me to do the research work after graduation from the residency program. Life is good when one gets a grant, sweet, actually. But it is a torture to write a grant application, especially when the funding rate is only about 10% now. People can look 5 years older after several months of struggling with the grant application.
I was elected as chief resident recently. To become a chief resident, you don’t need to score high on PRIDE exam. What you need is to be fair, to be responsible, and to be nice. You need the attendings to say yes to approve you as a chief resident election candidate, and eventually you need the residents to give you more votes than the other candidates. You need to propose some positive changes to the policies regarding calls, didactic etc and try to make as many residents happy as possible. You cannot make every body happy, that’s for sure.
Why do I want to be a chief resident? Well, does this question need an answer? I bet generally speaking everybody wants to be a chief resident, right? But here are my thoughts:
1. It is an honor. People will respect you more, and take you more seriously. By “people”, I mean the department head, PD, the attendings, nurses, secretaries, medical students, drug reps, patients, other psychiatrists and residents you happen to meet any where, and so on. It is good to put on your CV too. After all, a chief resident’s position in a University based residency program means something. Although the program itself is week, but the reputation of the university is good.
2. It is an experience. You are going to attend more meetings and discussions regarding resident training, medical students education, new resident applications, and new plans at the department administration level etc. You are going to be involved in making call schedules, case conference, grand round schedules, and a lot of other administration stuffs.
3. More power. For example, the chief residents have more power to make a recommendation when his friend applies this program for residency. In some program, the chief residents even interview applicants and vote.4. There are benefits. For example, the chief residents may automatically be given a chance to attend APA annual meeting or some administration meetings. By attending these meeting, you will know more people, which will help you when you want to find a job upon completing your residency training.
There aren’t too many CMG chief residents out there. Just as what happens in politic world, people from China really needs to be more enthusiastic and try to get involved in more activities.