Describing a Resident’s Journey, One Phone Call at a Time
Once a week, the call would come. Ann Vachaparambil, MD, would answer and once again begin to talk about the anxieties, joys and learning experiences of another week as a first-year resident, or intern, at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia.
The result, a five-month dialogue between Dr. Vachaparambil and veteran broadcaster Bill Fantini, is “A Resident’s Journey.” The Einstein Healthcare Network podcast series describes firsthand what it’s like to be a brand-new doctor. When complete, the series will span her first five months as an internal medicine resident, from July through November 2018.
Einstein is the largest independent academic medical center in the Philadelphia region, with more than 400 residents across 30 programs training at any given time.
Dr. Vachaparambil says the experience “forced me to stop and think every week about what I had gone through. It was like having a diary, only better, because of Bill, who was feeding off what I was saying and giving me a response to it. It was really good for me.”
She talked about lost sleep, paperwork, delivering bad news, connecting with patients, making time for small celebrations, and much more.
Now that people can hear her frank, thoughtful, and usually cheerful reflections, Dr. Vachaparambil says she has found great support among fellow interns — and even strangers who found the podcasts through social media.
She’s hoping that the series will find a broad audience. “For any pre-med college student or medical student who sees this as their future, I think it would be nice for them to have a realistic perspective of what they’re in for.
“But even for interns that are going through the experience, I think it would really be nice to hear about one of their colleagues’ insecurities. Because when you hear what someone else is going through, you feel a little bit better about what you’re going through.”
Now, months after the journey began, Dr. Vachaparambil can look back, knowing how far she’s come since the early days when she still felt “like the kid who wants to be a doctor.”
Although she’s still learning all the time, everything is no longer new. “It’s not the first time you’re doing something, but it’s like the third or the fourth time. And with that comes comfort and a little bit more confidence.”
After more than six months as an intern, “I feel like there’s this shift in expectations, for myself and my co-interns as well,” she says. “We’re expected to move toward becoming a senior [resident],” who will help to guide future interns. “We’re starting to push ourselves and try to fit that future role.”
To hear more about Dr. Vachaparambil’s experiences as an Einstein intern, listen to the podcasts on the “A Resident’s Journey” website or wherever you get your podcasts.
- Learn more about Einstein’s medical residency programs.