Dr. Ann Vachaparambil with Dr. Glenn Eiger

Series Shares the Ongoing Education of an Einstein Resident

By on 03/20/2019

The project started with a simple idea.

“We wanted to share with others what life is like as a resident in training in the Einstein internal medicine residency,” says Glenn Eiger, MD, program director. “We’re very proud of the educational experience we offer, and we wanted to share that experience, through the mouths of our residents, with as many people as possible.”

The result was “A Resident’s Journey,” the Einstein Healthcare Network podcast series about a first-year resident, Ann Vachaparambil, MD. In episodes recorded during her first months as a doctor, Dr. Vachaparambil talks frankly about her experiences, her fears, and what she learns over time.

A graduate of Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Dr. Vachaparambil impressed Dr. Eiger at her Einstein orientation in July 2018. “I thought that she had good insight into what she was facing,” he says. “And she seemed to be very comfortable expressing herself.”

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.

The series can help to correct some misconceptions about residency, even among medical students, Dr. Eiger says.

“Often their perceptions about residency training is limited to the short experience they’ve had on internal medicine rotations in medical school. There’s the idea that you have limited supervision and high expectations on performance as an intern,” he says. “But that’s a misconception, at least at Einstein.”

Residents, including those in their first year (called interns), need to learn to think critically and make judgments about patient care, Dr. Eiger noted. But they’re not on their own. They are supervised by attending physicians, each of whom functions as the head of a team.

“We create a very supportive safety net that helps allow the interns to grow in, I think, a very nurturing environment,” Dr. Eiger says. “We don’t smother the interns because we want them to grow as independent physicians. But we need a safety net of support around each and every intern.”

The podcast series reveals, in her own words, how Dr. Vachaparambil copes with and thrives amid these challenges.

“I admired her honesty,” Dr. Eiger says.” I think all residents go through similar emotions that she is sharing, but often aren’t brave enough to share those feelings with others. So I admire her bravery and sharing her vulnerabilities. That’s the beauty because everyone faces this in some way.”

To hear more about Dr. Vachaparambil’s experiences, listen to the podcasts on the “A Resident’s Journey” website or wherever you get your podcasts.

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