June 25, 2014
This week, hundreds of new residents and fellows are arriving at The University of Kansas Hospital, Via Christi Health and Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, and at the Smoky Hill Family Medicine residency program in Salina. Joining us are 161 new residents and fellows in Kansas City, 78 in Wichita and five in Salina. With the residents who are already here, we have a total of 534 in Kansas City, 276 in Wichita and 12 in Salina. Depending on their specialties, some will spend as many as seven years with us.
Before they can practice medicine on their own, young doctors need hands-on training with experienced mentors. To earn board certification, they must receive that training through a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Our job is to make sure our residents are proficient in the ACGME's six required competencies: patient care, medical knowledge, systems-based practice, practice-based learning, interprofessional communication and professionalism. Our residency programs are accredited at the highest possible level.
Rather than waxing nostalgic about my own residency, I've asked a couple of our current residents to share some thoughts with this year's class. Jessica Hogan is vice president of the Resident Council in Kansas City, a group of resident leaders who advocate for and work on issues of concern to residents. "You'll feel like you know nothing, but at the end of the year you'll be surprised by how much you've learned and improved," says Hogan, who is beginning her fourth year as a general surgery resident.
"Always remember that your primary function as a resident is as a learner," adds Cory Pfeifer, a fifth-year resident who is chief radiology resident in Wichita and serves on Wichita's Resident Council as GME committee representative. "As new residents, you'll be faced with a lot of challenges and managing a lot of patients simultaneously, but the thing to remember is that we're here to learn, and learn as much as we can from every patient experience we have. Try not to let your extensive clinical service responsibilities get in the way of your education."
Hogan says time management is a new resident's biggest challenge. "There are several things residents have to do: take care of patients, find time to study, and maintain their own health - physical, mental, and emotional, which is usually the thing that gets pushed aside in the first year of residency." She has these recommendations: "Make sure that you plan ahead, have some idea of what the next day is going to bring, develop a plan for how you are going to spend your time when you're at home."
That's good advice for all of us at KU Medical Center. And so is this final bit of wisdom from Hogan: "Before you know it you'll be done, and you'll be out there, so it's important to make the most of the learning time here. Get involved, keep your eyes open, take advantage of every opportunity. You'll be surprised at what will inspire you."
Clearly, we are training our residents very well here - not only in the art of medicine, but in the art of life. As always, we are proud to welcome future health care leaders to KU Medical Center.