A Day in the Life of a PGY-2 Resident


My background

Hi, I'm Christina Arredondo. I'm a recent transplant to the East Coast from Seattle, WA although I grew up in Tucson, AZ. Between living in Tucson and Seattle there were stints in Minnesota and the Bay Area so you wouldn’t be wrong if you said I had nomadic tendencies. I have a strong background in music, dance, theater and love nothing more than to read a good book, watch a baseball game, travel to far away lands (or explore a neighboring state), or walk with my dog, Nayeli, along the Long Island Sound. I also have a strong connection with my Latino background and am on the search for the best, authentic Mexican food in Connecticut!

Why I chose Yale

I think I knew that Yale was the place for me during the morning presentation on my interview day. As someone who has always been involved in community service and outreach, I wanted a program that was strong in the basics (i.e. interesting didactics, a variety of clinical sites, and strong medicine rotations) but that also offered opportunities to become involved within the program, the community, and in national affairs. Yale accomplishes this through a focus on individualized education plans and with connections to a strong Yale faculty and staff that can help foster your specific interests. What has kept me happy at Yale is that the promise of individualized attention and opportunities has already been fulfilled.

My schedule

The second year is divided into blocks as follows: 3 months of inpatient psychiatry, 3 months of CASE, 2 months of consult-liaison, 1 month of emergency psychiatry, 6 weeks of geriatrics, and 6 weeks of addictions. You also get one month of vacation to take during certain rotations throughout the year! There are a variety of locations for each of these rotations so you’ll be able to further tailor your year to work in a certain type of site. For instance, emergency medicine at either the VA ER or at Yale-New Haven Hospital Crisis Intervention Unit; and inpatient psychiatry at either the Connecticut Mental Health Center or with particular providers at Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital.

Another awesome Yale opportunity is CASE, which allots you 3 months in your second year to pursue any particular research, clinical, or global health topic. For example, I will be looking at alcohol use and misuse in elderly veterans, spending one half-day per week at the VA outpatient geriatrics clinic, and looking into availability of resources for the elderly in the latino populations of New Haven County as a way to blend my interests in geriatrics and public psychiatry. I easily found mentors who were willing to help me find a project and were willing to help me work on publishing papers or posters on my outcomes. But, if research isn’t your thing, have no fear. Many residents write a paper on a topic they are interested in or do global mental health projects!

Life as a second-year resident

Life has been good as a second-year resident! With only 36 call shifts in the year, I feel I have a significant amount of time to study, pursue interests, and have a life outside of the residency. On a typical day I get to work at 9:00 am at the Connecticut Mental Health Center for rounds on the inpatient unit where we review the team’s ten patients. (I am the primary clinician for five of these patients.) Several days of the week I join the rest of my residency class for didactics. Right now we are enmeshed in “mind camp” where we review psychodynamic theoretical frameworks and treatment modalities.

In the past 2 months we had “brain camp” which reviews neuroanatomy and neuropsychiatry, reviewed how to identify and handle psychiatric “on call” issues, and had an introduction to psychopharmacology. Generally, I spend the afternoon meeting with my patients, often taking them off the unit one-on-one for walks when possible. Once a week I meet with my long-term care supervisor where we go through psychodynamic theories as I prepare for my first long-term therapy patient. My supervisor will be with me through the remainder of my residency as I learn to be an effective therapist and psychiatrist. And Fridays always include Grand Rounds and sometimes PRA meetings (our form of student government)!

Where I live

I live in a condo on the boardwalk in West Haven, CT. It’s incredibly peaceful, especially in the non-summer months, and I love the opportunity to take my dog on beach walks several times a day. It does mean that I commute about 15 minutes to get to work. But, when I’m at the VA (which is in West Haven), my commute is only 5 minutes so it's worth it!

My favorite Yale cultural activity

I love the abundance of theater in New Haven. With a world class theater department at Yale you can watch anything from inexpensive student run shows that are really excellent to professional theater bringing in big names like Paul Giamatti.

Final thoughts

I’ve found Yale to be an excellent place to train with really warm and interested staff and faculty. If there is something you are interested in, you will likely find someone to help you pursue it. And the residents are incredibly friendly, so if you have any questions throughout your application process, please ask to be connected with us!