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Paul Beeson and a Week of Transition

June 18, 2023
by Mark David Siegel

Hi everyone,

This is transition week. Our 2022-23 interns finish on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, the new interns start. On Thursday, our graduates complete their residencies, and on Friday, our former interns become PGY2s.

Medical training is all about transitions- trainees come and go, and, if we’re lucky, they come back again.

As most of you know, our medical service is named after Dr. Paul Beeson, who was Yale’s Chair of Medicine from 1952 to 1965. Dr. Beeson’s legacy lives on today, reflected in the principles he shared with medical students when they began their clerkships:

On collaboration: “As your acquaintance with clinical teachers grows, you will observe that although each of them has special knowledge and experience in some area of clinical medicine, they make no pretense of knowing it all.”

At Yale, we don’t aim to be heroes. We learn from one another, and we’re humble enough to ask for help. When others need us, we assist. We do our best work together.

On community: “To work well, a hospital must be a tightly knit community of people who respect one another and enjoy working together.”

We are fortunate to live in a small town, where it’s easy to build friendships. Community makes work fun. It supports us through difficult times, and it helps us embrace challenges, admit error, and take intellectual risks. Community creates a nurturing environment where we can become skilled, caring physicians.

On kindness: “So these are some precepts you must consider: Give each patient enough of your time. Sit down; listen; ask thoughtful questions; examine carefully…be appropriately critical of what you read or hear…Follow the example set by William Osler: ‘do the kind thing and do it first.’”

In residency, you learn the skills, habits, and precepts that will drive your life’s work. You learn to harness your senses and think critically. You learn to offer patients a gentle hand, a genuine smile, and your full attention. Above all, you learn to apply the healing power of kindness.

This morning, I finish a week in the step-down unit, where I had the privilege of collaborating with a marvelous co-attending, 8 wonderful residents, an exceptional medical student, and many extraordinary nurses, therapists, pharmacists, and PCAs. Together, we created a therapeutic community, replete with the kind of skill, teamwork, and compassion that would make Dr. Beeson proud.

This week, whether you’re going, coming, or, like me, staying on, please take a moment to reflect on the sacred work we do, guided by collaboration, community, and kindness.

To our departing residents, we wish you safe, successful journeys. Please stay in touch. We know you will make us proud.


Submitted by Mark David Siegel on June 18, 2023