A Day in the Life of a PGY-1 Resident

Frances Javier

My Background

Hi, I’m Frances! I am a first year Solnit integrated adult and child psychiatry resident and a former Yale medical student. I am so excited to have the chance to tell you why I love it here and why it is worth leaving sunny Southern California for at least a decade! I am from Los Angeles and earned my undergraduate degree from UCLA. Serving as a non-profit karate sensei prior to medical school and leading multiple outreach and teaching programs throughout my training allowed me to witness the remarkable adaptability that children possess. I explored the pediatric subspecialty in every clinical rotation, which solidified my desire to work with children. Having my inpatient child psychiatry rotation at Winchester 1 end on Halloween (think: in-unit trick or treating and a hospital Halloween parade!) was a defining moment in my career. I realized there was a way to merge my fascination with the human mind and behavior that began in college as a psychobiology major and my favorite patient population! In addition, I am drawn to child and adolescent psychiatry as an early form of mental health intervention, which may mitigate the disease progression. Similarly, I am passionate about engaging physicians in their own wellbeing as an early form of preventing physician burnout, depression, and suicide.

Why I Chose Yale

It was important for me to have a large degree of freedom in shaping my education and training, as well as have the support and resources to define the kind of physician I wish to become. Yale Psychiatry is the only program that has a one month protected time during PGY1 and three months protected time during PGY2 to pursue projects and research. We have access to expert mentors in the Child Study Center, as well as all ACGME Psychiatry Fellowship subspecialties. As a medical student, I received tremendous support from the department and the university, which allowed me to organize an inaugural regional conference on physician wellbeing. I could only imagine the kind of support the program provides for its residents and it has definitely been a positive experience thus far!

My Schedule

As an integrated adult and child psychiatry resident, my intern year is comprised of rotations in pediatrics, adult and child neurology, VA psychiatry, and inpatient adolescent psychiatry. My first rotation was in the Pedi ED (shift schedule), which has helped me develop my gestalt for sick versus not sick children in a high volume, high acuity setting. It was followed by outpatient clinic in the Pediatric Primary Care Center (8am-5pm with weekends off) where I learned more about normal development and adolescent medicine. Currently, I am in the inpatient pediatric unit (one day a week off) where I am continuing to hone my skills in managing children with complex medical problems. Weight-based dosing and insulin corrections aren’t so scary after all!

In the inpatient pediatric unit, my day starts at 6:30am with sign-out from the night team. The medical team consisting of a senior resident, an intern and a student round with various subspecialties such as nephrology, gastroenterology, cardiology, endocrinology, and hepatology. We attend daily noon conferences and biweekly academic half days. The work day usually ends around 4:00pm, with short call until 8:00pm every other day. Despite the demands of a busy inpatient service, I ensure that I have regular meals for breakfast and lunch. I find that a little bit of self-care goes a long way with having a good workflow.

Where I Live

I live in College & Crown, a pet-friendly apartment in Downtown New Haven across the Psychiatry Department building and about a five minute walk from the hospital. On the first floor of my building, there is a BonChon, a crepe place and a steakhouse. The birthplace of the hamburger, Louis’ Lunch, is across the street. Mashed potato pizza at BAR is right next door. Theatres and art galleries are as close as a block away. I love New Haven’s small town charm with city amenities. Most places can be accessed by walking, which is a refreshing change from living in a big city.

My favorite things to do in/around New Haven

Eat! The bread rolls and cinnamon butter, as well as the perfectly cooked filet mignon with a side of loaded sweet potato at Texas Roadhouse hit the spot every time. Mecha’s thick broth ramen is on par with the quality of the West Coast ramen scene. And despite Pepe’s title as the “Best Pizza in America” and its longstanding feud with Sally’s, my favorite New Haven pizza is One 6 Three, a restaurant born from a wood fire oven pizza truck that also serves gelato! After eating, I like to walk off my food coma by taking a stroll with my husband and our bichon named Kurt on Old Campus, admiring the Harry Potteresque architecture around the university.

Taking a relaxing drive down the old highways of Connecticut passing through the colorful autumn trees on the way to Silverman’s Farm, an apple orchard with a petting zoo, is one of my favorite fall activities. Day trips to NYC are also a frequent thing.

Final Thoughts

I love it here! What stood out to me the most was everyone’s warmth and willingness to help, reflective of Yale’s culture and community which I hope you will choose to become a part of.