A Day in the Life of a PGY-1 Resident


My Background

Hello, my name is Hamilton. I was adopted into an Army family, so I grew up in several places such as Texas, Colorado, and Korea. We stopped moving when my father retired and my mother left the service to pursue teaching. I enjoyed competitive math, gymnastics, and playing saxophone prior to college. I became fascinated with human behavior and mental illness while at Harvard and earned my Bachelor's in psychology. I have since worked in private industry, the public sector, and built a real estate business with my partner before venturing into psychiatry. Pleasure to speak to all of you future psychiatrists!

Why I Chose Yale

Yale is an amazing program. The psychiatry department is a very large presence on campus and is extremely well respected. The faculty are not only highly talented clinicians and researchers, but incredibly nurturing and gregarious mentors. I was quite swept away by the kind and collegial atmosphere, heavy-hitting research, variety of patient demographics, superior variety of clinical experiences, and excellent salary with low cost of living. I also found the administration to be extremely responsive, considerate, and sincerely interested in my wellbeing and development as a psychiatrist.

I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked New Haven. It’s a charming New England town with easy access to NYC and Boston and an energetic restaurant scene and cultural activities. I knew very quickly this would be a wonderfully enriching work environment and was my ideal training site. Though it was hard to leave home, I would not have left for any other top program as Yale really is the full package.

My Schedule

I am currently finishing up my first three months of medicine and neurology, which has thus far included inpatient neurology, ICU, night float, and now ambulatory medicine. My next three months will be in psychiatry. We alternate between medicine and psychiatry as such in three-month blocks throughout the year, which really make the medicine months of intern year quite manageable.

Neurology was a 6am-6pm weekday schedule with weekends free. Neurology has excellent didactics twice daily and is a good place to strengthen your ability to tease out neurologic versus psychiatric pathology, and also a great place to study neuroimaging.

ICU was usually 6am-7pm depending on the day six days a week. The attendings and residents are really amazing in balancing the concurrent treatments of multiple organ systems. It is challenging, but the environment is supportive and rewarding. I formed a strong medicine foundation here.

Night float was 6pm-8:30am for two weeks with weekends off. I worked closely with a resident through the night, covering inpatients and accepting admissions. This was also a great learning experience as you always have access to your resident for management questions and to help you think through each case.

Ambulatory medicine is mostly urgent care type visits with a 9am-5pm weekday schedule. I’ve enjoyed the relaxing learning environment and time to study for Step 3.

Where I Live

I have an apartment in southwest downtown in an old brick house converted to a multifamily. I enjoy the history and charm many of the houses and buildings offer in New Haven. For instance, my landlord’s building is equipped with beautiful wainscoting, original fixtures, original floors and doors, high ceilings, antique mailboxes, and working fireplaces! However, there are many more modern options available as well for those who prefer.

I can walk to both Yale campuses (YNHH and St. Raphael’s) and a number of restaurants and shops within 10 minutes. There are also many areas here and within the surrounding towns that are affordable for purchase on a resident salary.

My Favorite New Haven Restaurants and Bars

Miya’s has a very inventive sushi selection, probably the most creative menu I’ve ever seen. For fun, I like one of the three local LGBTQ bars, Partner’s Bar, particularly on Sundays. Sunday is karaoke, and often a large group of Yale School of Drama students start performing on stage and it is pure riot. For a more relaxed evening, I really enjoy Barcelona for its wonderful wine selection.