A Day in the Life of a PGY-3 Resident

Erica Robinson

My Background

Hey! My name is Erica and I’m a third year resident here at Yale. I grew up in the metro-Detroit area and as such am happy to show you where I'm from on my hand anytime :) I am admittedly a bit stereotypical in my midwestern ways in that I appreciate friendliness, love to bake, and Fall weekends in my book should be reserved mostly for cider mills (warm donuts!) and college football (Go Blue!). I started considering psychiatry in high school where I loved AP psych and thought that Law and Order: SVU was clearly the most accurate depiction of forensic psychiatry in action. For undergrad I stayed local and went to the University of Michigan and discovered more about the neuroscience of addiction while working on delay of gratification research. After graduating from undergrad I took three years off working as an AmeriCorps VISTA member for an environmental non-profit in Detroit and teaching MCAT classes. At both of these positions I really began to appreciate how rewarding teaching can be. For medical school I left the Midwest in favor of New York where although tempted by pediatrics I realized that all my favorite patients were the ones with psycho-social issues and eating disorders that none of the Peds residents wanted to work with. I was also really interested in understanding the strong (mostly negative) reactions that these sorts of patients caused within the medical team and the ways that I believed this impacted the care they received. Once choosing psychiatry I never looked back and came to residency really excited to take my interests further.

Why I Chose Yale

When I was looking at residency programs I was looking for that magical combination of a place that was going to challenge me to become the best psychiatrist I could be while also being a supportive environment that I would find "my people" in. Yale was really clearly that to me. During my interview day I was not only impressed with the combination of biologic research powerhouses and psychodynamics but also the residents. I found the residents here to be not only so impressive in all of their accomplishments but also so down to earth and fun to talk to. It felt like this would be the type of place that would inspire me to do more to become an expert in something without ever feeling that terrible competitive spirit from peers. Yale was also one of the most diverse programs I visited and it made me feel like diversity was actually valued here instead of just being a catch phrase. Certainly not last on my list of important draws there was also CASE. The opportunity to have one month in my first year and three months in my second year devoted to a project of my choice was something that no other program could offer me as a non-research track applicant. For my CASE project I was able to design and implement a curriculum about Borderline Personality Disorder for residents with the aim of decreasing provider stigma surrounding this patient group. I had tons of department support and it's a project that I envision being embedded into the formal curriculum here. Obviously there are a bunch of great psychiatry programs out there but for me Yale gave me all the right feels and stood out from the rest.

My Schedule

I could not be more excited to be spending my PGY-3 year at Yale Health! Yale Health is where all the college students (undergrads, grads, etc.) go for their mental health care. At Yale Health the residents get to do all of the scheduling of patients themselves so we can start and end our day based on preferences. I tend to be an early bird sort of girl so I generally start around 8 and aim to be done closer to 4. During third year we also have weekly supervision with our Long Term Care Clinic supervisor and a half a day of didactics on Thursday mornings. At Yale Health we are very fortunate in that we also have two additional supervisors assigned to us and didactics to more fully encompass the patient population we take care of (eating disorders, child seminars, etc). In addition to this I'm the PGY3 representative of the Graduate Education Committee which acts as the governing body of our residency program and they meet for an hour once a week. I also am someone that takes work/ life balance pretty seriously. I always try and make time for the things that make me happy like getting dinner with friends, pilates, Moonlighting, and watching way too much bad TV (if watching Bravo was a sport I would be the Serena Williams of the game).

Where I Live

Everyone will claim that their New Haven neighborhood is the best neighborhood to live in but I’d like it on the record that they are wrong and Wooster Square is where it’s at. Wooster square is a super cute historic “little Italy” that kind of feels like a different world than other parts of the city. I live in a 2-bedroom apartment in a historic house in Wooster Square. I love living in an area that allows me to have a second bedroom even though I live by myself. This was super important to me because I love having friends and family come to visit and have a space of their own to get comfy in. There’s also a farmers market on Saturdays that is my favorite way to bribe myself into getting out of bed early on a weekend. Overall I absolutely love living in Wooster Square because it’s got gorgeous character, is more affordable, and still gives me easy walking access to downtown.

My Favorite Things to do In/Around New Haven

I'm not sure whether I love Brunch or Happy Hour more but thank goodness New Haven has me covered on both fronts. Bella's and Lena's are my favorite Brunch places in New Haven and they never get old because they change their menus every weekend. For Happy Hours it just depends on the mood. Margaritas? Has to be Geronimo's. Classy wine bar? It's all about August. Low key close to home vibe? I'm going to beer collective. In addition to food (I swear I do other things!) I'm always down for a good movie and have been consistently impressed with the independent movies that come to the movie theatre downtown. Also during the summer it is all about the beach. This summer I've been frequenting Hammonasset which is great because its less than 20 min away which means you can easily make it part of almost any summer day.

Final Thoughts

I'm a nerdbox but I love this place! I feel so lucky to not only be learning amazing things but also doing it with people that I genuinely like and want to spend time. I can't say enough how important it is to get to know the residents at the programs you are visiting. These will be your colleagues and I think most truthfully represent the vibe of a program. So come visit us and see if we could be the right fit for you! Please email me with any questions at e.robinson@yale.edu