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A Day in the Life of a PGY-4 Resident


My Background

The first fifteen years of my life were spent in the idyllic British countryside. I was surrounded by open fields filled with sheep, villages filled with flowers, and a pot filled with tea. My family made a drastic move from rural Scotland to Houston, Texas just prior to my sophomore year of high school. I attended Rice University on a golf scholarship and majored in psychology and economics before teaching middle-school mathematics for two years with Teach For America. Although I adored my students, I felt as though they needed far more support in life than they did in math. A combination of my psychology background and my experiences as a teacher led me to medical school with the aim of becoming a psychiatrist.

Why I Chose Yale

As a fourth-year medical student, I was fortunate to complete an away rotation at Yale on WS2, the adult mood disorders inpatient unit. I loved every minute on the unit and was pleasantly surprised by the weather (it was September) and small-city vibes of New Haven. I got to meet many of the residents and was impressed by their down-to-earth nature. Lastly, I was intrigued by the flexibility that Yale offered in exploring various passions and niches within psychiatry, accompanied by the diverse faculty to explore these passions with. I have chosen to focus my flexible time on medical education, leadership, and quality improvement initiatives, each of which has added significant value to my experience here at Yale.

My Schedule

The final year as a Yale psychiatry resident is a choose-your-own adventure. I chose my adventure to be busy and simulate what life might be like after graduation while still in a supportive environment. Along with spending time on the inpatient unit, I have additional roles as program-wide chief resident and chief resident for quality improvement. I wake up at 5:30am every morning, pour myself a large coffee, and enjoy an hour of peace to respond to emails and work on administrative items before my wife and 18-month-old daughter wake up. After spending breakfast avoiding tasty projectiles thrown my way from the high-chair, I spend the morning on the young adult unit helping my patients manage through a time of crisis in their lives. My afternoons are packed meeting with residents, families, committees, hospital and program administrators, supervisors, mentors, and my long-term therapy patients. The days are full, but interesting and satisfying. I generally stop work around 5pm for daycare pickup and try my best to not obsessively check emails after this time. As a fourth-year resident, we don’t have any call duties on nights or weekends, though I occasionally pick-up a moonlighting shift on the weekend, because…loans…and daycare!

Where I Live

Due to the reasonable cost of living in the area, we chose to buy a single-family home in Hamden, the town just north of New Haven. We have enough space for our small family and out-of-town guests, a backyard, a nearby park, and a quiet neighborhood to take walks. The best part is that my commute is still less than 15 minutes (9 minutes is the record coming home after a Saturday nightshift!).

My Favorite Thing to do in/around New Haven

Especially in COVID-times, the variety of nearby outdoor activities is so much fun in Southern Connecticut. A few of my favorites including hiking/walking (Sleeping Giant, Lake Wintergreen, East Rock Park), going to the beach (Hammonasset), visiting an orchard/farm (Lyman’s, Bishop’s), or a vineyard (Gouveia). The local ice cream (Arethusa) and pizza (De Legna, Modern) are to die for, and might be what eventually send me to the grave.

Final Thoughts

Whatever your background or interests, you can’t go wrong at Yale. You will be supported to pursue what you want, you will gain all the clinical skills you need to be a superb psychiatrist, and you will have fun in the process!