My third year of residency has begun, and I am now one month into my new outpatient clinics. I’m excited to build continuity with patients during my outpatient year and have been able to customize my schedule based on areas of interest.
My typical week begins with Monday mornings in Dr. Bateman’s geriatric psychiatry clinic. As I am planning to pursue fellowship in this field, Bateman has been my mentor since I began intern year. It’s great getting to work with him in a clinical setting as well as in research because he is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about teaching. Patients in this clinic are typically quite complex, so in addition to the usual staffing, the entire clinical team meets at the end of the morning to discuss interesting cases from that day. In the afternoons I rotate in the Academic Psychotherapy Clinic, where we learn the art of therapy by conducting and observing sessions through a one-way mirror. We receive additional training in psychotherapy with Thursday afternoon didactics from Dr. Butler, who is psychoanalytically trained.
On Tuesday mornings I have dedicated time for research as part of my experience on the Research Track. This has greatly enriched my residency experience. I’m learning what a research career might be like and have completed poster presentations at conferences every year of residency. In early September I am heading to Spain because I had a poster accepted to the International Psychogeriatric Association Congress! The department is supportive of resident research involvement and contributes funding for us to attend conferences where we’re presenting, in addition to our yearly educational funds. My main project at present, though, is a secondary data analysis from the OPTIMISTIC project, a large study funded by Medicare and Medicaid focused on reducing avoidable hospitalizations in the nursing home population, and I’m working with Dr. Wang, another geriatric psychiatrist, on a textbook chapter.
On Tuesday afternoons I’m in the Prevention and Recovery Center for Early Psychosis (PARC), where an interdisciplinary team helps support patients and their families in dealing with the early stages of psychotic illness. Even one month in, I’ve already learned a lot. The clinic model allows for more frequent follow-ups, building rapport and treatment engagement. My attending, Dr. Francis, is a good role model as an early career researcher and clinician, and is fun to work with.
My Roudebush VA Medical Center clinic for this year is on Wednesday mornings with Dr. Boss. He’s a great teacher and encourages autonomy. In the afternoons I do collaborative care at an IU Health primary care office, working with Dr. Hunt as we build psychiatry’s engagement with family medicine, internal medicine and pediatric providers.
Thursday mornings offer a unique experience working with Dr. Chambers in her perinatal psychiatry clinic. We’re embedded in a Maternal Fetal Medicine clinic and see patients with mood disorders, psychosis and/ or substance use concerns, including many undergoing medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. Chambers observes all of my interviews and has great insight for how to foster therapeutic interactions.
On Friday mornings I work with Dr. Detke, who has spent much of his career in research and working with pharmaceutical companies, bringing a different perspective than other academic attendings. We see patients together approximately every other week, and during the off weeks I have additional research time. The flexible time has also enabled me to finish out treatment with a patient from last year’s CBT clinic.
I am having an excellent experience in Psychiatry Residency Program. It’s a supportive environment with approachable faculty, fun and intelligent co-residents, and an engaged and positive program director, Dr. DeMotte. Jeanette Souder, our program coordinator, is supportive beyond belief and helped me feel at home. The residency has not only fostered my clinical and educational growth but has also supported my husband and I on a personal level as we juggle our jobs with parenting our three-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter. Even with all of that going on, there’s still time for trivia nights with friends/ co-residents, date nights, volleyball and family time, allowing for a sense of balance as a resident making this is a great place to train.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Having joined IU School of Medicine in 2016, Sonder uses a poetry and theatre background to help bridge the academic world with the creative. A graduate of University of Evansville, he works with faculty and academic staff to formulate unique, marketing ideas that engage the public with innovative research at IU School of Medicine. From writing stories on groundbreaking equipment to orchestrating digital marketing strategies, Sonder collaborates with experts across the school to help departments thrive in their marketing and communication ambitions.