My day typically begins with a short walk around the block with my dog where in Broad Ripple. I then ride my bike into work along the canal, which is generally a pretty peaceful morning commute. My workday begins on the early side right now, at 7:45am when I meet with the PGY-2 resident who is finishing their overnight call shift. I chose to implement a quality improvement project this year where I meet with residents finishing call, along with our consult liaison fellow and a consult liaison attending. Together, we discuss any issues, questions or concerns that arose overnight. After this, I spend the day on the inpatient unit at the Roudebush VA Medical Center, where I am spending two months in an junior attending role. This experience has helped me not only further develop my skills as an inpatient psychiatrist but also better teach junior residents and medical students, as well as lead an interdisciplinary team. After work, I will either ride my bike with my local cycling team, make dinner at home with my partner, go to trivia with other residents and friends, or moonlight at a clinic in town.
After I finish my two months in my junior attending role, my schedule will have a wide variety of longitudinal experiences for the rest of the year. I am continuing one of my clinics from my PGY-3 year, working with Dr. Nurnberger in a bipolar and treatment-resistant depression clinic to further hone my medication management expertise with complicated patients. I’m also continuing my psychodynamic psychotherapy clinic, where I see a couple of patients weekly and staff with Dr. Chambers. In addition, I’m participating in a psychodynamic psychotherapy elective course where we discuss readings and cases in a small group setting. New clinics for me this year include a combined CBT and medication management clinic with Dr. Bushey and Dr. Johnson as well as a developmental disorders clinic with Dr. Plawecki. I’ll also spend a couple months one day each week at a sleep medicine clinic and then at a palliative care clinic as off-service electives.
Given looming employment and fellowship decisions, having time to further explore interests is an important aspect of fourth year. I’ve recently applied to public psychiatry fellowships and wanted to gain some experience seeing how public policy is translated into clinical care at a systems level. This year I’m doing a project with Dr. Hulvershorn, where I’ll be a physician advisor for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Division of Mental Health and Addiction, helping make decisions regarding the allocation of resources to meet mental health needs in the state. Academic medicine and resident education are also interests of mine. As such, I’ve been involved in organizing a resident-led noon report, where residents present topics of their choice in a low-stress environment over lunch, which usually leads to a good discussion with residents in various stages in training. I also get to regularly teach medical students in clinic as well as in more formal lectures.
The fourth-year is really the culmination of everything learned so far in residency. It’s also a time of even greater autonomy and flexibility, where we can craft our schedule how we’d like to have whichever experiences we think will be of value. My professional goals this year were to develop greater clinical acumen in psychopharmacology, develop a deeper understanding of patients and therapy techniques through multiple psychotherapy modalities, have a wide variety of experiences, and further develop/ explore my interests in public psychiatry and academic medicine. I’m pretty happy with how my schedule is turning out and think it is allowing me to pursue the goals and interests I have. Additionally, call responsibilities are minimal which allows residents to spend time pursuing interests outside of work, apply for fellowship and/ or jobs, and moonlight for those who choose to do so. This may be the homestretch of residency, but it’s really just the beginning of something greater, and I feel like I will be more than ready to enter the next stage of my career after these four years of training.
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.