A Week in the Life of a Resident
To get a sense of what life is like in UND's Psychiatry Residency Training Program, from first- through fourth-year, check out our residents' descriptions of their typical week.
I am just a few months into my first year at the UND Psychiatry Residency Program, and I am very happy to be a part of this program! The work-life balance has been excellent, allowing me to maintain healthy habits while adjusting to residency. I started the year off with rotations in internal medicine and neurology through Sanford. I felt like both were well-structured learning experiences for psychiatry interns. I am completing my first inpatient psychiatry rotation at the Fargo VA Medical Center. A typical day at the VA begins at 8 a.m. After reviewing charts, I attend an interdisciplinary team meeting and then visit with my patients. So far, I have found it gratifying to work with veterans, and it is a privilege to hear their life stories. I am also looking forward to our other two inpatient psychiatry experiences housed at Sanford and the state hospital. I anticipate being exposed to a diverse range of psychiatric patients throughout my first year. I also feel that we have robust didactic experiences that are helping me develop a strong grasp of the fundamentals of psychiatry. Every Wednesday afternoon, we get together for these courses, and I look forward to seeing my wonderful co-residents at that time. I would definitely recommend that any prospective applicant strongly consider UND for psychiatry training!
A typical day from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. consists of:
7:30 a.m: Leave for work. Today I am working on the psychiatry Consult-Liaison (C/L) service in the morning, and I have clinic in the afternoon.
8 a.m.: Arrive at the hospital, pre-chart on consult-liaison patients. Review new consults and follow-up patients. Review pertinent labs, nursing notes, and previous progress notes.
8:45 - 10:15 a.m.: Start rounding on patients, starting with new patients. Today I have one new patient and 4-5 follow-up patients.
10:15 a.m.: Follow-up with attending and present patients, then round together with attending.
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: Time to grab some free lunch in the physician's lounge, then finish notes from this morning.
12:30 p.m.: See new patients (new patient visits are 90 minutes). Usually I try to pre-chart on new patients the night before, even if it is just 10-15 minutes to get an idea of what my plan will be.
2:30 - 4 p.m. Follow-up patient visits (average 30 minutes each).
4:30 p.m.: Finish up notes.
Our typical day in the third year starts at 8 a.m. and ends around 5 p.m. We continue to primarily have a split schedule, which means we are at one rotation site from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and then move to a different rotation site from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The third year allows you to incorporate your specific interests into the curriculum through elective time. There may be some differences in how your schedule looks depending on if you decide to fast-track for a child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship. In the case of fast-tracking, elective time is slightly reduced but still available.
We continue to follow up with our outpatient psychiatry clinic and psychotherapy clinic. At this point in training, it’s rewarding to have some continuity with those patients from the year prior. There are ongoing rotations through the Consult-Liaison service and inpatient psychiatry, and we continue to cover occasional call shifts on the weekends. We also dive more into working with children and adolescents in the partial hospitalization setting. Didactics remain on Wednesday afternoons and provide a nice change of pace mid-week. While many rotations are similar to those in the second year, the third year also brings new opportunities and exposure. One of these new opportunities is our telemedicine clinic with a rural outreach focus. This rotation involves seeing patients in rural areas via telemedicine once per week and traveling to see patients in person at the rural clinic once per month. Additional new exposures in our third year include working in forensic and community mental health settings. This occurs through our work at the jail and the local human service center.
All in all, the third year is an excellent balance of continuity from the year prior and new experiences. Elective time allows some flexibility and time to explore your interests. The split schedule continues to keep the work-life dynamic, and reasonable work hours continue to support a healthy work-life balance.