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Resident Support & Resident Life

"The life of a resident,"

Starting now into my fourth year, I can reflect back over life during my course in residency in the Creighton-Nebraska Psychiatry Residency Program. The first year was honestly the most difficult, as is usual for any resident in general. You become the point man on the team, no longer just a student, but actually making treatment decisions. In the first year, we typically have five calls a month, once every six nights, covering admissions and occasional consults. Our program has home based call, with on-site call rooms available. There were a number of nights that I spent in-house all night, but there were also nights I had the luxury of staying at home when call was not busy. I had good supervisors and faculty behind me, so it wasnít just me on the front line. Lastly, the variety of patients and exposure is very diverse in our program, so learning is always taking place, even at 3 am in the morning.

Second year brought change. Call dropped to an average of 2-3 calls a month, but added one day of weekend hospital consult coverage a month. It is also a busy year of rotations, transitioning through adult inpatient rotations, as well as child and adolescent, geriatrics, hospital consults, substance abuse, and community psychiatry rotations. This, I believe, is the year where the heart of the program really takes root. With great attendings leading the way, I absorbed a great deal of the knowledge and practices of what it takes to be a practitioner when I leave residency. Some of the rotations were more stressful than others, but I felt again that I had great support with staff willing to stand in the trenches with me to complete the job. Also, starting our second year is continuity outpatient clinic, which is carried through our next three years. Outpatient continuity clinic is our opportunity to have a patient longer than just a few days, or even a year. It allows us to see how our decisions and choices of treatments actually turn out over the course of time. I still have many patients going into my fourth year from this clinic, but I have also helped a good number find direction in their life, which is truly the course to recovery. It has helped me establish a basis for developing a therapy style and method, but also a place to develop the longer term doctor-patient relationship that is the key to any good psychiatrist.

The third year of residency consists of outpatient based psychiatry at Creighton, UNMC, and the Veterans Affairs clinics. Itís a change of pace from some of the busier intake/discharge work of inpatient psychiatry. This is the year though, that you can really adjust the skills of the therapeutic relationship, as well as get a feel of how to work as an outpatient provider that is part of a community team. You experience how a clinic works, with billing, coding, referrals, and coordination of care between outpatient providers. Many of our residents do go on to private practice, so a year of outpatient clinic helps one learn out how the whole process of a clinic works. Call changes, as now you become a supervising resident, which consists of an average of four nights a month of home based phone call, and no required in house visits; although you will be primary back-up for the junior resident if things get busy. Also, on average, there will be 1 weekend consult call a month.

Now, the year we all wait for: fourth year. Some residents may forgo fourth year in favor of starting a child fellowship, but for the rest of us, this is the year to fine tune our skills and get ready for life without the house officer label. The majority of our fourth year is made up of electives. There are many great opportunities, including rotating through forensics, eating disorders, or research, to name a few. There is also the opportunity to revisit any favorite rotations from the first two years. Finally, call drops to about 2 supervisor nights a week (back up role continues), and no weekends or consult calls. Yes, the schedule is easier, but now you are now faced with finding a job, and psychiatry boards, or deciding on a fellowship year. Our program offers Child and Adolescent, Geriatrics, and Addictions fellowships, with the potential of others soon. So, trust me, youíll need the time for these big decisions.

Now, how does this all fit in with our home life? First and foremost, the cost of living in Omaha is very reasonable, allowing families and single residents opportunity to rent or buy housing. For the single resident, I found plenty of time to explore Omaha and the surrounding area. We have great entertainment in the area, from the fine arts to the biggest rock concerts, as well as anything in between. For the residents with families, most find the area and program adaptive to their needs as well. The Omaha area has great school systems, and many great family events and activities year round. Highlights include our Omaha Royals, the Henry Doorly Zoo, and the yearly extravaganza of the College World Series of baseball. The 2012 Olympic Swim Trials are set for Omaha as well at the beautiful Qwest Center in downtown Omaha.  Residents find plenty of time to spend with their kids and loved ones.  Our faculty is good about making accommodations when family needs come up. As residents, we also strive to stick together. I have always felt that my fellow residents will volunteer to back me up when needed, as I feel compelled to help them as well. I feel a true bond in our residency program, and Iíll definitely be in contact with many of my fellow colleagues long after this journey is over.

Finally, I also feel we have great diversity among our residents and faculty in both culture and background, giving us a great opportunity to grow as individuals and as a group. We spend a lot of time sharing our various experiences in life. I am grateful for this because not only will I leave here with a great education, but I will also a better person just by listening and learning from my colleagues.

Thank you for stopping by our website and checking out the Creighton-Nebraska Psychiatry Residency and Fellowship Programs. Please feel free to contact us with any question that you may have. The door is always open!

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