There are a number of turning points in a person’s life.  Birth, matriculation into school, graduation from Kindergarten (which seems to get an inordinate amount of attention), getting a driver’s license, graduation from high school, college and med school and then the big one – kicked out of academia into the real world. 

The time has come once again to say good-bye to another cohort of residents as they move into the world as independent fully functioning medical professionals.

The relationship between a program director and his/her residents is a bond forged in a myriad of situations.  There are the fun moments, the tough moments, the adversarial moments, the fellowship moments, the stirring moments, the nobody has slept recently but we still love our job moments, among many others. 

The program director changes the trajectory of the resident.  The resident changes the trajectory of the program director.  The relationship possesses some parallels to a marriage except when the residents leave, program directors don’t have to give up half their stuff. 

The AFMRD Board of Directors has an unusual circumstance at the moment.  The resident representative, Katy Kirk, MD, was joined on the board by the program director of her program, Steve Brown, MD, both from the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, Family Medicine Residency Program. 

We decided to play a little game with them:  The Newlygrad Game.

We asked them a few questions and now we are going to see how well their answers match up.  Much to their disappointment there will be no new car or dream vacation prize at the end of all this.  Sorry. 

Q:  What was Dr. Kirk’s favorite part of her residency experience?

She said -  the relationships with her fellow residents and the faculty.  It was a wonderful opportunity full of friendship and bonds with wonderful people.

He said – Colleagues, new friends and working with the faculty.

No need to consult with the judges.  That is a winner.

Q:  What was Dr. Kirk’s least favorite part of her residency experience?

She said – the inherent scheduling demands, so much of your time is in the residency and your family and friends feel it, the schedule is often not presented far enough out to make long range plans for family events and the like

He said – Electronic medical documentation, all the afterhours time spent doing it

Wah- wah- wah, no points there.

Let’s turn the tables a little.

Q:  What is Dr. Brown proudest of at his residency?

He said – Development of each resident into a real family physician with diverse talents and skills

She said – The emphasis on evidence based medicine and the podcast which grew out of that.  Also the use of the podcast to get the word out to the world about things he is passionate about. 

Both very good answers but we cannot award any points. 

Q:  What would Dr. Brown be happiest to change at his residency?

He said – Electronic medical documentation

She said – The amount of adjudication as opposed to the time spent teaching and time with patients.  Also, the time demands which keep him from his family. 

No points.

Q:  In 20 years how will Dr. Brown describe Dr. Kirk?

He said – She is dedicated, brilliant, athletic, and efficient.  Also, she makes great baked goods.

She said – She is thorough and meticulous, sometimes to a fault.  She is interested in advocacy.

The judges decided to give them the points because it would have been far too immodest for Dr. Kirk to say what Dr. Brown said. 

Q:  In 20 years how will Dr. Kirk describe Dr. Brown?

She said – He is ever energetic, enthusiastic, gregarious and making social connections is easy for him.  He is very charismatic and caring.

He said – He is heavily into evidenced based medicine and he is a podcast nerd. 

Once again, the judges will award points for about the same reason as the previous question.  These two clearly think the other one is pretty cool.

The last question was not couched to them as part of the game but they would have gotten bonus points galore. 

Q: Describe your feelings as you leave (or watch your residents leave) the residency program.

She said – Bittersweet.

He said – Bittersweet. 

Honestly, they both said the same word at the beginning of their answer.

She said – Very excited to be finished and moving on and having more autonomy to build my own career and build my own life in a new place.  There is self-doubt about being fully ready but looking forward to the next stage of life.  Sad to leave the group of people who have been so supportive.  As the days dwindle trying to soak up as much as possible of these people before leaving. 

He said – Proud of the passions and accomplishments of the residents.  They are ready and they are just what the country needs.  I will miss them.  They have had a huge impact on the residency and will have on the specialty as well. 

Thank you to our contestants. 

Also, a heartfelt thank you to all the program directors and graduating residents.  Every one of you plays an integral part in the overall health of our nation.