Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Summer 2019 - 32

M e d i c a l r e c o r d f e at u r e

The Balance
of Life as a
Resident
by Dr. Hugh Prentice, DO,
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

A

s clinical practice and medicine evolve, residency training
continually strives to keep up with the knowledge and
skills required to stay ahead. This means that the demands
on residents' time and effort are constantly pulled in different
directions while we are preparing to step into the role as an attending
physician. While some believe that the life of a resident is easier than
ever due to duty hour restrictions, there are actually more demands
assuring high quality care and fully documenting every encounter
in the insatiable electronic medical record (EMR) that pervades all
that we do. As demands increase in each year of residency, different
challenges and responsibilities require a higher level of investment of
energy and skill. And of course all of this is occurring while we are
trying to find that personal and professional balance that will set the
tone for the rest of our careers.
As a Family Medicine Intern, your main job remains to identify
the issues and problems that are common in both the inpatient
and outpatient setting. This requires the resident to be the
predominant information gatherer- performing most history and
physicals, inpatient procedures, and learning the basics of clinical
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medicine. This group is thrust into an exciting role suddenly
developing a patient panel and taking responsibility for such things
as ordering tests and medication refills that are a far cry from reading
passively about diagnoses in books or shadowing attendings on
rounds. Our actions now directly affect patient health and can
have significant consequences if not well supervised. With this
new-found responsibility, interns work to broaden their knowledge
and diagnostic skills usually through increased clinical experiences
including on call working up to 50% or more of weekends. This
dramatically decreases the time with family and friends, as we
experience some of the "sacrifices" of medicine missing out on
experiences socially as our balance efforts between work and life are
tested. Fortunately residency training today tries to include a focus
on personal wellness and the introduction of techniques to cope with
increasing stressors.
Second year brings a higher level of responsibility that is the
biggest jump between the three years of a family medicine residency.
The focus is increasingly on treatment since you have hopefully
"mastered" the H&P exam and can construct a differential diagnosis


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Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Summer 2019

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