I tend to write at length, but the message in this post is a simple one: thank you. Many of you know the situation in my residency program: one-quarter of the intern class (the preliminary interns) were left out of this year’s scheduling reforms that included a 3+1 rotations schedule where three weeks of inpatient rotations are followed by a full week of clinic and a built-in golden weekend after the clinic week. Our rotations typically incorporate one day off from work every 7 days, meaning that there are essentially no “black weekends” (no days off) and no “golden weekends” (two days off, the normal weekend for the rest of the professional world). However, this consequently resulted in the preliminary interns having a long, unending string of inpatient rotations without clinic rotations and without golden weekends. Our elective time was also cut down from an original 8 weeks to an average of 3 weeks. In summary, each preliminary intern was slated to work an extra 2 weeks without additional financial compensation, or each categorical intern had an extra 2 weeks of paid time away from work. Despite my program being known to have a challenging intern year compared to most, the categorical interns looked beyond their own needs, banded together, and proposed, independent of the program administration, to organize a system where they could give up one or two days each such that the preliminary interns could have a few more golden weekends. Quite literally, tears came to my eyes when I first caught wind of this effort. Having found themselves unable to achieve a more ambitious solution which required hiring more staff, the program administration adopted this idea and supported this effort, now giving each preliminary intern 6 more days off then we otherwise would have had. Throughout several meetings, the program administration had expressed concern that they would anger the categorical interns by taking away some of their off-days in order to relieve the asymmetric and excess workload of the preliminary interns. Clearly, the categorical interns proved that these concerns were unfounded. I can’t imagine this playing out the same way in all residency programs or with all intern classes.
I originally was going to be working on every fall and winter holiday including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, but now, thanks to my fellow interns, I at least can celebrate Christmas Day at home with my wife. A special thanks to Meaghan Crowley, Francisco Yun, Sunena Tewani, Peter Luo, and Payal Parikh who are giving up their days off to help me re-energize and stay sane and strong during this crazy year of training, and many thanks to all my other co-interns who are doing the same for my colleagues out of camaraderie and the goodness of their hearts.
Happy holidays, and best wishes