One of the first friends I made during residency is one of my current coworkers. We started off with a few light rotations together, the kind that got us out of work in time to make it to the city-wide Summer happy hours. Then we had a few rotations together that were more intense, the kind that tests you and brings out your true character. She was there when I had an occupational exposure to HIV and loved me when I needed it most. She was there when I took care of children with cancer and infused my days with some much-needed laughter. We cheered each other on for the three years when it feels like no one celebrates you.
After residency we ended up taking faculty positions in the same Primary Care office. We are often consulting each other on challenging cases and teaching each other our discoveries. The biggest change since residency is that we are now both mothers, sharing the daily struggles of working motherhood and helping each other along the journey. We work alongside our mentors, who now ask us for our opinions. It still amazes me when someone who taught me most of what I know asks what I would do! I look around… are you asking me? Me, the resident you trained? And I am proud when I have something to contribute.
One Saturday, my friend and I were the only two doctors working. We had a busy clinic day with a full schedule of patients. On my exhausted ride home, I reflected on my work day and thought: we just ran that office unsupervised. My friend and I who started as lowly interns, trembling with nerves at orientation, operating under the watchful eye of our senior residents, and sweating through our Boards exam, were now confidently and competently running a busy clinic together. I texted her my observation and we marveled together at how far we have come.
After my last post where I waxed nostalgic about residency, a current resident told me that my positive reflections gave her hope for the future. Every time I think about the educational arc of my friend and I, now attendings teaching residents, I am amazed at how far one can go in just a few years. Residency is intense, however, it not only prepares you for a career, but for lifelong friendship.
[Dedicated to the entire Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Residency Class of 2011]