November 9, 2017

Mayo – RED

By Lucinda Gruber

Residency can be a tough and challenging time in a doctor's life. I grew a lot as a physician, but also as a person, while in residency. So much of what makes me the person I am today is a reflection of my experiences and the maturity and perspective I gained during my three years of training. Of course, that time also accounts for my caffeine habit and an extensive shoe collection. No really, it's quite extensive. Ask anyone. But in all seriousness, residency marked a big transition for me professionally and personally, and I'm certainly not alone in this. We all recognize that residency really molds a physician's career, but it also leaves it's mark on the physician themselves. And while so many lectures teach us how to treat hyperkalemia and when to intubate someone, we often don't cover some situations or experiences that we (as trainees) will remember and think about for years - a troubling interaction with a patient's family, a touching moment discussing a patient's goals of care, the first moment a patient said "that's my doctor"...and she was pointing at me!

As such, about 2 years ago, our residents have formed a group to help discuss these topics that aren't covered elsewhere in our curricula. We call this Mayo-RED (Resident Experience Discussion). It is a monthly meeting that is "designed to be an inclusive, open discussion among residents" with a goal to "glean insight, reflection and mutual understanding of the resident experience and how it impacts one's life (for better and worse)." These discussions are hosted by a faculty member in the evening and feature a home cooked meal, some wine, and great conversation. These events are typically attended by 10-15 residents and a few consultants. We eat together and then have a discussion about a particular topic. Residents can share as much or as little as they want.

Topics are chosen a few weeks ahead of time to allow residents to reflect on their own experiences. These topics are broad and varied with recent discussions focusing on "My favorite moment in medicine", becoming jaded or cynical, a difficult patient, an unexpected patient outcome, the moment/experience I felt like I became a doctor, family expectations of "the doctor in the family", and so on. I've been to several in the last 2 years, and always find it relaxing and valuable.

Here is a snapshot from last night's discussion, which focused on remembering and honoring patients who have passed away. I hear it had some great food and conversation!

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