Feb. 25 is Thank a Resident Day.
Why is Kajal Angras, DO, grateful to her residents and fellows? Their presence makes her a better doctor.
These learners help the obstetrics/gynecology program director remember the important lessons of her own residency — to project calm, to maintain focus and to do what’s right for the patient. Dr. Angras says she learned those lesson through many “trials by fire” in her own residency, but one moment is particularly seared in her memory. It was late, at a time when the residents are in charge, without an attending physician hovering nearby. “I had a very sick pregnant woman,” Dr. Angras says. “She was 36 weeks pregnant, with chest pain and respiratory distress. I was the first to evaluate her and initiated her treatment while waiting for the attending to arrive.” Dr. Angras stabilized the patient and prepared for the cesarean delivery. Unfortunately, the patient’s condition took a wrong turn and she went into cardiac arrest. With her attending at her side, Dr. Angras did a C-section to deliver the baby as the rest of the team performed chest compressions.
Being young, without a lifetime of experience to fall back on, intense moments like these truly form a resident or fellow into a confident and competent physician, says Dr. Angras.
At a teaching hospital, residents and fellows are likely to be the first doctors to see a patient. And while most first encounters aren’t as dramatic as Dr. Angras’ was, each is important and sets the tone for the patient experience. Besides, residents and fellows keep their more seasoned colleagues sharp. “The residents’ and fellows' input is invaluable,” Dr. Angras says. “They encourage us to keep up to date with literature and practice. The quality of care we deliver at a hospital is better with residents and fellows.”
About Thank a Resident Day
In 2018, the Gold Humanism Honor Society instituted Thank a Resident Day to shed light on the importance of the residency staff and encourage everyone to show their appreciation. Residency is a key component of graduate medical training, offering in-depth exposure to medical practice. It often comes with long working hours and many responsibilities. Residents serve as the “house staff” of the hospital and are integral to the healthcare team, including as resources for medical students, especially during a clinical clerkship.