And just like that, there goes another year of residency. Every July 1, all around the US, hospitals start seeing a new set of faces taking care of patients, working with the rest of the staff. They are the new doctors, the interns. That same day, the previous interns also take their role as the new second-year residents, and the previous second-year residents become the new third-year residents. Every resident physician, old and new, shifts into a new role with new responsibilities, and new position in the pecking order. It’s a day of adjustment, of wandering into the wrong hallways or confusion on how to put in orders into the electronic medical records. I know. I’ve been there. How this affects patient care every July 1, I cannot say, but we do our best to help make this transition smooth. I look forward to working with the new group of interns.
Looking back over the past year, I have enjoyed this second year. While the learning curve this year has certainly not been as steep as intern year, it came with its own challenges. As a second-year resident, I was given more autonomy, and it was rewarding being able to establish continual relationships with my own patients, and making more clinical decisions on my own. However, with more autonomy came more responsibility as well, as I was more responsible for my own actions and the actions of the interns I was guiding and working with. Because of this, I have been studying a lot more, reading more peer-reviewed medical journals from American Family Physician, and guidelines, in order to make better judgement about my patients, and make better medical decisions for them.
This past year, I also had to prepare for the USMLE Step 3, the final leg of the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE), a brutal (and not to mention expensive) 2-day exam, lasting 16 hours total. It blows any other exam that I have taken out of the water, including the 3-hour SAT, 7.5-hour MCAT, 8-hour USMLE Step 1, 8-hour USMLE Step 2 CS, and 9-hour USMLE Step 2 CK. It wasn’t an easy test, but I’m happy to say that I passed it… no more USMLE exams ever again! Finishing the medical licensing exam also means I am now eligible to apply for a full state license, instead of working with just a temporary training license as a resident, like I currently do. But exams aren’t exactly over for me yet, and won’t ever be until I retire. As a third-year resident, I will be preparing for the Family Medicine Boards, which is required to become board-certified in Family Medicine (NOT the same as being state licensed, which is what the USMLE is for).
July 1 marks the beginning of the end of residency for me. This third year, I will be planning out my post-residency goals, determine where my family and I want to live, find a job, and prepare for the move to the next phase of my career. It’s exciting to think about the possibilities. To me, location of our next move is probably the most important, because it’s the one factor that affects my family the most. One thing Irene and I agree on is our desire to stay in Georgia. There’s always a special place in my heart for Macon. It is the city I was born and raised, and I have lots of memories here, and I feel thankful to be able to raise Lyra here close to the grandparents for the first 3 years of her life. However, is 3 years enough for us? If we stay in Macon, my daughters will continue to grow up with the grandparents and get a lot of benefit from learning from them. However, knowing Macon, I question this city as the best place to raise my family. The city still faces high crime rates, substandard education system, lack of public amenities, and although some improvements have been made in recent years in the College Hill/Downtown area, the pace of progress is still slow here for our immediate needs. Access to better school choices, language immersion programs, Spanish nursery, Asian groceries, parks, greenways, bike trails, splash pads, museums, and other things that my family would love are better found in bigger cities like Atlanta. Then there are charming mountain towns like Rome, fun college towns like Athens, beautiful colonial towns like Savannah, and beach towns like Tybee island… all tempting choices.
Lyra is now 2 years old, talking a lot, and understanding a lot. It surprises us (in a good way) what she learns from daycare. Sometimes we are like, “we know we did not teach her that!” She’s also a lot to handle at this stage, as she tests our buttons, and won’t take no for an answer when things don’t go her way. They call it the “terrible twos” for a reason. It’s something everyone goes through, and the “terribleness” has created a lot of memorable moments, good and bad, but more good I would say.
Like me on July 1, Lyra will also be moving up the pecking order this coming September 2… to become a big sister. We are expecting another girl, and we are excited… at least Irene and I are. Lyra is still clueless. Despite caring for Lyra, carrying Baby Gung-Ho #2, and taking care of business at home, Irene still works full time as a Physician Assistant. She is a strong woman and I can’t imagine having a better partner-in-crime than her. Looking forward to what adventures the next year will bring.