by Kevin O'Connor
Residency is a lot of work.
Here at UK, we like to think that working hard should not preclude you from enjoying life. As such, we try to bring some balance back to the tired phrase, work-life balance. To that end, I have been empowered as the Activities Director for the Department of Neurology residency program to organize social gatherings (with financial support from the department as necessary) and maximize the life aspect of that balance. Thursday nights are trivia night at the Blue Stallion Brewery and our team consistently performs well. We may not win all the time, but we win often enough. The best thing about our team is that its rotating cast comprises not only neurology residents, but residents from ophthalmology, neurosurgery, internal medicine, and PM&R, non-medical friends/significant others, and pharmacists. Having such a diverse group is a nice reminder that there's life outside of neurology.
Every four months or so we organize a quarterly resident activity sponsored by the department. This typically involves an activity followed by dinner, all graciously covered by the department's coffers. Future plans for activities include paintball, a breakout room, and kayaking. Our quarterly events are great opportunities for the adult and child neurology residents to get together and relax.
In smaller groups we also plan spontaneous activities that have included bowling, golfing, hiking at Red River Gorge, and trips to local festivals and events (the Michael Jackson Thriller parade every November is a popular attraction). We're also planning health and wellness activities throughout the year. In October, we're doing a step challenge for the four adult PGY classes and the child neurology residents to compete as teams. If we have to walk around the hospital all day, we might as well make a game of it (and of course there are prizes).
While we all readily acknowledge that residency is a lot of hard work, we want to ensure that our work does not consume us. When choosing a residency program, being able to associate with your colleagues for four years should be just as important as the location of the program and the value of the education you get there.