Life of a Resident

By Dr. Pradeep Panuganti

It’s 7:00 a.m. The sun is starting to rise, but our commitment to patient health and medicine has already roused us. We’ve hit wards, and for the next hour we pre-round with the senior and junior residents before we attend one of our morning conferences. After which, we are joined by the attendings where for the next few hours we review the new patient imaging from overnight and conduct either table or walking rounds with the team. We treat patients from all over the commonwealth and with Lexington’s central location our medical center often serves as the center of care for surrounding cities, towns and even the foothills of Appalachia. Needless to say, we never have a shortage of patients or pathology.

Our morning duties are usually completed by noon, which gives us ample time to participate in our daily noon conferences, review and distribute the floor work for the remainder of the day and prepare the hand off report to the night team.

Due to the variety of our program, the day-to-day life of a resident is fluid. To encapsulate our learning experiences into one day provides a good general overview; however, so much of our training is dependent upon the program year and rotation - all representative of our robust learning environment. To learn more about our rotations, electives, didactics, research experience and mentorship, continue reading.

Electives/Sub-specialty Rotations

Elective rotations begin the second program year. Second year residents receive two elective months, and this increases in increments of two months for the remainder of residency. Most of our residents choose from the following electives: neuromuscular with EMG, EEG, neurodegenerative, movement disorders, neuro-radiology, neuropathology and neuro-oncology, headache, epilepsy clinic, stroke clinic, MS and neuro-immunology, sports neurology or sleep clinic. Elective rotations engender a less regimented schedule which results with more dedicated time to research and leadership activities.

Didactics

We have several didactic opportunities that occur throughout Monday-Friday. Our morning topics include Grand Rounds, pediatric neurology, neuro-radiology and a rotating Friday schedule includes EEG, EMG, stroke, journal club or M&M. Friday morning conferences are resident driven, but attendings are present to provide supplemental instruction. Noon lectures include the chairman’s conference, EEG training, and medical student lectures.

Research Experience

As stated earlier, elective rotations offer sufficient time to pursue research-related interests. Our faculty is heavily involved in a plethora of research activities – ranging from basic science laboratory programs to clinical trials – providing residents a sturdy base from which to pursue individual research interests or to work in conjunction with on-going projects. This approach enables residents from varied research backgrounds to participate in a range of research endeavors during residency and establish a niche. To further nurture research interests among residents, our department hosts the annual Trainee Research Day where resident, as well as fellow and medical student, research are displayed and presented.

Residents are encouraged to present at local, national and international conferences with the department supporting one conference during training. Additionally, resources such as departmental scholarships and the Baumann Fund are available to help assist in getting exceptional work presented.

Mentorship (Attending and Peer)

Each resident is assigned a peer and faculty mentor with each fulfilling a crucial role during residency. The peer mentor, typically a senior resident, offers support and guidance to residents in their first year of the program. The faculty mentor is assigned from the first year and continues until the completion of residency where s/he monitors resident progress and offers constructive feedback to improve. Our Program Director and Department Chair maintain an open-door policy and always welcome resident concerns.

Prospective Resident Recruitment

Residents play a vital role in the selection of prospective residents. Each year residents dine with candidates the previous evening, and at the end of the interview season, residents convene to discuss best fits for the program.

Social Gatherings

Our department values a culture of camaraderie among our residents, and as such, sponsors multiple events throughout the year. We have annual welcome and Christmas parties, and the Education Office oversees several wellness initiatives including dinners, fun group activities (e.g., wine and canvas, Breakout sessions) and even bi-annual massages. Residents also have informal gatherings where we go to movies, dinner and Keeneland.

From Residency to Graduation

Our program is designed to provide graduated responsibility and independence as trainees demonstrate increased competency and culminates with residents prepared to enter many of the career routes available to neurologists today. Many of our residents have attended the J. Kiffin Penry Epilepsy MiniFellowship® Program and the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences’ Master MS Fellows Program. Our residents enter fellowships, private practice or remain in the academic setting upon graduation.

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