A Day in the Life of a PGY-3 Resident

Chad

My Background

Hi friends! My name is Chad and I am currently a PGY-3 here at Yale Psychiatry. I was born in Tazewell, Virginia, a small farming community in the heart of Appalachia. Depending on how recently I have visited my family, you may pick up on a bit of a southern accent. I attended college at the University of Virginia, where I discovered my passion for studying the brain. Following college, my next stop was the National Institute of Mental Health. It was there that I learned some pretty cool basic science techniques, including the use of viruses to study neural circuits in vivo. Upon returning to the University of Virginia for medical school, my interest in basic neuroscience evolved into a passion for clinical work. I quickly realized Psychiatry matched my intellectual curiosity in the brain with the humanism of caring for some of our society’s most vulnerable members. Now, I am reminded each and every day of what a great decision it was to become a psychiatrist!

Why I Chose Yale

Interview day really sealed the deal for me. From the enthusiastic and hospitable faculty I met with to the residents with unmatched energy, I knew exactly where I wanted to be. Dr. Rohrbaugh and the Associate Program Directors have invested an enormous amount of time and resources into creating the best possible educational experience for each and every resident, which was evident at first sight. From three months of protected scholarly time in the PGY-2 year, to training in private and community settings, the wealth of clinical, research, and curricular opportunities here at Yale matched my own goals like no other.

The picture I had of the program on interview day has only been reaffirmed over the course of these last two years. The reason why I am most ecstatic to be at Yale, however, is the family I have made here. My co-residents and mentors are always available and going out of their way to help one another learn and grow. My co-residents and I go hiking, embarrass ourselves at karaoke, and celebrate birthdays by playing laser tag. Not only are they colleagues – they are some of my dearest friends.

My Schedule

Third year is a blast. Before this year, I always thought I would be an inpatient psychiatrist. That was until I discovered the enormous clinical and intellectual reward of outpatient work. I usually wake up by 6:30 to go for a run, followed by walking our dog, Archie, around the block. I get to the West Haven VA clinic by about 8:30 am and usually finish my last note by 4:30 pm. Twice each week I drive across town for our Long-term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Clinic, which is a phenomenal training opportunity to learn psychodynamics with long-term patients. When you do third year at the VA, you select which half of the year to do the majority of your CIU (Yale Psych ER) call. Much of my CIU call is in the second half of this year, so I have had lots of time on evenings and weekends to spend with my husband and working on other scholarly projects. CIU call consists of nightfloat for up to five nights at a time for approximately three or so total blocks. A few weekend shifts are spread throughout the year, as well. The CIU is a busy Psychiatric Emergency Room with a ton of learning. This is an opportunity to become confident in making quick, clinically informed decisions and to build many of the skills needed to be an independent practicing physician. There is always an attending available in house for supervision. In addition to my clinic and call, I also have lots of time for moonlighting, which effectively funds a never-ending demand for dog food.

Where I Live

I live in the beautiful community of East Rock. This is a popular neighborhood for graduate students, young adults, families, and there are no shortage of delicious delis and parks. There are countless multifamily houses with floors for rent, as well as a few new apartment complexes. A quick 5 to 10 minute drive from Yale New Haven Hospital, walking distance to Yale Health, and ~15 minute drive to the West Haven VA, it’s incredibly convenient for each clinical site.

My Favorite New Haven Restaurants and Cultural Activities

So many to count! My husband, Patrick, is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in Middletown, CT. On weekends, we can usually be found hiking with Archie, at the park, exploring the many surrounding towns of Connecticut, and visiting Providence, New York, or Boston. Additionally, we take great pride in checking out each of the AMAZING restaurants in New Haven (always happy to give recommendations), which is often followed by a movie in the North Haven Cinema’s reclining seats. When not seeing a movie on the big screen, the Yale Rep and Shubert Theaters bring in popular plays and musicals.

Final Thoughts

Residency can be some of the most challenging, rewarding, and enlightening years of a person’s life. When making the decision of where I wanted to spend those years, breadth of education, balance, and camaraderie were key in that process. Yale’s commitment to our training as physicians embodies each of those values, and I could not be happier. I am always happy to talk about my experiences here. Don’t hesitate to send me an email anytime!