So, half of my residency training is complete. Surprisingly, I have learned more than I thought I knew but still feel behind where I think that I should be. Initially, grossing had been most difficult for me in terms of speed and time management. But I spent 3 months at the end of my 2nd year at our highest-volume, most-difficult surgical pathology site and only now see the benefits of my training there. Many of the lessons I learned while at that site inform how I dictate and gross my specimens now. At my new program I do not have templates to follow or surgpath fellows to advise me how to gross as I had previously. Even though my chiefs will go over the specific nuances here that may differ from how I was previously trained, I am still given more autonomy than a first year because I can apply those lessons I must have subconsciously learned.
Even so, despite all that I have learned, the thought of taking boards in approximately one year still seems far away but not far enough away that I don’t feel like the volume of information to learn is not still overwhelming. First and foremost, my thoughts wander to the prospect of starting to study for AP/CP boards (but still procrastinating as of this moment due to work and still moving in).
Then the second equally big thought on my mind is that of fellowship applications in a couple months. I just recently started researching programs. We do not have a Common Match when it comes to pathology fellowships and we are also competing for spots with non-pathology residency trained physicians for subspecialties such as dermpath, clinical microbiology, and so on. CAP members last year gave a great webinar addressing how to prepare to apply for fellowships – a handout and recorded webinar can be found at http://www.cap.org/apps/docs/pathology_residents/pdf/q_a_fellowship_webinar.pdf and http://vimeo.com/70936253, respectively.
For those who have been in this spot before, any advice how to plan my third year and address these two big beasts – studying for the boards and fellowship applications?
-Betty Chung, DO, MPH, MA is a third year resident physician at Rutgers – Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ.