January 17, 2012

Moniba Nazeef, MD, is at work before most people’s alarms go off.

As a second-year internal medicine resident, she must evaluate all her patients and take care of any issues before the daily 8 a.m. lecture or morning report meeting. Shortly after 9 a.m., the residents, attending
physicians and sometimes medical students start rounding, going to each patient room and discussing the prognosis and changes in each patient—a process that can take three or four hours.

After rounds, the team gathers to discuss treatments for patients, and then spends another hour or two tying up loose ends and making sure patients are stable.

Then, if Nazeef isn’t on call, she can go home for the night.

Internal medicine residents are generally on call every four days, and then have two 30 hour calls each month. Once a month, they get what they call the “golden weekend”—Friday through Sunday off.

But the hard work doesn’t seem to bother Nazeef. She chose medicine because she wanted to do something intellectually challenging that would be significant to others.

“In medicine, there’s just no end to learning,” Nazeef said.

A medical resident is a physician who has graduated from medical school and is pursuing training in a specialty. Mostresidencies are either four or five years long.

Dealing with sickness and even death on a regular basis, the emotional tax on a medical resident is tough.

“You have to realize that at that moment, you are the most important person to them. They’re nervous and anxious. If I get emotional, I know I wouldn’t be able to perform as well,” Nazeef said. “It’s for your own stability—you couldn’t survive this environment otherwise.”

Nazeef said it helps having other residents around that are all going through the same thing.

Things are a little different for Steve Hollosi, DO, a fourth-year emergency medicine and chief resident. Depending on the week, his shift might be 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or pretty much anything in between. Not only does he see patients nonstop during his shifts—he is responsible for making the schedule for all 16 residents in the emergency medicine program.

Hollosi rotates between the emergency rooms at CAMC Women and Children’s,
General and Memorial hospitals. He sees a variety of patients every day, and said it can be anything from the flu to a heart attack to an automobile accident.

“You see a good mix,” Hollosi said.

While he never knows what to expect in the ER and the stress level that comes with that can be high, Hollosi said the diversity of patient conditions helps keep his skills sharp.

“In emergency medicine, you have to know a little bit about a lot of things,” he said. “What burns you out is getting too comfortable with the day-to-day tasks. That doesn’t happen in the ER.”

The emergency medicine residents rotate through many different areas of the health system, giving them a very well-rounded perspective of all the departments and specialties.

“We’re all just one piece of a big puzzle in health care,” Hollosi said.

When asked about sleep, both Nazeef and Hollosi said that residents just have to be more creative about finding time to sleep, whether it be planning ahead for personal needs like grocery shopping and laundry, or being able to adjust to a variety of different shifts and taking the opportunity to sleep whenever possible.

Regardless of the specialty they choose, all medical residents share common
experiences. They all depend on each other and the rest of their health care teams to provide the best care possible to each patient.

“No matter how busy you are, when you’re in front of the patient, it’s all about them,” Hollosi said.

The residents are encouraged to build interdepartmental camaraderie, and have been known to play department vs. department kickball games.

CAMC currently has 158 medical residents, not including interns or fellows. After completing residencies, doctors can go on to fellowship programs, join a medical staff as an attending physician, open a private practice or pursue countless other opportunities.

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