A Day in the Life
Hi there! My name is Allison Jackson and I’m a first-year psychiatry resident at BIDMC Harvard. I was born and raised in small town Arkansas, Woo Pig Sooie!! (college football reference, y’all). I attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock as a biology major before going to medical school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences where I found a love for psychiatry at the Arkansas State Hospital.
My interests in psychiatry are broad and as an intern I’m enjoying experiencing a little bit of everything. My current interests are forensic psychiatry, specifically correctional psychiatry, community psychiatry, and student mental health. BIDMC Harvard provides me with opportunities to have excellent mentors in all of these fields which was really important for me when I was looking at residency programs.
I am currently on the Emergency Department Psychiatry rotation which is one of the most exciting parts of intern year because you are seeing acute cases as they walk into the ED. I start my day off around 6:00am to give myself time to get ready and then walk the short, scenic 15 minute walk to BIDMC from my condo in Brookline. I arrive at the emergency department at 7:30am to receive sign out from the overnight resident. In the ED, you have a great balance of autonomy and supervision which I have found educational and rewarding. The team is made up of one to two interns, multiple attending psychiatrists, a CL chief resident, and a psychiatric social worker. It is nice to be able to work with a variety of expert attending psychiatrists throughout the day to discuss the ED consults. There is never a dull day in the ED because the consults are quite diverse. We see all ages of patients from college students to geriatric patients, diversity in ethnicities and cultures, and a wide range of socioeconomic status. It is always interesting to see who is going to walk in each day. We see a good mix of consults for decompensated psychosis, mania, first break schizophrenia, and depression with suicidal ideation. It’s our job to work with the team to decide if the patient requires inpatient admission or if we could help set them up with outpatient resources. The day ends at 6:00pm where you sign out to the oncoming night shift resident.
After a short walk back home, I have time to relax, cook dinner with my husband or visit a local restaurant, watch some Netflix, and exercise. During baseball season I like catching a Red Sox game after work using our BIDMC $5 ticket perk for myself and a friend. On the weekends, I love to spend time outdoors exploring the beautiful Emerald Necklace, Harvard Arboretum, or along the Esplanade in Boston. If I’m not on call on the weekend, I enjoy going on trips to the surrounding states with my coresidents. This year I’ve visited Hampton Beach in NH, Portland Maine, and NYC to name a few. One of the best parts of being a resident at BIDMC is how close the residents are in and between residency years.
Intern year at BIDMC Harvard has truly been an unforgettable experience and I can’t wait to see what new adventures PGY2 brings.
Howdy! I’m Erik— I’m originally from Michigan but have been a New Englander since college. My journey to psychiatry has been a long and circuitous one. I was a math major in college, then a high school teacher, and initially planned to pursue a residency in internal medicine before I found my way to psychiatry.
I’m still looking to find my specific set of interests within psychiatry, but generally am interested in medical education, CL and addiction psychiatry, sports psychiatry, and psychodynamic psychotherapy. That’s probably enough for now!
I currently live with my fiancé, Sarah, in Jamaica Plain (the best neighborhood in Boston by far!). We spend our time mostly taking care of our dog Luna, who requires q30 minute doggie treats PRN hunger cramps as well as a continuous infusion of belly rubs. In actuality, though, it’s as therapeutic for us as it is for her. In addition, I spend my free time riding my bicycle around the greater Boston area and eating ridiculously large cookies.
I’m finishing up my PGY-2 year at BIDMC currently working on the inpatient unit (Deaconess 4). Right now, my days start with waking up around 6 so that I have time to drink my requisite three large cups of coffee and eat my oatmeal prior to work. After getting sign-out from the overnight resident at 8 AM, we start rounding on patients in anticipation of the 9 AM unit rounds. The day from there involves seeing patients, putting in orders and notes, making calls, and interspersed teaching/breaks for food and more coffee. Starting our PGY-2 year we also get to see outpatients on a longitudinal basis, so sometimes we get to mix up a day of inpatient with a chance for seeing our outpatients for some psychodynamic psychotherapy.
After heading home, Luna needs her dinner STAT and I usually try to fit in a bike ride before the sun goes down. Sarah and I have been slowly working our way up to doing NYT crosswords; maybe by the end of residency we will be able to complete a Saturday puzzle.
My time at BIDMC has surpassed by expectations- I’m lucky to work with wicked smaht colleagues who also happen to be friendly, fun, and supportive through all the challenges of becoming a psychiatrist. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Hi there! I’m Joonhee, a third-year resident at BIDMC. This year has been an outpatient-focused experience, with quite a diversity of available elective rotations, so I will give you a look into what each day of the week can look like for a PGY3!
Monday AM (Psychopharmacology Clinic at BIDMC): Rounds start at 09:00. I usually get to my outpatient office in Rabb by 08:30 to print out notes for each patient that I will be seeing, review the cases, and think of some questions I may ask Dr. Brady during rounds. I usually see between 1 to 4 patients (depending on whether it’s a 1 hour new intake or a 30 minute follow-up appointment). At 11:30 I finish up documentation, head down to the Starbucks to grab a latte, and then head across the street to Boston Children’s Hospital.
Monday PM (Child Psychopharmacology Clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital): I get to the resident workroom around 12:50. With Dr. Bukstein and Dr. Joy, I see between 3 to 6 patients. The appointments are for psychopharm, but frequently, visits end up incorporating therapeutic approaches with some DBT/CBT elements, as well as family therapy elements. The day usually ends around 17:00.
Tuesday AM (Outpatient Psychotherapy Case Conference at BIDMC): At 08:00, PGY3s and PGY4s meet together with Dr. Peck to discuss challenges and positive/notable moments we encounter in our current therapy cases, including couples, group, and of individual therapy. This is one of my favorite mornings as PGY3s and PGY4s come together to talk over coffee, bagels, and muffins. It’s a very welcoming environment and reminds me of large family gatherings. At 10:00 we split up and PGY3s have a Psychopharmacology seminar with Dr. Brady and at 11:00 a CBT seminar with Dr. Majeres.
Tuesday PM (Scholarly Project Time): I have protected time after 12:00 to work on my Scholarly Project. It’s also a time that I use to schedule meetings, supervision, catch-up on work, do groceries and laundry. I also use the free late afternoon/early evening to practice with Boston University’s K-Pop dance crew, miXx.
Wednesday AM (Didactics): I get to Rabb at 08:00 for didactics. This is also one of my favorite days as our class of 10 gets to meet weekly, and in-between lectures, we often devolve into some fun and silliness in catching up. We also started a tradition of taking turns bringing breakfast - we’ve had residents bring in anything from a full yogurt bar to baked spinach pies.
Wednesday PM (Integrated Clinic): I see integrated therapy patients from 14:00 until 17:00. I have a mix of psychodynamic, CBT and DBT cases. Once I get home at 17:30, I grab a quick bite to eat and change to head over to dance. Wednesday evenings are one of my favorite times of the week because miXx offers three workshops, so I spend 3 hours getting to learn new choreography, practice for auditions, and take my mind completely off from any work-related thoughts.
Thursday (PREP at MMHC): I take the Orange Line to Jamaica Plain where The Spot is. It is a Massachusetts Mental Health Center clinic where two amazing programs take place - PREP (Prevention and Recovery in Early Psychosis) and the Young Adult Team. At 09:00 we start multidisciplinary rounds, getting to discuss our patients from multiple perspectives, including Psychiatry, Psychology, Social Work, and Occupational/Career Advising. One of my favorite things about working at PREP is getting to know the trainees from the other disciplines. I usually meet with 3 to 5 patients, get to have lunch together with the patients (which they help to prepare through Cooking Group), co-lead a group therapy session, and finish around 16:30 with supervision with Dr. Berkowitz. We also have started a tradition of going to our favorite KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) place in Allston after work for some chicken and beer (an amazing pairing).
Friday AM (College Mental Health/VA Palliative Care): The first 6 months of the year, I spent time at Simmons College providing psychopharmacology care to students under the tutelage of Dr. Mathias. Simmons has a close tie with our ED as when students need to be seen emergently, they are sent to BIDMC. It was a really cool way to see the intricacies of acute safety assessment and disposition planning as both the ED psychiatry consultant and also as the outpatient follow-up provider. Since January, I’ve been on the VA Palliative Care rotation which has also been an amazing experience; while it started off initially as seeing patients for psychopharmacology management and goals of care discussions, Dr. Sager and I have started to see one of our patients weekly for Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy.
Friday PM (Integrated Clinic at BIDMC): I see patients from my integrated caseload until 17:00. After work, I’ll usually spend Friday evenings going out to dinners, catching up with friends and visiting local nightlife establishments (SOJUBA in Fenway is one of my favorites).
Weekends: I usually spend a few hours on both Saturday and Sunday with BU miXx learning and practicing choreography. I have had the opportunity to audition for and be in several music video covers and K-pop in public performances. Getting to perform with the crew for the annual showcases at Tsai Performance Center continues to be among my favorite memories since moving to Boston. Aside from dance, I also spend weekends catching up on some video games (Persona 5 and Fire Emblem Three Houses have been recent favorites) and cooking/cleaning.
Overall, PGY3 has been my favorite year so far -- it really does continue to only get better!