Sunday, November 20, 2011

Residency Interview - The Ninth

It wasn't long ago that I visited this program for the first time doing an elective month in emergency medicine. Now six months later, I find myself on the hospital campus interviewing for a potential residency position. The interview is not only one day of suit-wearing anxiety, but a month long process of showcasing myself on every shift.

Arrowhead Regional Medical Center

After an evening out with the residents, it was not hard to see that their laid-back demeanor fit their in-hospital character well. It was as though friends were gathering rather than a professional undercover interview session over dinner. At one of the earliest interviews yet, the ties, suit coats, and slacks all found their way to the department office and patiently waited for formal interviews to begin. For most, there was no travel involved as we were already working at Arrowhead for the month. Taking turns, we were shuffled through four interviews separated by a lecture session and lunch.

My pre-lunch interviews were more energetic than the food-coma-induced afternoon interviews. The first encounter was brief with a couple of the attending faculty members. They tried to glean a perspective of performance under pressure during work situations and how we destress when not on the clock. I enjoyed the brevity and direct line of questioning they presented as it kept the mood fresh. Next up was a session with the junior residents, most of whom I have worked with in the department. Again the mood was inquisitively jovial with an opportunity to express myself outside the realm of work-place medicine. The encounters felt natural and low pressure despite the expectant nervousness associated with any interview of significance.

We then joined the rest of the residents in lecture to discuss case reports and teaching points recently experienced in the department. The cohesive nature of this group was evident as senior and junior residents worked together to respectfully formulate answers and discussion topics. Lunch was served and we made our way back to the interview chairs to finish out the day.

I was called to meet with the senior residents, two of which I had worked with previously. We recalled various experiences together treating interesting patients and elaborated on my desire to pursue a career in emergency medicine. Their conversation was welcoming and decisive as they look for students to carry on the legacy of their residency program. Shortly thereafter, I sat with the program director and another resident detailing my thoughts on the program thus far and why I wanted to be a part of it in the near future. None of the relationships were blurred between professional and informal, yet there was an overwhelming sense of family familiarity. All in all, ARMC is comfortable and inviting, as I would hope every potential employer would be.

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What happens when you get mad?

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