Our program understands that wellness has an impact on residents’ ability to learn and for this reason there are several events over the course of the year that are devoted exclusively to getting settled in and getting to know one another better.
In mid-July, faculty and all program residents venture over to the Bolger Center. A short trip from DC, it is a quiet resort and conference center set on a scenic wooded property. All residents are excused from clinical duties to allow for attendance, and the faculty are kind of enough to cover the ED for the two days. The retreat includes team building activities, checking out the local offerings (extensive running trails, gym, pool), and just catching-up with new and old friends & colleagues. In the evening, there is a special dinner celebrating the accomplishments of the prior year and preparing for what everyone has to look forward to in the year ahead.
Immediately following the national ABEM In-training exam in late February, all of the residents are excused from ED clinical shifts and off-service rotations for the winter retreat—two days devoted to unwinding and spending some quality time with each other away from the hospital. In years past, we have gone skiing and snow tubing at the Whitetail Ski Resort, just a short drive away from DC in the Tuscarora Mountains of Pennsylvania.
During first year, the entire month of July focuses on getting the new class geared-up to start residency. The concentration of the month is on interactive, hands-on learning. Time is spent in the Simulation lab focusing on emergency ultrasound and core EM procedures. Clinical work includes approximately 8-10 clinical shifts in the ED (divided between Washington Hospital Center & Georgetown University Hospital) getting acclimated to the departments, and meeting the staff. The IOP month also includes time devoted to ATLS, PALS and ACLS training. Lastly, lectures focus on EM fundamentals such as the approach to chest pain, abdominal pain, ECG interpretation and pediatric fever, among many others. These components not only help to brush-up on knowledge, but afford an opportunity to meet the faculty in a small-group or one-on-one setting.
The month is designed so that there is time to get settled into life in DC and bond with classmates. Best of all, our interns find that they are free to spend some evenings getting some good grub and checking out the local watering holes with new colleagues.