Surviving residency

It takes four years of hard work, long nights of studying, and countless hours of living and breathing medicine before a medical student can call themselves a doctor. However, the journey to earning a complete medical license is just the beginning; it’s then time for a “residency”.

A residency is a training program that lasts a minimum of three years. At this point, the young doctor begins caring for patients under the supervision of hospital staff. A residency is like an apprenticeship; doctors are learning on the job and take on the responsibilities of a medical professional.

Dr. Phil Vourtzoumis is currently completing his third year of residency in General Surgery at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)
Dr. Phil give an assessment to his team of fellow residents, medical students, attending physicians and nurses
As the condition of his patients improves, Dr. Phil slowly and efficiently get them ready for discharge
Depending on the cases, Dr. Phil spend between one to five hours operating on each patient
His medical students follow him through the day
Dr. Phil sits down with Dr. Heather Gill, assistant professor in the division of Vascular Surgery at the MUHC, to discuss the case they’re about to see
Under the supervision of Dr. Gill, Dr. Phil been able to perform the surgery as planned
In between procedures, Dr. Phil decided to head back to the ward to see if the staff needs his help
It’s lunch time but Dr. Phil has to go back to the OR
Dr. Phil gets help from a nurse as he prepares for his next case
Dr. Phil discusses with his fellow senior resident what the plan will be for the rest of the day
Dr. Phil heads back to the ward

Lightning round with Dr. Phil Vourtzoumis

  1. What’s your favourite thing about being a resident? Interacting with people.
  2. What’s your least favourite thing? All the paperwork.
  3. On a scale of 1 to 10 how excited are you to be a resident? I would say 11.
  4. What’s your favourite shift? I love the night shift. Particularly, when I’m on call for trauma. You never know what type of cases you’ll get.
  5. Favourite medical drama? The Knick. It’s about a surgeon from the early 1900s in New York City.
  6. Why are Drs. obsessed with Crocs? (Laughs) They’re comfortable and they help with our posture.
  7. Favourite medical gadget? My hands.
  8. What’s the best way to decompress after a long shift? Going back to my son.

Dr. Phil’s top 10 tips for surviving residency

  1. Try to find balance
  2. Always make time for family and friends
  3. Stay organized
  4. Always introduce yourself to people
  5. Respect your peers
  6. Make sure to find the snack drawer in the recovery room
  7. Try to keep a balanced diet
  8. Take time for yourself
  9. Stay up to date with the field you work in
  10. Don’t forget to call mom and dad