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First Week of Residency

I was expecting the worst for my start of residency this past week. I started on Labor & Delivery (L&D) Nights at a hospital that’s much busier than where I went to medical school, with an Electronic Medical Records system I’m completely unfamiliar with, and unfortunately, less sleep than I planned for due to anxiety and untimely construction around my apartment. Going in with all these factors already against me, I promised myself to take it slow and to not have any expectations. I believed my decision was practical and pragmatic. However, after day (or night, really) #1, and after surviving the hecticness of a L&D night, my usual self resurfaced and I began putting pressure on myself. Maybe it’s inevitable for many physicians; it’s certainly inevitable for me. It’s who I am.

Thus, I kept wishing myself to know information and to have the skills to do certain procedures. I was harder on myself than I’ve ever been and I crashed and burned. I crashed and burned emotionally, that is. I’m not fatigued or “burned out” – it’s way too early in my career for that and I hope it never comes to that. As I look back on this week, I realize I have to find a balance between caring so much about doing my best that every little imperfection brings me to tears and acknowledging that when things aren’t perfect, it doesn’t mean I must have done something wrong. I have to keep being myself in that I have to keep striving to improve and always put my patients first. At the same time, I need to accept that I am not perfect and instead of letting imperfections hinder me, I can allow them to encourage me to continue learning and improving. It’s a lot to take in, but I know I can do it!

I’m so glad my first week was with caring, wonderful other residents, nurses, midwives, and staff. I definitely could not have survived this week without each and every single one of you – thank you so much! Lastly, I am truly grateful for the patients, families and newborns that touched my life this week. Thank you for making me a better doctor and a better person.

Parin Patel

Parin is an OB/GYN resident at the University of Texas Medical Branch. She's been an AMWA member since medical school and has co-authored multiple Position Statements, worked on improving healthcare through AMWA's Preventive Medicine Task Force, and served on several committees. This year she hopes to increase resident involvement as the division's Recruitment Chair. She enjoys working with all of the inspirational AMWA members and promoting women's health.

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