June’s Resident On Call, Parin Patel, recently graduated from Drexel University College of Medicine and is currently an OB/GYN intern at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX. Last year, Parin helped launch AMWA’s Undergraduate Student Division and this year she is serving as the Residency Division Co-Conference Chair. Parin welcomes questions outside of this forum as well. If you are considering a career in OB/GYN or are planning to couple’s match, please don’t hesitate to reach out to her.
Q: How has your first week of residency been? Was there anything you did during as an MS4 that helped to prepare you for the transition?
A: This is such a great question. I started on Labor & Delivery Nights and the transition from student to resident was tough. I cried twice that first week and it was simply because I kept putting so much pressure on myself to know things and to be able to do procedures that I honestly could never have known at this stage in my career. Once I got over being so hard on myself, but still continuing to try my best, the second week was a lot easier. Learn as much as you can as a medical student, because a lot of that random information you think might not be necessary always comes in handy. You will still be doing, writing, and presenting H&Ps as a resident, so it is crucial to practice those skills as a medical student. Lastly, enjoy having the few responsibilities you have as a student. I found that starting residency relaxed and refreshed really helped. Get in the habit of taking care of yourself – it will go a long way during residency.
Q: Why did you choose OB/GYN?
A: Choosing OB/GYN was a very personal decision for me. My mom was in critical condition when she was pregnant with me and both of us almost died had it not been for a caring and courageous obstetrician who did the right thing at the right time and essentially saved our lives. This childhood memory of an OB/GYN as a “hero” coupled with my love of surgery, preference for long-term patient care, and a predominant desire to improve women’s health led me to OB/GYN. After two grueling weeks of nights my faculty patted me on the back and asked me how I was. I didn’t hesitate to say I love this – I know I’ve made the right choice.
Q: Were the contacts you made with AMWA medical students, residents or physicians helpful during your residency interviews?
A: Contacts I made with AMWA helped me grow, learn, and expand my knowledge and awareness regarding certain women’s health topics. This came up during every residency intereview and interviewers were consistently interested in my opinions regarding women in medicine and my work in women’s health through AMWA. At the same time, I did not interact with AMWA members who were OB/GYN residents/physicians or students interested in OB/GYN. It just never really came up. However, that is part of the purpose of this forum – to help bring together individuals who are in different places in their careers and provide guidance and support.
Q: Did you utilize the AMWA Bed & Breakfast program?
A: I reached out to a few people who definitely were agreeable to letting me stay with them, however it was ultimately my schedule that kept changing and so it just didn’t work out. If you’re interviewing at UTMB you are more than welcome to stay with me!
Q: What are your thoughts about the long time lack of collaboration between midwives and OB/GYNs in the United States as compared to Europe where midwives are used quite regularly? Did this issue in the US deter you away from OBGYN at all?
A: I interviewed mostly at university programs, almost all of which have certified nurse midwives (CNMs) on staff who work closely with the physicians. I preferred this. At my institution, during my first two weeks as a resident I had the opportunity to deliver 4 babies with CNMs and it was a great experience. We are actually encouraged to spend time with the midwives and to learn from them because the truth is, they’ve been doing this a lot longer than residents – especially interns – and approach the delivery process differently than doctors. Thus, learning certain information and techniques from them can broaden one’s knowledge base and skill-set. In the United States I think the extent of collaboration is institution-dependent and I’m happy I found a place where CNMs really facilitate patient care and work well with the doctors. For example, our midwives are skilled at deliveries and many complications, such as 1st and 2nd lacerations and shoulder dystocia. Their expertise is invaluable in that they manage a lot of patient care and that is incredibly helpful. Yet, if a patient needs a vacuum or forceps-assisted delivery or has a 3rd or 4th degree laceration, the CNM can always get assistance from the residents and physicians on staff. Patient care is always about team work. Since I narrowed my search to an institution where doctors and CNMs work closely together, a lack of collaboration wasn’t really on my radar and didn’t affect my decision to choose OB/GYN.