Surgical Residency Program
Through takeovers on the Department of Surgery Twitter page, surgical residents at Massachusetts General Hospital provide a behind-the-scenes look at their days and experiences in the Surgical Residency Program.
"A Day in the Life" with Danielle Ellis, MD, MTS, PGY-1 resident
The Start of the Day
This month, I’m on Churchill (trauma/ACS) & by some miracle (aka amazing, thoughtful admin chiefs @sophiakmckinley, @budelsman), my husband @joshuaellis2020 (gen surg intern/@MGHIR1 resident) is on the team this week. It's early o'clock, but it's a good day to have a good day!
In the OR
We’re in the OR so much already as interns, and on Churchill, operative learning is especially fun bc our seniors take us through cases! Major shoutout to @morganhennessy for her patience & guidance as I struggled my way through this appy today.
One of the most meaningful parts of residency is the people we get to do it with. It's not every day that you find three brilliant, budding surgeons who also make for the best brunch crew.
The Reality of Residency
In case #gensurg social media conveys anything to the contrary, surgical residency is HARD and much of the time, looks like this. It is, however, incredibly moving and surprising and inspiring—10/10 would recommend.
Even a few minutes of hold music is nothing a little coffee can't fix [not pictured here are Barbara, Molly and Lois, our residency coordinators and the backbones of this program who, besides doing a million other things, also feed and water us every day].
A View of Boston
This is one of my favorite places in the hospital. I call it my "big picture" room, and sometimes when I'm up here on my PM rounds (always be rounding, amirite?), I take a few moments in here to zoom out from the chaos and minutia of the day.
"A Day in the Life" with Grace Lee, MD, PGY-5 resident
Meet Grace Lee, MD
Hi everyone! It’s time for another #meettheMGH! I’m Grace Lee, MD, and I’m so excited to take you through my day as an Mass General surgical resident.
Kicking Off the Day
The day begins in the chief resident office, where we review patients prior to morning rounds. Zhi Ven Fong, MD, just got a Star Wars toaster and is happily making breakfast. Brooks Udelsman, MD, MHS, is not as impressed.
I started chief year on trauma nights with Selena Li, MD, and Filippos Kontos, MD, as my fearless interns. There was a lot of 2 am running between the Emergency Department and sick floor patients. Selena likes the stairs. I felt very old.
In the Operating Room
Chief year is full of operating, operating, operating! Incredible cases with incredible attendings—it is the crown jewel of the Mass General Surgical Residency Program. Here I am performing a thyroidectomy with Richard Hodin, MD. Our attendings are world-class experts—we’re pretty spoiled.
Spare Time Studying
You may ask: do you ever have time to read textbooks and study? Answer: yes! We have surgical textbooks galore in the resident lounge to help us prepare for cases, teaching sessions and the ABSITE.
Look who I found! Zhi and Bram Verhofste, MD, rounding with Motaz Qadan, MD, PhD. Dr. Qadan advises our resident wellness committee. We have access to great resources for maintaining our wellbeing throughout residency and the COVID-19 crisis.
Celebrating Fellowship Match
Sahael Stapleton, MD, MBA, and I just matched to colorectal surgery fellowship! We are so excited to bring some Mass General surgery to Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic (the drawings from Sahael’s kids are the best part of our chief resident office).
In the Pit
Time to bring fuel to the surgery residents in the Emergency Department (ED), aka the Pit! PGY2 and PGY3 field all ED surgery consults and run traumas. It’s a tough job but Liz Calle, MD, PhD & Sarah Marx, MD, are seasoned vets. We leave the Pit feeling amazed at what we can accomplish in one shift.
Ending the Day
The day ends in the chief resident office, where we relax after a long day. Andrea Axtell, MD, has had to listen to many of my stories. Talking to her makes everything better and scuba diving together in Gloucester, MA, DEFINITELY makes everything better.
Planning the Weekend Shift
What are weekends like? Lauren Williams, MD and I meet John Mullen, MD, to run the list. He is the best—have I mentioned he won the Mass General Brigham outstanding program director award? Dr. Mullen & Keith Lillemoe, MD, are the reason many of us came here!
"A Day in the Life" with Maggie Westfal, MD, MPH, PGY-4 resident
Training on the North Shore
I'm Maggie Westfal, MD, MPH, PGY-4 surgical resident! I’m hosting this edition of #meettheMGH from Salem Hospital where we rotate as 2, 3, 4s. I am also going to highlight life as a surgery resident parent. My husband Douglas Cassidy, MD, is also a PGY-4 at Mass General Surgery.
Start of the Day
Time-stamp is often well before 5 am but got lucky with a shorter rounding list & later operating room start, so my day started a little later! With a 12-week newborn at home, my day starts with my pump so he has a bottle ready when he wakes up!
Video Call with Daughter
“Good morning, Mama!” are my favorite words before a busy operating room day. I always try to find time to FaceTime my kids at least twice a day. Their faces bring the biggest smile to my face, even if you can’t see it behind the mask!
Van Abreu, RN, and Maggie
Nothing better than seeing Van Abreu’s face each morning, our extraordinary nurse practitioner who preps all our paperwork, takes great care of our patients when we are in the OR and preps them for weekend discharges! She saves us hours of work every day. Thank you, Van!
Video Call with Douglas Cassidy, MD
It isn’t often that we both have the same time off in between cases. When we can, Doug and I try to check in on each other, along with discussing who will be home in time to relieve our nanny, make dinner and do bedtime!
Meet Barbara Leblanc, Case Manager
Back to work! This is Barbara Leblanc, the best case manager there is! We never have to worry about complicated dispositions for patients because Barbara knows how to handle it all. We are so thankful for her and her colleagues for helping us every day!
Meet Kellie Wood, RN
Our best days are spent in the operating room and there is no one better to spend your day with than Kellie Wood, RN! She always hands you what you need and not necessarily what you ask for. She treated us to the most delicious bagels for our last day.
Spinning in the Call Room
To work off all the bagels we are gifted, we hop on the bike in our call room. Thanks to our lovely NP Van, we received a donated spin bike during the COVID-19 surge. Even a quick 20-minute ride helps re-energize us during our 24-hour calls!
On a good day, Doug and I are home for bedtime. If the day doesn’t allow it, bedtime FaceTime’s are a must! We could not do our job without the help of my mom and our nanny, who share the childcare responsibilities. We love and appreciate them both so much!
Thanks for Following!
Thanks for following along! I couldn't have asked for a better group for my final month as resident at North Shore Medical Center. I will miss the lovely faces you've seen today, but am glad I get another one and a half years with these ones and the rest of Mass General Surgery!
One of the oldest and most prestigious training programs in the country, the Mass General Surgical Residency Program continues to pride itself on the success of its graduates, many of whom are current department chairs, division chiefs and renowned surgeon-scientists.