Happy day after the Fourth of July. For many of us, holidays do not equate with time off, but on the contrary, might increase the amount of work on our plates. For those who had to work, I hope that yesterday and the next few days pass quietly and pleasantly. Many thanks to those of you who have taken on extra work this week so that your colleagues can enjoy some time away with family and friends.
This time of year is not just busy for those staffing our emergency department or our inpatient units. The leadership of our education team have been working long hours these last couple weeks realizing the culmination of many months of preparation spent recruiting an outstanding class of new residents and fellows. Our new class of interns has been with us for just over a week now. They are getting their paperwork completed, their orientations, their central line training, a dizzying amount of onboarding requirements. We are all grateful to the administrative staff and faculty who pull the levers behind the scenes to ensure that our newest trainees can hit the ground running.
One of the most complex elements of our new trainee orientation is a relatively new one. For the third year in a row, our residency program has run the Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE). Each year our assessment of our incoming interns’ skill levels has expanded beyond those of the previous year. This most recent OSCE has increased the number of new interns observed by more than fifty percent with the addition of trainees from residency programs in Family Medicine and Anesthesia. The coordination and timing of simulated patients, nursing staff, dozens of faculty observers, and half a dozen clinical observation suites constitutes a logistical tour de force that our program leadership executes each year with aplomb. As the OSCE gains in national attention, the tool’s unique nature and scope provides additional evidence that our residency program is truly one of the most innovative in the nation.
That first week must have felt like a blur to the interns and I hope that as we reach the end of the second week, they are already feeling a bit steadier. I was pleased to note the terrific turnout at the New Trainee Dinner. Even though we focus on rigorous training, are nationally recognized for our creativity in designing curricula that matches individualized needs, and our track record in preparing our trainees for boards and fellowship applications, we pride ourselves on fostering a collegial and supportive community here at Iowa. We are more than what we have to teach or the hours we spend drilling essential skills. We hope that our newest members will come to see that we care as much about your happiness and well-being here as we do your performance and scholarly achievements. In fact, we believe that all of these elements are deeply intertwined. It is our hope that your next few years here in our training program will set the stage for long-term success in multiple dimensions of your professional and personal lives.
In addition to community support, our department also offers many resources that support the growth not only for our trainees but our faculty as well. For example, Kris Greiner, our scientific and technical editor, offers editorial support and guidance for writers. Whether you need assistance with manuscripts, research presentations, or grant proposals, Ms. Greiner has close to 30 years’ experience in all these areas. She can help you interpret author instructions, revision requests or give your article one last polish before you click “submit.” She has also begun giving presentations to our residents at noon conferences providing guidance on building CVs as well as tools to navigate medical and scientific publishing. A refresher for some, but an introduction for others, Ms. Greiner’s expertise is valuable, and we encourage you to avail yourself of it.
There are always many other things happening in Internal Medicine and I look forward to sharing them with you. Please feel free to let me know if there are questions you would like to see addressed in this space or answered privately. My door is always open. Welcome to the new academic year!