A Day in the Life of a Resident

A Day in the Life of a PGY-1 Resident

Mazdak Bradberry

Hi all! My name is Mazdak Bradberry, and I’m a PGY-1 resident currently rotating on the eating disorders unit at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI). My day usually starts with an alarm at 7:15am, and I aim to leave my apartment on the Upper West Side by 8:20am to comfortably arrive at NYSPI before 9am. At the NYSPI eating disorders unit, we provide residential treatment for patients with bulimia and anorexia nervosa, many of whom are significantly underweight when they arrive on our unit. As a PGY-1, I am responsible for managing my patients’ medical care as well as providing them supportive psychotherapy throughout their stay. Because our patients often spend weeks on the unit, we have a unique opportunity to develop therapeutic relationships that support meaningful progress under our care. As residents, we routinely receive direct supervision, along with instruction in psychotherapeutic techniques such as CBT, from leaders in the field. The unit is also a major clinical research center, and we are grateful for our patients’ participation in studies to improve the understanding and treatment of eating disorders. After morning rounds, my day consists of seeing patients, going to class, writing notes, and talking with supervising attendings. We’re usually done by 5 or 6 pm, at which point I take the subway home. On evenings and weekends, you can find me riding my bike, enjoying some green space, getting together with friends, catching a show, or working on projects. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Columbia and in New York since moving here for residency, and I look forward to what the next weeks, months, and years will bring.

A Day in the Life of a PGY-2 Resident

Janice Garcia Guzman

Hi, everyone! My name is Janice Garcia Guzman, and I am one of the PGY-2 residents. This year the focus is all on psychiatry. I’m currently in the Adult Psychiatry Outpatient rotation where we provide excellent comprehensive psychiatric outpatient care to the population of Washington Heights. I am particularly proud that we serve a largely monolingual Spanish-speaking population.

Each day looks slightly different, and I enjoy that flexibility. My day usually starts around 8 am when I wake up and have my morning coffee and breakfast. Given that this rotation is primarily remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I log in around 9 am. My day consists of a combination of the following activities:

  • Attending multidisciplinary team rounds to stabilize high acuity and highly complex patients
  • Evaluating new patients with a wide range of diagnoses • Leading a weekly skills group therapy with my coresident
  • Weekly supportive psychotherapy supervision to help me understand and grow my skills in psychotherapy
  • Attending specialty consultation rounds to gain expertise in perinatal psychiatry.

At noon I log in virtually for didactics. This time provides an excellent opportunity to learn and catch up with my co-residents. Given the flexibility this rotation provides, it has allowed me to practice self-care and have more time to do things I enjoy. When I’m not at work, I enjoy exploring the food scene in NYC, meeting up with friends and co-residents, relaxing, or visiting family.

Jacob Perlson

Greetings from the Consultation-Liaison (CL) service! My name is Jake and I’m one of the PGY-2 residents. CL is an exciting opportunity to provide psychiatric care to medically ill patients in the general hospital. Though each day is unique in what I’ll see clinically, my own life on this rotation has been pleasantly predictable and very balanced. I wake up at 6:30am or so to give my dog Hercules his first walk of the day and breakfast. While he’s eating, I take off on a morning run into Morningside or Central Park from my apartment in South Harlem. I arrive at the hospital by 8:45am where I read up on my patients and see a few for some bedside supportive psychotherapy. Sometimes I’m assessing new medication changes, but often these conversations focus on helping my patients cope with their challenging medical illnesses. Rounds are in-person at 9:45am and usually wrap up with a few minutes to spare before lunchtime didactics. My favorite part of didactics this year is the consistent time to connect with my PGY-2 co-residents. Last year we were split 50/50 on- and off-service; this year, we’re all psychiatry, all the time! My afternoons are some combination of meeting a new consult, more follow ups, talking to primary teams, and getting notes written. I’m often back home again in time to feed Hercules his dinner, usually a bit after 5pm. Outside of work, dog-care, and running (I’m currently training for the NYC marathon, by the way), I love exploring the city with my partner and friends. Whether the vibe is relaxing evening at a new restaurant or a night of dancing, the options are endless.

A Day in the Life of a PGY-3 Resident

Gwen Cody

Hello and welcome! My name is Gwen Cody and I’m a PGY-3 resident. At Columbia, third year is dedicated time to learn all types of outpatient psychiatry at the Psychiatric Institute’s Resident Clinic, aka “PIRC” (pronounced “perk”). I have my own office where I see my own panel of patients throughout the year. All PGY-3s and PGY-4s have offices along the same hall, which is a wonderful opportunity for privacy and autonomy while also maintaining a sense of community with my classmates.

My day typically begins around 6:40 AM. I try to have a cup of coffee and breakfast before my seven-month-old daughter wakes up at 7 AM. My husband and I tag team playing with her and feeding her breakfast while we both finish getting ready for work. I head to the subway at 8 AM and am usually in my office by 8:30 AM or so. During the day, I see patients in the my office and virtually, and have group and individual supervision. Every day, I’m able to grab lunch while having PGY3 didactics with my co-residents. One amazing thing about PIRC is the breadth and depth of supervision; I have a different supervisor for psychopharmacology and each type of psychotherapy I’m learning. Some weeks I have up to eight hours of supervision! I’ll head home at 5:15 PM to be home by 6 PM. My husband and I will spend some time with our daughter before one of us puts her to bed while the other one cooks dinner. After dinner, I’ll finish up some notes, watch TV with my husband, or catch up with a friend on the phone.

Having a baby in residency (or any time!) is challenging, but I have felt so supported by our Program Directors and my classmates though this big life transition. On the weekends, I love taking my daughter for a walk in Riverside Park or meeting up with friends for an outdoor meal.

A Day in the Life of a PGY-4 Resident

Justin Smith

Hello, my name is Justin Smith and I'm a PGY-4 resident. Fourth year is an exciting year for residency because the majority of the time is elective. Each fourth-year resident chooses how to best spend their time based on their unique interests and professional goals. Another exciting part of fourth year is that the call responsibility is much lighter and does not include any overnight shifts. This year, I'm spending my time consolidating and sharpening my clinical skills through ongoing psychotherapy cases with expert supervision and caring for patients with more complicated medication management needs. In addition to my clinical work, I am involved in various professional activities related to my interests in leadership, teaching and DEI efforts. These activities can vary, but some examples include mentoring medical students, teaching classes to junior residents and medical students, and collaborating with the DEI and GME offices in my roles as Co-Chair of our resident DEI committee and GME representative for the psychiatry residency program. I split my working time at my office at NYSPI and at home, and I see patients both remotely and in-person. When I'm not at work, I enjoy relaxing at home with my dog, meeting up with friends for dinners and shows, and traveling to visit or explore with family and friends.