A Day in the Life of a Resident

A Day in the Life of a PGY-1 Resident

Osama El-Gabalawy, MD

Hello! My name is Osama El-Gabalawy. As I write this, I'm currently 1 week into rotating at the Primary Care for Psychiatric Patients rotation at the Inwood clinic. This clinic effectively serves as a walk-in medical clinic for patients attending their outpatient psychiatry appointments with the idea of being a one-stop-shop for a historically underserved & undertreated patient population. I love my sleep more than I do waking up early to work out, so my typical day starts at 8am when I quickly get ready, grab a granola bar, and reach the 125 St subway station by 8:30am. From there, I take the A-line to the 207 St subway station and reach the clinic just across the street from the station by 9am. I check in with the nurse practitioner on the schedule and figure out which patients I will see. At noon, I heat up my lunch and join my peers (virtually because this clinic is located offsite) for didactics in the resident office. In my downtime at the clinic, I receive training in administering long-acting injections of antipsychotic medications. I usually wrap up work here no later than 4pm and spend my evenings cooking, working on research, meeting up with friends, and relaxing! The program has been incredibly supportive, and I can’t wait for my next years at Columbia!

A Day in the Life of a PGY-2 Resident

Yokarla Veras, MD

Hi everyone! My name is Yokarla Veras and I am a newly minted PGY-2 resident. This year is completely focused on psychiatry and it’s when you get the bulk of your training on how to manage psychiatric presentations in acute care settings. During this year, we rotate through and manage patients in the following settings: the inpatient units at both the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Milstein Hospital (9 Garden North); the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program; the Pediatric Emergency Department, consulting on patients who are on other services such as medicine; and at Eye-6 which is an outpatient clinic. I’m currently rotating on 9 Garden North, the inpatient unit located in Milstein Hospital. This unit is considered the psychiatry “ICU” unit, so here we see a wide variety of psychiatric disorders at their most severe presentations. My day typically starts at about 6:40am when I wake up and try to get a quick workout in. I am usually ready to leave my home by around 8:15am and I walk to work which only takes 10 minutes. I try to see one patient before interdisciplinary rounds, which starts at 8:45am via zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rounds are a great opportunity to discuss difficult cases and learn from different disciplines and perspectives. Most of my morning is spent seeing the rest of my patients. At noon, I look forward to attending in-person didactics daily which is not only a wonderful opportunity to learn but also a chance to catch up with my other co-residents. After didactics, I see the remainder of my patients, complete tasks, write notes, and contact families to provide updates. When I am not at work, I love taking every opportunity I can to enjoy New York City now that many COVID-19 restrictions have lifted (and now that I’m vaccinated)! I live in Washington Heights, which is also my hometown, and one of my favorite things to do in this neighborhood is jog along Riverside park to enjoy the scenic waterfront and George Washington Bridge on the weekends. During my time in the city, I’ve explored different dance venues in the city because I love dancing a wide variety of genres including salsa, merengue, and bachata. I look forward to continuing to explore more of the city over the next few years!

A Day in the Life of a PGY-3 Resident

Blake Erickson, MD

Hi all, my name is Blake and I am one of the PGY3 residents. The Columbia program offers an incredible combination of intensive, broad clinical training and flexible, personalized extracurricular time. The third year schedule is split between clinical work in PIRC (Psychiatric Institute Residents' Clinic) and shifts in the CPEP (Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program). In PIRC, I manage a panel of outpatients with mood, anxiety, psychotic, and personality disorders. I alternate between working days at home and at my office in the Psych Institute. Due to COVID, we currently see all patients remotely. In-person options will hopefully be possible in the near future. I see patients until around noon, attend classes for an hour or two, and see more patients in the afternoon. Depending on the day, I might have supervision with an attending in psychopharmacology, supportive therapy, psychodynamic therapy, or CBT. During these sessions, I discuss my PIRC cases and get treatment advice. I am on the residency research track which provides two full days each week to conduct research. I use this time to write papers, attend research team meetings, and plan projects. The last major part of third year involves night and weekend CPEP shifts. I work 1:1 with an overnight attending to manage the psychiatry emergency department (aka CPEP) 5 weeks of the year. I also work a handful of weekend day CPEP shifts. Beyond work, I love to meet up with friends around the city for parties, dinners, and shows. The outdoor dining and recreation scenes have blossomed during the pandemic. New Yorkers are doing a great job at keeping things fun and safe. All the best with your interview season and match!

A Day in the Life of a PGY-4 Resident

Emily Nash, MD

My name is Emily Nash and I’m a PGY4 resident. Fourth year is one of the best years of residency because most of it is elective- meaning you get to choose how you spend your time! And even better, the call responsibility is much less, and you don’t have any more night float. I am passionate about the intersection of mental health care and the criminal justice system and will be doing Columbia’s forensic fellowship program next year. This year, I am doing a variety of electives to sharpen my clinical skills and gain more experience in supervisory roles. Right now, I am doing a Junior Attending elective on 9GN, the inpatient unit where we rotate as both interns and second years. In this role, I get to supervise medical students (sub-interns) in their care of patients. We see a broad range of patients on this unit - patients with a variety of psychiatric illness and socioeconomic backgrounds. As a junior attending, I’ve been able to see how much I’ve grown since second year and pass this knowledge on to PGY1s and 2s. In the afternoons, I see my outpatients - some for psychotherapy and some for medication management. The combination of inpatient and outpatient work has allowed to me really stretch my clinical skills, and I love the variety it brings! When I’m not at work, I can be found relaxing on my couch, meeting up with friends, or visiting family.