Q: What attracted the current chief residents to the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program and how do they like living in Durham?

Angela Li, MDAngela Li, MD
Chief Resident 2017-2018
Joined the program in 2014

The Basics

Hometown: A somewhat complicated answer to a simple question…I moved around a good amount and have lived at least half-a-decade in each of the following places: Toronto, Canada; Bloomington, Indiana; St. Louis, Missouri; and New York City, New York.
Where did you attend college? Washington University in St. Louis
What did you do, or where did you go, next? I spent a year in Boston teaching high school students.
Where did you attend medical school? Weill Cornell Medical School
What are your career goals? I plan to pursue a career in cardiothoracic anesthesia.

Reflections on the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program

What were you looking for in a residency program? Although I knew prior to residency that I wanted to pursue a fellowship in cardiothoracic anesthesia, I wanted a program that not only excelled in cardiothoracic anesthesia but in all subspecialty fields of anesthesia so that I would receive the most comprehensive clinical training possible. I also wanted a smaller sized program with faculty truly dedicated to education and mentorship that was located in a livable city so that I could have a certain quality of life as a resident. Duke proved to have all of those things.

What are the strengths of the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program? The relatively small size of the program compared with the surgical caseload – this unique environment allows for an incomparable training environment which allows you to find your niche in anesthesia and fosters strong relationships with attendings and personalized mentorship.

What is a funny or memorable experience from your time at Duke?
While going through routine precautions and lab tests after a needle stick injury, I found out that the physician taking care of me was my fiancé who is a hospitalist at Duke.

About Duke University and Durham

What’s best about living in Durham (and the Triangle)?
Life is easy and quality of life as a resident is high. As with any big change, I was hesitant to leave friends and family in New York City for Durham, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions I made for my overall well-being and happiness. The food and drink scene is amazing and rarely do you have to wait or need to make a reservation. My fiancé and I own and live in a three-bedroom townhouse with our little zoo family (cat named Graham and dog named Kona). We routinely escape to the outdoors for a hike in the evenings, and the cost of living allows us to afford weekend getaways to nearby cities as well as adventures to Patagonia, Iceland, Banff National Park, and upcoming trip to New Zealand on our vacations.

Based on your life, what advice would you give about moving to Durham?
Moving away from friends and family is hard but a place like Durham is truly a gem. Remember that you are choosing a location not only for the residency program but also for your everyday life as a resident. Choose a location that is not only fun to visit but easy to live in and truly offers the potential for a work/life balance. I moved to Durham only knowing my fiancé (a Duke IM resident at the time) and no one else and initially had the mentality that it would just be the place I trained during residency. However, Durham has truly become our home and our colleagues have become our extended family. Now it is hard to imagine ever leaving.

Chris KeithQ: What attracted the current chief residents to the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program and how do they like living in Durham?
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Q: During the whirlwind of interview season, how will I know which residency program is the best fit for me? And, do you have any advice as to what I should specifically look for/ask during the interview process?

Drs. Gregory and EohA: You spend three years of medical school trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow-up, and then you spend a lot of your own (or your parents’) money and frequent flyer miles trying to figure out where you want to train for the job you want to have.

Duke Anesthesiology was my last interview on my marathon trail of ten interviews, and I definitely saved the best for last. The residents at dinner were genuinely happy to be there representing the program. They enjoyed each other’s company and were honest about their experiences in the program. My interview day was a blur, but I do remember our former chairman, Dr. Newman, mentioning that the residents who trained here left with a certain “Duke swagger.” I wanted that Duke swagger! They say to trust your gut when it comes to these things, and Duke felt like home.

Fast-forward four years, and here we are, hosting the interview dinners and courting the applicants. We sometimes hear whispers that our program is “malignant” and that we are “repressed.” We giggle when we hear these words because that just means that our program continues to be a very well kept secret. We are trained by leaders and visionaries that inspire us to be our very best. If you are a motivated, hard-working individual who wants a world-class education and clinical experience, we hope you will join us. We’ll set you up for success!

We were both amazed how far the Duke Blue traveled as we both looked for fellowships and jobs that extended far from Durham toward the Midwest and farther South. With the mention of where we trained for residency, the faces of our interviewers light up as they remember and mention one of their many Duke acquaintances. Our faculty fiercely advocates for us on the interview trail and many of our co-residents continue to keep in touch with our program director, Dr. Thompson, for career advice or just a friendly check-in. The training at Duke is nationally respected, and the clinical experience here will prepare you to be both an excellent anesthesiologist and a leader, no matter where you go when your adventures with Duke come to an end.

Just remember. Stay motivated, study hard, and keep learning. Every case is a learning case! Don’t get distracted by the bells and whistles of fancy dinners, free hotel rooms, and trips up to see the helipad. Be observant and see how the residents interact with each other and their faculty. Ask who makes the daily resident room assignments, how are residents evaluated, what kind of peer-to-peer learning opportunities are made available, what are the resources for research, what is the OR experience like for residents, what kind of fellowship opportunities are offered and which fellowships are the program’s residents going into?

For us, the Duke experience has given us the clinical training to take care of the most ailing patients in the hospital while helping us to define our own career goals, participate in research, and learn to educate others. The weather in North Carolina isn’t bad either. Good luck!

Eun Eoh, MD and Stephen Gregory, MD
Chief Residents, Duke Anesthesiology Class of 2016

Guest BloggerQ: During the whirlwind of interview season, how will I know which residency program is the best fit for me? And, do you have any advice as to what I should specifically look for/ask during the interview process?
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Q: What advice do you have for starting residency at Duke?

A: Starting anesthesia residency at Duke is exciting! Our advice is simple and likely applicable to all residencies:

  1. Bring a positive, inquisitive attitude to work each day
  2. Arrive early and work hard
  3. Study daily (briefly) – bridge book knowledge to real patients
  4. Introduce yourself to everyone you meet; try and remember names
  5. Unwind, relax, and enjoy time spent away from the hospital
  6. Find a best friend at work
Dr. Ankeet UdaniQ: What advice do you have for starting residency at Duke?
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