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Resident Roundup: Beginning Residency During the Pandemic

First year resident Adrianna Gonzalez Lopez, MD, shares what it is like starting her residency during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Gonzalez Lopez is a first-year dermatology resident with the department of dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine in Washington, DC.

Dr Qureshi is a first-year dermatology resident with the department of dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine in Washington, DC.

Dr Friedman is the director of the residency program at George Washington School of Medicine in Washington, DC.


Dr Adam Friedman: Welcome back everyone to the GW Career Development Center, powered, engineered, and pushed out there by the dermatologists.

I’m joined by our fantastic first‑year residents at GW, Dr Adrianna Gonzalez, and Dr Azam Qureshi. I’m Dr Adam Friedman, program director and interim chair at GW.

First‑years, first is a big word nowadays because you’re tackling a lot of firsts. Adrianna, why don’t we start with you? What is it like being a first‑year entering derm residency, that coveted spot, in the middle of a global pandemic?

Dr Adrianna Gonzalez Lopez: I can say that it definitely is a lot different than I expected. I think dermatology on its own is a lot different than we expect during medical school. It’s definitely a lot of work.

There’s a lot of studying to get done, and I think the value of seeing all the patients we’d see during the daily basis is that we get learn from a lot of different patients, with a lot of different clinical conditions.

I will say that one of the difficult parts about starting during a pandemic is, definitely, we’ve had a little bit of a loss in the volume of patients.

We’re definitely widening the spots of patients we’re seeing to promote social distancing. We are expanding more into telehealth, which is a great resource and it’s a great opportunity for outreach for patients who can’t come see us in clinic, but I think there is definitely value in seeing the lesions you read about in the flesh.

That’s one of the biggest impacts the pandemic has had in our training is just a decrease in the volume of live patients we’re seeing, warranted we still do get great education from studying, and grand rounds, and all of our didactics, and all of that, but definitely there has been impact in terms of live patient visits.

Other things that have been impacted are things like conferences, where we typically attend with a lot of people, we learn from experts in the field.

Some of these conferences are being offered online now, which is great because we can watch them from anywhere, but I think there’s a lot of value in meeting with some of these experts in the fields and attending some of these conferences in person.

In the same way, our grand rounds, we used to get patients to come live and we would see them in person and then discuss, so it’s definitely a big change.

In the end, because there are so many efforts to widen our didactics, make it available to everyone and make conferences available to everyone, I think, in the end, our training will not be affected, but it’s definitely a hard adjustment that was not expected.

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