The Times They Are a-Changing

Volume 2, Issue 5, June 2017

By Amanda Polsinelli, MD

July is coming like a freight train. Just when we are finally comfortably cruising in our ruts, everything is about to change. R1s are about to run their own pod, fly solo and step into the SRU. R2s will finally take the helm leading resuscitations of the sickest in Cincinnati. R3s will go from leading in the SRU to leading through teaching and branch out on their own while moonlighting. R4s are about to fly out of the nest and into the real world. Lets not forget our new interns who will be taking on the biggest change of all going from med students to introducing themselves as “Dr.”

We have all proven that we adapt to change quite well taking on entirely new roles with new people while rotating through off-services. Some of us take these changes in stride. For some of us the stress is boiling on the inside with each new change. I for one cannot remember being more unnerved than I was for my first R3 step up shift.

Our anxieties may start to get the better of us as we take on new roles with higher stakes and responsibilities. Belonging to and participating in a thriving community has a strong positive influence on our resilience.[1-3] We are fortunate to be apart of a strong community and this is a plug to use that resource to its fullest.

Trust your training. The pod shifts, off-service experiences, teaching in grand rounds, and theoretic discussions with attendings have added up to a gold-mine of knowledge-base that you may not know you have until the moment you need it. When you find yourself sweating your next step up shift, remind yourself that you’re the best trained resident in the country for this new role; you’ve got this.

Talk to each other. For those that have gone through these transitions in the past, remember the anxiety that it can provoke and encourage those that are about to take over your positions. I remember Dr. Palmer was genuinely excited and doing a little celebratory dance for me on my first R3 step-up which defused my nerves and reminded me that this change was not a freight train to dodge, but a privilege to be embraced.


  1. Levasseur et al. Associations between resilience, community belonging and social participation among community-dwelling older adults: Results from the Eastern Townships Population Health Survey. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2017 Apr 25.

  2. Van Harmelen AL et al. Adolescent friendships predict later resilient functioning across psychosocial domains in a healthy community cohort. Psychol Med. 2017 Apr.

  3. Bonanno GA, Mancini AD. The human capacity to thrive in the face of potential trauma. Pediatrics. 2008. Feb.