September 28, 2016

Entering Fellowship after Training

As an EM/IM resident I found myself always explaining to others why I was training long enough to become a general surgeon when I could have been done in 3 or 4 years. It's usually associated with grins, chuckles and some self-deprecation about never earning money and training forever. The dual training path has led me to another dual training program, Pulmonary Critical Care Fellowship. As a first year fellow, not far removed from the interview process, this constant need to explain yourself continues. At some programs where dually trained physicians are commonplace, our skill sets are seen as assets to their department, however at other institutions where we represent the zebras of the medical field there was much confusion about my training path. Our path is unique and not one that is uniformly embraced by those who are unfamiliar with us. 

Ultimately I matched at a program that was a good fit for me, and probably not by coincidence they also have an EM/IM residency. From graduating residency and entering either full time attending practice or fellowship we are left with 2 sets of boards. At the end of all of my training I will find myself studying to recertify for 4 recertification exams. While I may have some stress in the months leading up to these exams, I love what I am doing and wouldn’t change my career choices. I’d encourage any other trainee who is considering a fellowship to do it, if it’s what they love doing. Ignore those who don’t understand your passions and do what makes you happy.

Andy Deitchman, MD

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