Transitioning Into New Roles

by Justine Ly, MD

On my first day as a second-year resident I had to correct myself when introducing myself to the new team, as the phrase, “I’m Justine the intern” was still habit. Re-introducing myself as a second-year resident came with the rude awakening that there were new responsibilities and expectations upon me. It did not feel much had changed from June 30th when I was still an intern to July 1st when I was all of a sudden a second-year resident. I was also worried if I could support and answer questions the same way my seniors had done for me. The imposter syndrome of being a second-year overwhelmed me, especially because I was on a new rotation in a specialty we did not have exposure to in our residency. I still felt like an intern,  learning how to navigate the workflow of my new team and treating a breadth of diagnoses I had little exposure to prior.

However, when I returned to our Family Medicine Service as a senior, it was a good reminder that I had grown since starting my intern year.  I did know how to navigate most protocols; I could remind the medical students what should be on their differential for a chief complaint; and I could teach the interns how to put in certain orders. And when I did not know the answer to something, my interns and I could do research together, in addition to asking the assistance of the attending. It was humbling to return to our medicine service, because there was still much of the medicine to be reminded of and continue to learn.

Transitions are always daunting. With each step forward in our career, we will continue to have more responsibilities and expectations placed upon us. However, that does not mean we have to take that one giant step into our new roles in one fell swoop. There will always be a learning curve to a new role, and we should take on our new role a day at a time- continuing to try and grow into our role a little more than the day before. As I continue with my training, I hope I can remind myself that grace is still allowed in new roles- even if I am no longer the intern.

Dr. Justine Ly was born and raised in the Chicagoland area and is the daughter of Chinese-Vietnamese refugees. She ventured to Cleveland to receive her undergraduate degree in Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Ly returned home for medical school at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. During medical school, she took time off to be a product manager at a medical start-up company working on remote patient monitoring for heart failure patients. Her medical interests include full-spectrum medicine and addressing healthcare inequity in underserved populations. She chose the University of Utah because of the supportive faculty and residents, the unique opportunity to work with a large refugee population, and the culture of openness towards innovation in healthcare delivery. When she’s not in the hospital, Dr. Ly enjoys snowboarding, hiking, reading, and rooting for the Chicago Bulls.

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