February 13, 2024

Thank a Resident and Fellow Day is Feb. 23

Friday, Feb. 23, is Thank a Resident Day, an annual opportunity to celebrate these physicians in training at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s 1,224 resident and fellow physicians are an integral part of the health care team, providing patient care throughout their training while also serving as indispensable resources for medical students and other team members.

Friday, Feb. 23, is Thank a Resident Day, an annual opportunity to celebrate these physicians in training. In 2018, the Gold Humanism Honor Society decided to bring to light the importance of the residency staff and encourage medical students at chapters throughout the nation to show their gratitude and appreciation. Thank a Resident Day has since expanded to hundreds of institutions around the country. At VUMC, residents and fellows will be celebrated throughout the week of Feb. 19-23.

“By celebrating residents and fellows, we celebrate their contributions to our patients at VUMC today as well as their commitments to patients of the future. I’m invested in supporting them in their training for a lot of reasons, one of those being that they’ll be caring for me and you and everybody else in the years to come. That deserves celebration,” said Kyla Terhune, MD, MBA, Senior Vice President for Educational Affairs and associate dean for Graduate Medical Education (GME).

Residency training can last from three to seven years, with fellowship and research adding additional years, depending on a physician’s chosen specialty and pathway.

Some residents bring a wealth of experience to the job based on experiences they had prior to entering medical school. Frank Parisi, MD, for example, graduated from the United States Naval Academy and was commissioned into the Marine Corps in 2004. As an AV-8B Harrier Attack pilot with Marine Attack Squadron 542, Parisi deployed twice with the 22nd and 31st Marine Expeditionary Units, learning the importance of teamwork, the value of attention to detail, and the focus and situational awareness required to operate aboard the dynamic environment of an amphibious aircraft carrier.

As a leader of Marines and sailors, he focused on the welfare and care of those in his charge, and as a second-year emergency medicine resident he finds joy in meeting his patients and hopes that with each patient encounter he can take what may be the worst day of their lives and make it better.

“I think it’s important to walk through the doors of the hospital each day with grace and humility. Taking care of sick patients, when they are often at a critical phase in their health journey, requires an appreciation and understanding that absolutely nothing happens in the hospital without the entire team,” Parisi said. “As residents, we often function simultaneously as learners and leaders within those teams. As we all interact with each other throughout the day, it’s important to remember that we are all striving to achieve the same goal, which is to care for our patients in the best way possible.”

Their contributions continue at VUMC in their roles as active leaders. As a co-chair of the Vanderbilt House Staff Advisory Council with Melis Sahinoz, MD, and Austin Tipold, MD, Joseph Nowatzke, MD, a cardiology fellow, says it’s been great to see what goes on behind the scenes of all the GME programs.

“There are so many different stakeholders and perspectives that VUMC and GME need to consider when making institutional-level decisions. One of our responsibilities was assigning residents and fellows to institutional committees, which was really rewarding to ensure their voices were heard,” he said.

“Fellowship has been a continuation of our roles in residency. The skills we developed as a resident have served as a foundation to continue to build up cardiology specific information.”

Time spent during residency and fellowship is built also on collaboration. First-year internal medicine resident, graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and a former Division 1 athlete Marjorie Butler, MD, recalls the support she received in July 2023 when she worked her first shift as a new intern.

“I experienced the collaborative culture on my first shift of residency. I was on July 1st crossover, under the wings of more senior residents Chandler Montgomery, MD, Leonard Chiu, MD, and Erin Causey, MD. They were there with me every step of the way for questions and troubleshooting,” Butler said. “I also recall feeling equally supported by my co-interns. I was surrounded by support, and I still feel that same team camaraderie each day.

“There are so many examples of how collaboration happens in our community every day. I hope that on Thank a Resident Day we all find the time to appreciate all the people around us who bring to life the graduate medical experience. “Collectively, we are so much more than any of us individually,” Butler said.

If you would like to express your appreciation for VUMC’s outstanding residents and fellows on Feb. 23, please share your photos on your social channel and tag @VanderbiltHealth or @vumcchildren on Instagram, and @VUMChealth, @VUMC_Discoveries or @VUMCchildren on Twitter.