Housestaff Wellness

Jennifer R. Bernstein Jennifer R. Bernstein (3 Posts)

Residency Program Manager Guest Writer

The New Inquiry


Jennifer R. Bernstein is a Seattle-based writer and co-founder of The New Inquiry. She has written essays and criticism for LARB, LitHub, Brooklyn Magazine, Racked, Pacific Standard, Catapult, and elsewhere. She is interested in literature, the arts, sex and gender, psychology, and medicine, among other subjects. She can be found on Twitter @jenniferrenu.




Resident Wellness is a Lie (Part 2 of 3)

My partner Evan’s third year of residency completed his trajectory toward what is commonly called “burnout.” Two out of the 10 residents in his class left the program. In an already understaffed department, the remaining residents picked up the slack, taking extra call and working longer days. The general misery index among his cohort skyrocketed.

February is the Hardest Month

Overwhelmed and exhausted, a resident recently came to me to ask, “Can we do something about call?” Defeat and despair had taken over his psyche. He felt unable to cope with the tasks of residency, including the seemingly never-ending demands of fielding consults, pages and patient needs. He imagined that the problem could be solved by taking less overnight call.

You Are Not Alone

The faint glow that is the light at the end of the tunnel hits my face as I realize that intern year is almost over. One would think that having been through the personal loss I have — losing two beloved older brothers at a young age — that intern year would be more than manageable. Yet this past year has been, for me, a chaotic roller coaster ride.

Dear NBME and FSMB, I watch HGTV more than Netflix: A Response to the Invited Commentary on USMLE Step 1

The recent ruminations of Drs. Katsufrakis and Chaudhry in the form of an invited commentary in Academic Medicine, entitled “Improving Residency Selection Requires Close Study and Better Understanding of Stakeholder Needs,” has garnered a significant amount of attention on Twitter. Drs. Katsufrakis and Chaudhry’s commentary was in response to a well-written and well-reasoned article by a group of medical students published in the same journal recommending the USMLE Step 1 transition from a numeric score to pass/fail.

Competition Versus Collaboration in Residency

Now that you, the reader, have become house staff, the time has come to change your mindset from one of competition to one of collaboration with your peers. The path that leads to achieving the MD or DO degree is one of often single-minded pursuit of academic victory. The competition has been fierce.

Doctoring When Someone You Care About is Sick

One of the trickier things to learn as a young doctor is how to navigate boundaries between patient, doctor, family and friends. Medical school teaches us that it is unethical to treat yourself or your close family due to a lack of objectivity that can affect judgement. It is fairly obvious why doing otherwise can create poor medical care due to blind spots created by subjectivity, hope, selective listening, personal agendas, and bias for a certain approach to treatment.

Nita Chen, MD Nita Chen, MD (5 Posts)

Resident Editor

University of California at Irvine


Nita Chen is an incoming neurology intern starting at University of California, Irvine. She spent her early educational years in Taiwan and thoroughly enjoyed wonderful Taiwanese food and milk tea, thus ruining her appetite for the rest of her life in the United States. Aside from her neuroscience and cognitive science majors during her undergraduate career, she holed herself up in her room writing silly fictional stories, doodling, and playing the piano. Or she could be found spazzing out like a gigantic science nerd in various laboratories. Recently, she graduated as part of the class of 2017 at Albany Medical College.

Pocket Doodles: My First Year as a Physician

Neurology resident physician Nita Chen, MD journals through her first year of residency in her graphic medicine column, Pocket Doodles: My First Year as a Physician.