Georgetown University School of Medicine
What are your career goals?
Leaning Cardiology now, but I've enjoyed almost everything I've done, so I would not be surprised if this changed. Regardless, I aspire to be heavily involved in medical education in whichever specialty I choose.
What did you do the summer before internship?
My wife and I took a western sojourn to hike/camp our way through Yellowstone and The Grand Tetons.
It seems that Duke did a fantastic job vetting candidates to choose those that were not only intelligent and driven, but more importantly compassionate and caring; people I'd want taking care of my loved ones.
Reflections on the Duke Program
What were you looking for in a residency program?
I was looking for a program that would not only provide with a surfeit of medically complex patients to take care of and learn from, but one that would also provide me with the supportive mentorship that would enable me to learn how to best care for such patients. Additionally, I was looking for a program with palpable resident camaraderie.
More, my wife and I are not city people at all. Therefore, I was looking for a program with a "big city hospital" in a smaller town.
What are the strengths of the Duke program?
The focus on education. There is a surfeit of talented individuals at Duke - from the nurses to the pharmacists to the attending physicians - to learn from on a daily basis. It's humbling to realize that you're learning from and working with some of the world's leading experts in certain conditions on an almost quotidian basis.
Another strength is the leadership and camaraderie at Duke. The program director really sets the tone for the program, and I haven't met one that cares more about the residents and the program than Dr. Zaas. The camaraderie aspect is integral and difficult to articulate, but it's readily palpable at Duke. Whether it be shooting a friend a late-night text about a difficult clinical question or decompressing after a long day, my co-residents make the more cumbersome days of residency so much better.
What are your observations about the relationships between faculty and house staff?
The faculty strike a great balance of giving us enough autonomy to develop as clinicians while also never making us feel alone. I've been really impressed by how supportive all of the faculty is. They don't treat you like cheap labor; rather, they really do treat you like you are potential future Duke faculty.
Tell us about your co-interns. How long did it take to connect?
We all connected pretty quickly. Within the first week or so, I already had found regular partners for tennis, ping pong, and running.
I'm constantly amazed by my co-interns. There are a lot of "Nicks" out there, so I'm always wondering whether Duke simply made a clerical error in accepting me into this class of absolutely stellar people. Sure, I'm impressed on a daily basis by their academic accomplishments and clinical knowledge. More importantly, however, it seems that Duke did a fantastic job vetting candidates to choose those that were not only intelligent and driven, but more importantly compassionate and caring; people I'd want taking care of my loved ones.
What has surprised you most about Duke?
How humble everyone is, despite the aforementioned accolades it seems everyone here possesses. I really get the sense that we're all here to learn together.
About Duke University and Durham
What's best about living in Durham and the Triangle?
My wife and I love the myriad outdoor options, from running in the Duke Forest/Al Buehler Trail to hiking around the Eno River, there's always something to do when you have a day off.
There's also an abundance of great, affordable food options in the area. I've spend a total of 5 years in and around Durham, and I'm still discovering new places to eat.
How does the Triangle appeal to people of diverse backgrounds?
Housing three major universities, the Triangle is naturally home to a diverse array of people and cultures. There are many different farmers markets, art shows, and music in the area. Our residency class is a microcosm of this diversity, and the class is always finding new things for us to enjoy together.
Where did you choose to live, and why?
My wife and I chose to live about 1.5 miles away from the hospital. While there's never really any traffic in Durham, living close has made it feel like I have a little extra time in each day to get things done outside the hospital.
Based on your life, what advice would you give about moving to Durham?
Durham is an easy city to live in, and there are an overwhelming number of housing options that fit various needs. I'd just recommend thinking about what's most important to you (a house with a yard, proximity to the hospital, etc.) and letting that drive your decision.
What do you like to do outside of medicine?
I love sports. I play basketball, tennis, table tennis, and I run regularly. I also love to watch sports, and my mood varies directly with the success of Washington DC sports teams.
I also like to spend time with my effervescent wife! She and I like to hike and train for triathlons together. Since she's a marine biologist, we have a medley of fish and a turtle as pets. I spend a lot of my time trying to make sure they stay alive while she's doing research periodically in Fiji and Belize.
Choose a place where you really feel like the residents and faculty care about each other and you fit in with the culture of the program, whether it be at Duke or elsewhere.