Talk about the personal touch.
When Dr. Jeffrey Murawsky, chief medical officer for Sunrise Hospital, recently welcomed 107 new UNLV School of Medicine resident physicians, he not only greeted them warmly — he gave them his personal cell phone number.
He then repeated it several times so that everyone going through the school’s intern orientation had plenty of time to enter the number in their cellphone.
“Save that number,” Murawsky said, “because once you immerse yourself in your residencies, there will come a time, maybe in the middle of the night, or on a weekend, when you need some help or direction. It’s going to happen, and when it does, you can call me.”
He said his reason for giving out his personal cell phone number was simple. “Starting any new job can be a little scary, and especially for a job like this. These young doctors are very bright and extremely well qualified, but they know from day one that the stakes are high. There’s no room for error, so we need to be there for them if they need us.”
Murawsky was referring to the 107 new residents who last month began working in the School of Medicine’s partner institutions, including University Medical Center, Sunrise Hospital, and the VA Southern Nevada Health Care System.
Many of the young doctors moved to Southern Nevada from different parts of the country after graduating from medical schools including the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, the University of Connecticut, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, and the University of New Mexico. The latest class of residents also includes several graduates from UNR and Touro University Nevada.
For these new residents, the road to Las Vegas hasn’t been easy. Securing a residency spot at UNLV is a highly competitive process. For example, the School of Medicine’s internal medicine department received 3,700 applications for 26 slots, and OB/GYN received 530 applications for just six openings.
Dr. Kate Martin, the school’s associate dean for graduate medical education, said, “Members of the incoming class of residents are daring, different, and diverse. This group of individuals comes from near and far, but with one goal in mind, to become the very best physicians they can be — and they’ll do so while serving our community, hopefully to remain here much longer afterward, as many physicians tend to practice where they train.”
The residents will be able to enjoy some new facilities during their time at UNLV. Thanks to funding from the Governor’s GME Task Force grants, a resident’s lounge is being created. It will be a place where the young doctors can unwind, complete with gaming consoles, televisions, computers, and comfortable couches. There will also be an exercise room outfitted with treadmills and various exercise equipment for the resident’s use.
Cycle of Life
Meanwhile, graduation ceremonies were held earlier in the summer for 79 School of Medicine resident physicians who had completed three to six years of residency training. The long hours and grueling schedules they experience during their residencies often create a tight bond between the young doctors and their faculty physician mentors, meaning it can be hard to say goodbye.
The emotion was evident during OB/GYN’s graduation at the Red Rock Country Club. Professor Dr. Lawrence Shaw used his special brand of humor to poke fun at graduating chief resident Dr. Hillary Allen. He recounted how Dr. Allen grew into one of the best, most committed residents he’s ever encountered.
Each of the graduating residents talked about their time together, describing the unique friendships formed, how they relied on each other for support and encouragement, and —through happy tears — how they would pick each other up whenever one became discouraged. They also spoke about how important it was for them to occasionally get away from work and have some fun, taking hikes in nearby Red Rock Canyon to clear their minds.
They also praised their residency program director, Dr. David Jackson, for his compassion and consistent support. The residents described how they would call Dr. Jackson in the middle of the night with a question, and he would not only provide a thorough explanation over the phone, but would show up the next morning with several pages of text on the subject.
OB/GYN’s evening graduation ended on a high note when chair Dr. James Alexander provided an upbeat overview of the entire department, saying “our graduating residents are extremely well prepared for the next step in their careers. The future looks bright, we can’t thank the graduating residents enough for their contributions and we look forward to welcoming our next class of residents.”