Name: Andrew Harding, MD
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Medical School: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Professional Interest: Academic hospitalist medicine
RESIDENCY PROGRAM EXPERIENCE
What was the most inspirational thing you witnessed while working at the hospital? While on the code response team in the MICU I was one of the first physicians to a code blue in the Seidman Cancer Center. A patient with stage 3 breast cancer had arrested in the middle of the outpatient lobby. I ran my third code with a fantastic group of inpatient and outpatient nurses, clinic staff, UH police, residents, and staff physicians. We had been performing ACLS for about 20 minutes and the patient’s family had been having a discussion with the primary oncologist attending in the clinic. They elected to make the patient DNR, but at the next pulse check we achieved ROSC! We stabilized her for a bit more and then moved her to the ICU, where she was responding to commands and extubated later that day. It was a remarkable experience to be a part of this group of people who just clicked together instantly and worked as a high-functioning team to help and save this patient. Experiences like this one remind me how much of a difference I can make as a resident here and in the future as a physician.
What is the biggest sacrifice you have made in your medical training so far? So far during residency it has been time with my wife, family and friends. My wife and I are both in residency so we have had to really prioritize our time together. Residency can be demanding, especially during specific rotations, but you get your bearing and find ways to have the best work-life balance you can.
What trait do you most admire in talented physicians? One of the traits I see in my most inspirational and talented physicians here is their passion for patient care. A talented physician can have the knowledge and diligence to do their job correctly, but having the passion to get back to the bedside, talk to patients, and never lose sight of what is best for them is the most admirable quality I can think of.
One thing I wish I knew before starting the Residency Program is I wish I understood how much help is available at any given moment during residency. From the beginning you’ll never be without someone to go to when you have questions about management or work-life balance. I think I would have been much less anxious when starting intern year if I really understood that.
What was the most difficult thing during your intern year? Being an intern is about becoming self-sufficient (in knowledge, the workings of the hospital, knowing the EMR, etc.) For me, the most difficult part of intern year was simply learning how to function, place orders, and admit/discharge patients. Once you get those basics, the year begins to become easier.
At work I always remember to stay organized. When it comes to taking care of patients you need to have everything in order so that you don’t miss something. I make and run lists throughout the day to check myself so that I provide the best care I can.
At work I never shower. Our call rooms are great and have showers, but I’ve never seen them used.
What is the key to making the best of this Residency Program? Getting to know your co-interns and residents and making the best of your out-of-hospital time by hanging out with them! Our residency program tries to prioritize recruiting residents who make coming to work more enjoyable. Your co-residents are your teammates, safety nets, therapists, and best friends all together!
What is the one item somebody starting residency should absolutely invest into? A car is necessary to thrive in Cleveland. I’d make sure it has all-season tires as well (for the winter months).
What’s the best advice you’ve been given? One of my mentors who is an associate program director here tells his interns to go check on each of their patients in the afternoon even if they’re not the ones who they think are the sickest. You learn so much more about them when you’re not in the rush of pre-rounds and teaching rounds. You’ll pick up things that will speed their treatment and your patients will love you for it too! All the technology and documentation requirements we have prevent us from actually going back to the bedside and talking with our patients. We need to fight that urge to just stay in the team room.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE AREA
How would you describe Cleveland to somebody who has never been here? It’s a smaller-sized, blue-collar city with a lot of pride and culture that’s gone through tough times but has been undergoing rejuvenation for the past 15 years.
What neighborhood do you live in? Shaker Heights. It’s an East Side suburb with a nice mix of housing and nature that is close to the hospital. Also, if you have kids it has a great public school district!
What are some of the spots to go to fall in love with Cleveland? Our downtown district and its close surrounding areas are great – East 9th street, Ohio City/West 25th area is great. Tremont is another close by neighborhood with some of the best dining in the area. For those who like the arts, University Circle (right next to the hospitals) has great and most of the time free-of-charge museums as well as the Cleveland Orchestra (a real jewel of the city).
Best kept secret about Cleveland is the Cleveland Orchestra - it’s not quite a secret but it’s worth the mention because it is a top-ranked orchestra that is amazing to have here in Cleveland. Check out a concert if you are a music-lover and you’ll realize just how good we’ve got it here in Cleveland.
Your favorite spot for a quick bite around the hospital: We are spoiled for choice around the hospitals. Right across the street is a quick bite at the Jolly Scholar – it’s on CWRU’s campus and sports a bar and fast but good food. I’m a big fan of Little Italy – Presti’s (bakery and lunch) is a go-to for me. Luna is another great bakery/deli near UH. Also Barriofor alternative-style tacos is very close. We have lots of bars and full-serve restaurants around the hospitals as well.
A good burger: OK, so there are lots of great burger joints (and restaurants with fantastic burgers) around. Picking one puts me at risk of criticism but I’ll go ahead and say some of the best burgers in Cleveland can be found at Michael Symon’s B Spot (locations downtown and on the East side).
Dinner with friends: It’ll depend on how fancy or casual our moods will be. Casual places would be ranging from the Buffalo Wild Wings (for sporting events), bars like Masthead Brewery or Nano Brew (for trivia), and the Corner Alleyfor bar and bowling. There are so many full service restaurants that are amazing in Cleveland it’d be impossible to write down just a few.
Great patio: My favorite patio in Cleveland is Alley Cat Oyster Bar in the Flats. Great place to eat, drink, and watch boats. Runner up: L'Albatros - amazing food, wine, and cheese.
A night on the town: For my night on the town you can try the restaurants, bars, and clubs on West 6th street in downtown. Places include the Dive Bar and Velvet Tango Room.
Cope with sleep deprivation: It gets better over time and per rotation. Learning your workflow and time-saving skills will get you out of the hospital on time. After that, it is prioritizing sleep and time with your loved ones. You learn that you have to use the time you have outside the hospital wisely.
Get to conferences on time: Our program administration makes intern and noon conferences a priority for the education of the house staff. If rounds go into intern conference or noon conference, it is a full expectation to hand the pagers over to the senior resident and go to conference on time. I’d just say to have an eye on the clock during those days and 5 minutes before conference respectfully pause rounds and give critical updates to your senior and attending for your patients who have not been seen yet.
Avoid burnout: It is so easy to burnout if you don’t keep in mind why we are doing what we do. You’re not just repleting electrolytes all day. You are helping diagnose and cure disease, alleviate suffering, and teaching patients, students, and interns. Keep in mind that every day you have the opportunity to vastly impact the lives of each of your patients in a way that very few other jobs could.
East Side or West Side: Can’t go wrong.. but for me East Side.
Staying in or going out: Staying in.
UH or VA: The VA! I love serving our veterans.
CICU or MICU: MICU
Sushi or tacos: Sushi!
Lease or buy a car in Cleveland: If you know you’ll be trying to get back to a city like New York or Boston after residency, you may consider leasing.
Own or rent a house in Cleveland: Truly this depends on your personal financial situation. If you do it correctly, you can easily find an affordable house here in Cleveland that you can buy and sell to come out ahead or even after completion of residency. NOTE: as a homeowner myself, be ready for all the “fun” that comes with owning a house (i.e. why does my basement smell like sewage.. or why is there water coming from my ceiling?)
On my bucket list: getting a dog. It’s totally possible as a resident, but I just think it’d be unfair to a puppy to not have an owner around for a bit more of the day.
I can’t live without: time with my wife and family. It’s my number one priority in life.
Bad habit: I have the habit of going home and turning on Netflix. Next thing you know you need to go to sleep and all you’ve done is watch a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory and New Girl.
If you were given 3 additional hours a day, what would you do with them? I’d work out.
Fun fact most people don’t know about me is aside from watching the Cavs, Indians, and Browns, my absolute favorite sport is tennis. It’s definitely my favorite sport to play.
When I’m not on call you will find me usually at home with the wife, at a Cleveland sporting event, or out at a restaurant.