Name: Kristen Welch, MD
Hometown: Mentor, OH
Medical School: Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine
Professional Interest: Global health, Hematology/oncology
RESIDENCY PROGRAM EXPERIENCE
What was the most inspirational thing you witnessed while working at the hospital? I took care of a patient who became a hospice patient during my rotation. His whole family came in and were with him as he was passing. They talked, sang songs, and just held him. It was really beautiful.
One thing I wish I knew before starting the Residency Program is it’s not as scary as I thought it would be. And ***spoiler*** it’s actually fun most of the time! Obviously there will be days when things don’t go well, you have difficult patients, someone yells at you, you’re exhausted, etc. But the majority of the time you are working with wonderfully loving and funny co-residents, supportive seniors and attendings, and doing a job that feels really meaningful.
What was the most difficult thing during your intern year? Handling the goals of care discussion for my first admission my second day of intern year. In the MICU especially, goals of care discussions are crucial to delivering the kind of care the patient would want. I wanted to honor the patient’s wishes and give her family the discussion they deserved, but on day two I felt so nervous, inept, and inadequate. It seemed like a weighty task for someone so green. I tried thinking back to the doctors in med school who impressed me with their GOC discussions and copied what they did. All I could do was try my best. The patient ended up passing away, but her family sent me a card afterwards thanking me for the discussion and care I gave her. I keep it on my fridge now to help encourage me when I’m feeling nervous, stressed, or inadequate.
At work I always remember to double check the name before I submit an order!
At work I never wear uncomfortable shoes (clearly I won’t be winning any kind of “Most Stylish Resident” award.)
Favorite residency event? It’s lame, but Intern Morning report! You get breakfast, get to see your friends, and go through interesting case in a no-stress atmosphere. On crazy mornings it’s definitely a life-saver to just sit for a little while, with no pager, and focus on something else.
What is the key to making the best of this Residency Program? Get involved with things you feel passionate about! The advantage of being at a large academic center is that anything you have an interest in there is probably someone doing research in it, a committee discussing it, or a volunteer opportunity available in it.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given? To have the goal of everything you do be “to deliver good patient care.” Whether it’s standing up to an attending you disagree with, refusing a test a patient is requesting, or staying late to triple check an order, if that’s always your goal, you will never have trouble facing yourself in the mirror at the end of the day. Also, “be gentle on yourself.” You’ll make mistakes, get yelled at by a fellow/attending/nurse, or forget to do important life things. It’s part of residency. We need to learn from events without feeling bad, guilty, or regretful. These negative emotions will just hold you back.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE AREA
How would you describe Cleveland to somebody who has never been here? It has all the amenities of a major city, but is very easy to navigate and affordable to live in!
What neighborhood do you live in? University Circle! I love being able to walk to work, restaurants, and shops!
What are some of the spots to go to fall in love with Cleveland? The Art Museum, Headlands beach, Playhouse Square (get season tickets!), the nearby vineyards (Ferrante, Debonne, Gervaci), the Nuevo patio in the summer, and the islands!
Best kept secret about Cleveland is the great restaurant scene!
Your favorite spots for a quick bite around the hospital: Coquettes! You can have a cheese board and a glass of wine, or macaroon and coffee! It’s perfect!
A good burger: I don’t eat beef, but my mom says B Spot and my fiance says Heck’s Café. Don’t get mad at me if you disagree! The best veggie burger is Luxe (it’s spicy with chipotle mayo and hot pickles on it….yum)
Dinner with friends: Felice Urban Café- great happy hour menu with a cute outdoor dining area!
Shop: Eton - Anthropologie, Paper Source, and Sur La Table, need I say more?
A night on the town: The Flats! They have everything from a dueling piano bar, a bar featuring games like 10 person foosball, a speakeasy that has donuts, and a Vegas-style swimming pool club! What’s not to like! And you can take the train there from University Circle!
Cope with sleep deprivation: This is definitely one of the toughest parts of residency. My advice would be to get adequate sleep (7-8 hours) on every single day you can, since there will be some nights when you are on long call or an ICU rotation where it’s not feasible. Also having good sleep hygiene so the sleep you do get it good quality.
Get to conferences on time: Give your attendings a 10 minute and 5 minute heads up!
Avoid burnout: Get sleep, make time for friends and family no matter what, and remind yourself to feel genuine empathy for your patients even when you are stressed and tired (I remind myself when using the hand sanitizer before I walk in the room).
East Side or West Side: #EastSide4Lyfe
Staying in or going out: Winter: Stay in. Summer: Go out. Fall/Spring: Toss up.
UH or VA: UH!
CICU or MICU: Definitely the MICU
Lease or buy a car in Cleveland: Buy
Own or rent a house in Cleveland: Own! They have the Greater Circle Living grant if you buy a house nearby (aka free $$$).
On my bucket list: travel to all 7 continents! 4 down, 3 to go!
I can’t live without the news.
Bad habit: leaving every cabinet in my kitchen open.
Fun fact most people don’t know about me is I once flew a plane!
When I’m not on call you will find me probably catching up on sleep.