Source:

Tooley A. Tips for transitioning from residency to fellowship. Presented at: Women in Ophthalmology Summer Symposium; Aug. 21-23, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Tooley reports no financial disclosures.
September 01, 2020
2 min read
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Peer gives tips for making the most of fellowship

Source:

Tooley A. Tips for transitioning from residency to fellowship. Presented at: Women in Ophthalmology Summer Symposium; Aug. 21-23, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Tooley reports no financial disclosures.
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At the virtual Women in Ophthalmology Summer Symposium, Andrea Tooley, MD, offered new fellows wellness, collaboration and professional development advice to ease the transition from residency.

Tooley, who is an assistant professor of oculoplastic and orbital surgery at Mayo Clinic, where she completed her residency, reflected on her own experience in her 2-year fellowship journey in New York City.

While adjusting to a new institution or city, new fellows should “be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” she said. “Everything is going to be different. You’ll get comfortable, but it’ll take a little bit.”

Andrea Tooley, MD

Residents have few spare moments for leisure, but fellows may find more time for themselves, Tooley said. In Tooley’s case, she began reading for leisure again, which she said, “significantly improved my life.”

She also advised fellows to reintroduce self-care into their routines: “Work out, eat healthy, do all those things that kind of rejuvenate you.”

While looking after oneself is important, so is looking out for others.

“Be the kind of fellow you loved as a resident,” Tooley said. “The best fellows are the ones that are always available to the residents, no questions asked. No task should be too small for you.”

Fellows need to “take ownership” with patients, research ideas, new techniques and in the operating room, she said, because “this is really the first time that you can be very autonomous.”

With autonomy comes responsibility.

“When in doubt, always see the patient,” she said, because even though fellows rely on residents, ultimately, the fellow is responsible.

As residents look to the fellows, the fellows should look to their own mentors by learning their best tips for billing and coding, and preparing for boards, she said.

“Study hard. Do not fail your boards,” Tooley said.

Tooley advised fellows not to “keep score” of the number of cases the attending physicians turn over to them and instead “focus on being the best assistant you can, because the best surgeon is the best assistant.”

In the operating room, Tooley advised knowing all the surgical steps before starting surgery and documenting the experience to reflect and create a photo archive for future research or presentation. Tooley’s notebooks contain photos, preoperative notes and postoperative reflections, including diagrams, for each surgery.

“It’ll serve you really well when you can flip back in that book and ... remember little tidbits and takeaways from every case that you did,” she said.