I am honored to be the one to kick off the Student Blog section for our NYU/Bellevue Core EM Website. The Free Open Access Medicine movement is something that is very close to my heart. It’s something that I dabbled in when I was a medical student and now use almost daily as a resident. The fact that it was born, nurtured and grown within Emergency Medicine only makes it that much cooler.

I like to think of FOAM as your smartest and most faithful friend. It’s completely transparent and unadulterated. It gives so much and only asks for you to be a part of the discussion. It has something to offer for people of all levels. Our hope with this section is to show the students of the cyberworld that they too have a role in this whole process and to hopefully inspire them to find ways to apply FOAM to their own professional and personal growth.

I thought I’d start things off by talking about the one thing that is on every medical student’s mind – residency. I’d be lying if I said that the whole application process isn’t a stressful one. It is, but to echo what everyone in your life is telling you…it will work out. The whole process is designed to evaluate for fit. And it goes both ways between program and candidate. Now that I’m almost at the end of my intern year, I have a great appreciation for that process. On my NYU interview day, reigning EMRA Residency Director of the Year, Dr. Jeff Manko asked me, “Brian, do you know what makes a happy residency director? …Happy residents? (I got it correct)” And he was right, if you’re in a place where you’re happy, you’ll flourish.

A little about me. I’m a Midwestern boy – born, raised and schooled in and around Chicago (obligatory shout-out to the NHL’s newest dynasty, Chicago Blackhawks…cue Chelsea Dagger). Considering that, how did I know that NYU/Bellevue, a place 800 miles east of the only place I’d ever known, was going to be for me?

I had the fortunate opportunity to rotate here for an EM Elective and to say that my experience as a fourth year was inspiring would be an absolute understatement. I walked into the Bellevue Emergency Department for the very first time in the summer of 2013. It’s a place that really doesn’t need any introduction. It’s masked in legend and boasts some of the most revered Emergency minds on staff and as alumni. While you would think that this would create a hierarchical and pretentious environment, you’d be completely wrong. With the patient population and volume, Bellevue is a place that doesn’t have time for egos – which makes it all the more appealing for outside trainees. On top of that, everyone involved from nursing to house staff all buy into a sense of humility and social welfare, which is only a testament to the virtues instilled by our fearless leader, Dr. Lewis Goldfrank.

My clinical experiences at Bellevue did not disappoint. My first overnight boasted a crashing asthmatic, several patients intoxicated with unknown substances, a de-gloving injury in the trauma slot and a reduction of a tibial plateau fracture to boot…all within a few hours. And it really didn’t let up all month. While this intensity and constant workflow would seemingly grind people down, it doesn’t here. People here are happy. It takes 30 seconds in the department to make that realization, and it makes sense…you have to want to be here, to survive here.

What I’m trying to convey is that while NYU/Bellevue will always have the history and mythos, it is always going to be the people who form its heart. The sense of community I felt here in that brief month was one that I found difficult to replicate throughout the rest of the interview trail. I felt that I was home at NYU.

Now nearly a year into residency, my love for this place has only grown. I’m always going to be a Chicago transplant. And while I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m now a New Yorker, living in Manhattan hasn’t disappointed and I definitely feel adjusted. (Someone recently told me that at Year 1, I’m still considered a wannabe New Yorker). Regardless, everything that I thought about the program a year ago has definitely been validated.

I would do anything for this department, just like I know it would for me. There are special things going on at NYU/Bellevue.

A lot of words are thrown out during the residency process: academic vs community, 3 year vs 4 year, trauma level, international and fellowship opportunities, procedures and schedules…etc. You will get TONS of advice throughout the process. The key is to find residents and attendings you trust. Identify the people who are the kind of doctor you want to be and ask them how they got there. Forget about names, and prestige. Look for programs where you can see yourself happy and see yourself contributing to the culture and community. Whether you are rotating here at NYU/Bellevue or at any other program of your dreams – be yourself, take chances and have fun. You’ve already chosen Emergency Medicine, so you can’t go wrong.

So, continue to look to us for resources, general questions and tips, and of course outstanding and free EM content. Welcome to CoreEM! You’re a part of it now. Good luck!

Edited by: Hilary Fairbrother, MD (Section Editor, Medical Student Blog Posts)