Resident Name: Anna Stoupine
1) What residency program are you at, and what year are you?
I am a first-year resident at Montefiore Mount Vernon.
2) What are your thoughts on completing a fellowship versus going straight into practice after residency graduation?
I believe the decision to complete a fellowship after residency depends on what is right for you and what you wish to accomplish with your career! Whether you choose to build your acumen or explore a subspecialty of interest, a fellowship may be beneficial in directing you towards success by perfecting skills, providing invaluable connections and opening opportunities that may have been otherwise unobtainable. Knowledge is power. However, how you choose to obtain it and use it is your responsibility. Whether you gain knowledge from fellowship or on your own through literature and practice, be committed to it and remember that it is a privilege.
3) What is the best part of residency, in your opinion?
The most memorable parts of residency are the moments you make a difference in someone’s life. When you gain a patient’s trust and they thank you wholeheartedly, that experience is truly unforgettable and the most meaningful. When you have an amazing team of colleagues that work collectively to reach the same goals, that’s what’s best; being part of something bigger than yourself.
4) What is your surgical case volume and type in a typical week at your program?
Surgical cases vary from week to week depending on the patients that come through the ED, wound care, and clinic. We are also privileged to scrub into cases at two surgical centers and with an orthopod for more elective cases. Several days of the week are devoted to surgical cases.
5) If you had to pick again, would you pick podiatry and your program?
I am grateful to be in a program that supports my goals and invests in ensuring I am in a positive learning environment.
Podiatry is a special field unlike any other in medicine. It is relentless; it is powerful; it is ever-changing and challenging. Podiatry allows you to be creative and hands-on. It is essential for all of our patients. It is for all these reasons that I am proud to be in podiatry and love the community I have become a part of. I am grateful to be in a program that supports my goals and invests in ensuring I am in a positive learning environment. I know I have picked the right program for me because I know I am being guided into becoming the practicing podiatrist I want to be.
6) What advice do you have for a (4th year) podiatry student?
Stay true to your beliefs, aspirations and end goals. It’s okay to not know exactly what you want to do in podiatry and in life. Things are always changing, and what you think now may not be what you think later. Just remember to believe in yourself and follow your heart.
7) What is your favorite surgery?
For most programs, intern-year is centered on adjusting to a steep learning curve and feeling comfortable with basic dissection skills and surgical techniques. Performing “dirty” cases are the usual; although they are not the prettiest, they have become the most rewarding because you know that sometimes it is a matter of saving someone’s limb. As such, I have grown to appreciate surgically treating osteomyelitis in the calcaneus through the Silo technique and am always thinking of how we can give a better prognosis for patients with extensive osteomyelitis.
8) What has been your favorite outside rotation?
It could be debatable whether or not wound care is considered an outside rotation, but I believe it deserves some spotlight. Working in the wound care center has changed my notion of wound care—it is almost an art form. I am proud to be part of a team of residents, attendings, and nurses that care for our patients so diligently. I am also proud of patients that are compliant and show up week after week and put in the work to help us heal their ulcers. It has really been a humbling experience, and I encourage everyone to spend some time in a wound care center to experience it for themselves!
9) What do you see for your future practice setting/case type? Has this changed since you were a student?
I have always envisioned myself working in a practice offering preventative podiatric care and performing surgeries every week. This general idea has not changed much since being a student, but it has changed in the depth of meaning and purpose. The more I am involved in residency, the more I wish to continue to be involved even after graduation. I hope to help train the next residents and would like to propel our field by being involved in research.
10) Finally, everyone is constantly learning, and new information is more available now than ever before. When you’re finding that things you’ve done or learned in the past are not correct, how do you respond to this?
Accept that flaws are only natural and in turn, make it better. Mistakes are part of everyone’s learning experience. Take the time to research, advise your mentors, and come up with your own outcomes. It’s the best way to learn and always sticks in your memory. Always remember to be forgiving—we all start somewhere.
by Tiffany Cerda
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