University of South Florida

First Day: USF physician residents embrace their specialty training [slideshow]

Three words: Safe. Team. Commit. That’s the message Charles Paidas, MD, urged more than 230 new resident physicians to take away from their recent all-day orientation, their official welcome to the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine (MCOM).

“If you remember nothing else about the next 15 minutes, I want you to remember those words,” said Dr. Paidas, professor of surgery and vice dean for Clinical Affairs and Graduate Medical Education at MCOM. “These are your goals for your residency. Graduate as a safe doctor, be able to work in a team, and commit to your obligations of lifelong learning, your patients your peers and students, your department, and the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.”


The June 30 orientation at the USF Alumni Center and was likely be the only time the entire group will be in the same room together. The next day – July 1, the national start to residency training programs – the new-to-USF residents were deployed to the many clinical facilities and hospitals throughout the Tampa Bay area affiliated with the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

This year’s entering group includes 238 physicians, with 147 residents and 91 fellows. Of the residents, about half are entering their first year of residency. Called PGY1s (post graduate year 1), these physicians are experiencing the first day of their medical careers – they just graduated from medical school a few months ago. The other incoming residents are beginning the next step in their residencies, transitioning to a narrower focus within their specialty. Fellows have finished their residencies and are now conducting additional, more specialized training within their specialty. Fellowships are typically highly competitive positions in superior programs. While most of the new resident physicians are from MCOM (40), the rest are graduates of schools and programs from farther afield, including China, Colombia, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Mexico, among others.

The annual influx of new residents and fellows marks a significant moment for these doctors, but probably a bit more so for the PGY1s. It’s when the paradigm shifts, Dr. Paidas said.

“As a medical student, decision making was ‘virtual’ and practiced in the shadows of the care team,” he said. “Now, the responsibility shifts to the intern, or first-year resident. Although not completely in charge, the first-year resident has graded responsibility and team trust is earned and rewarded with more responsibility. The first-year is all about learning the drill.

“And it’s the very first time an office or hospital patient looks at you as one of their docs, begins to develop a relationship with you, and trusts what you say.”

One such resident is Lindsey Ryan, MD, a PGY1 from the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Her first day included making early rounds at Tampa General Hospital with a team from Pediatric Surgery.

Dr. Ryan, who is specializing in otolaryngology, said that USF’s program rose above others when she was interviewing residency programs.


“On interview day, you look for a program you will fit into,” Dr. Ryan said. “That’s a big thing. There are great programs all over, but it’s that extra piece you look for. I loved the program and the faculty here and I felt right at home.”

Fitting right in on rounds at TGH, Dr. Ryan walked in and out of pediatric patient rooms with the health care team that included more seasoned residents, a chief resident, an attending physician, a nurse practitioner, and a USF medical student. These are the first patients she is seeing as a physician, a realization she doesn’t miss.

“I’m having a very good day,” she said.

USF’s residency program has more than 80 residency and fellowship training programs with more than 700 trainees. The program is considered strong, Dr. Paidas said.

“It’s all about the depth and breadth of patient populations,” he said. “The USF affiliates attract a wealth of patients and provide the substrate for the maturation of the resident. Tampa Bay has historically been an attractive geographic locale. In addition, we have a superb clinical faculty able to balance their work with patient care and education. Think about it. Our affiliates include the Number One ranked hospital in the State, level 1 Pediatric and Adult trauma Center, Comprehensive Cancer Center, two VA’s, Family Health Clinics. Our affiliates give us an unbelievable depth of patients.”

This year’s residents and fellows totaled 238. About 45% are starting at Tampa General Hospital, 25% at the Haley VA Hospital, 15% at Moffitt Cancer Center, and the remaining are at various other sites. Internal medicine welcomed the largest number of new residents and fellows, with 73, followed by surgery, with 25.

Here is a breakdown of the entire group:

Dermatology, 5

Emergency Medicine, 10

Family Medicine, 10

Cardiology, 7

Internal Medicine, 73

Medicine / Pediatrics, 6

Neurology, 18

Neurosurgery, 4

Obstetrics & Gynecology, 7

Ophthalmology, 5

Orthopaedics, 7

Otolaryngology, 3

Pathology, 8

Pediatrics, 15

Preventive/Occupational Medicine, 2

Psychiatry, 13


Surgery, 25


Story by Sarah Worth, and photos by Sandra C. Roa, USF Health Office of Communications. 



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