About Ganaëlle Joseph-Sénatus, MD
A psychiatrist, a dermatologist, and two internists walk into a patient’s room. No punch line, just a close group of friends working together. That was an average day for me as an intern at Mass General Hospital. On my first day as a resident physician, I was paired with the most dedicated, eclectic, and supportive group of people, who in the years since have become so much more than colleagues. A memory that often comes to mind is the presentation of a patient to an attending during bedside rounds. Four of us walked into the patient’s room and pulled the curtain. The admitting resident proceeded to introduce herself and began introducing the rest of the team, only to get stuck multiple times when she realized that she didn’t know our last names, needing us to each rescue her in turn. Later in the resident workroom, we sat down and laughed about how we had known each other for weeks to months, had spent time together both inside and outside of the hospital, and usually addressed each other on a first name basis, forgoing the doctor so-and-so title.
There is no hierarchy among us, no difference between who is an internal medicine preliminary resident or isn’t. I have had the same relaxed, cordial rapport with my psychiatry resident cohort from meeting them on the first day of psychiatry orientation to working on the MGH Blake 11 and various psychiatry units at McLean Hospital.
Every few months, my two internist colleagues and I have dinner together. We light up about the particular experiences we are having in our respective program. I always reminisce about how one of them helped me place my first medication order as a doctor because I did not know the electronic medical record well. They speak about the many zebra psychiatry cases they see on the medical units and their superb collaboration with the psychiatry consult team. We smile about the day they will place a consult on a medical patient and I will be the resident on the consult liaison service receiving their page. As a PGY-2 in the Acute Psychiatry Service, I try whenever possible to deliver my assessment and plan in person to my emergency medicine and internal medicine colleagues working in the ED, instead of dropping a note or doing a brief phone call. The camaraderie remains with current and old friends.
Among my psychiatry co-residents, we are already arranging trips to visit soon-to-be and recent resident alumni who move across the country. Whenever there’s a national conference to attend, we check in with our fellows and new alumni friends to see who will attend so we can arrange a group dinner. Although I am not even halfway through my training, these friends are already sharing job leads and making the case for why I and other co-residents should join their practice or academic medical center upon graduation. Our ties remain strong because we are not just friends or colleagues: we are family. They are the reason I know that I could not have made a better decision than choosing to train here at MGH/McLean.