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Medical School, Check! Finding Your Niche? Hmm ...

Posted on Mar 08, 2018

They’ve spent years and years pouring through text books, experimenting in simulation labs, and, as residents and fellows, treating patients and diving into their own research projects.

They’ve hardly had time to think about the day-to-day of their own futures. How will they pay back those student loans? Where do they want to work? Would they prefer private practice? Do they want to focus on a specialty?

The opportunity to sit down and have these in-depth conversations with career physicians, lawyers and even financial planners is rare for a resident, but at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, it has been an extremely popular annual event for more than a decade. The hospital hosts two groups of resident physicians, those from the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine who spend some of their time at Tampa General Hospital, and those in the Johns Hopkins All Children’s residency program. It comes to about 30-45 residents total completing the programs each year.

“At USF, we have graduated hundreds of physicians and many of them choose to remain in the Tampa Bay area to practice,” explains Sharon Dabrow, M.D., director of the USF residency program. “We are always proud when they come back and participate in career night. In fact, many of our current residents rotate through specialty and primary care offices through our Community Continuity Clinic Program. It gives our residents the chance to work with community physicians, many who are USF graduates and are eager to remain involved with our program.”

Rima Sanka, D.O., of Advanced Allergy & Asthma Care, is a past resident and fellow who returned to help current participants. Sanka attended USF before going into private practice and appreciated programs like this as a fellow.

“Career Night is a good opportunity for me to see some of my old attending physicians and colleagues as well as connect with other specialists whom I have worked with in the past. I appreciated the opportunity to speak on the panel this year,” Sanka says. “I did attend as a fellow and I found it useful. I was encouraged by Dr. Mark Bilella’s success at starting his own med-peds private practice. As residents and fellows, we had very limited exposure to private practice,” she explains, defining one of the benefits of the event that continues today.

The goal of Career Night is to provide residents with as many learning and career opportunities throughout their residency as possible and the mentorship they can receive from past residents is invaluable. It also can help keep residents in the area, which offers multiple benefits to everyone in the community from increasing their health care options to improving the economy.

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