Surgical training, plus a great work-life balance
Residency is a challenging and rewarding time. At Texas Tech Urology, the rigors of surgical training are balanced by a great work-life balance, a spirit of camaraderie and teamwork among the resident group, and a commitment to mentorship among the faculty.
Clinical activities are centered at a single institution--University Medical Center (UMC) Hospital in Lubbock. Here, the residents work as a team to care for patients. “We help each other until the work is done," says chief resident Rob Grand. "Although there is only one resident per year, on-call resident is never on an island, and that is our culture.” Residents at Texas Tech are not spread out covering multiple hospitals and learning to navigate multiple health systems and electronic medical record systems.
The logistical simplicity of the program makes life easier for residents.
In Lubbock there are no difficult commutes, no traffic, and easy parking. Residents note that this may save 45-60 minutes per day that can be used to exercise, sleep or study—precious time when you are a resident!
While time demands of surgical training are significant, trainees need time for personal relationships, family, exercise, and hobbies. "In four years of residency, I've not missed any of my kids’ soccer games,” reports PGY4 Allen Medway. “That may not have been possible at other programs.” This is particularly impressive given that three of Dr. Medway’s six children play organized soccer!
“Our small size allows individualized surgical instruction,” according to Pediatric Urology Faculty Dr. Matthew Timberlake. “Without a cyclical hospital rotation schedule, we really get to know the learning styles of each resident. We appeal to strengths and target areas for improvement.”
Yet, for all of the logistical and balanced life perks, there is no trade off in surgical experience, case diversity, and volume. Texas Tech provides urologic care to a 200 mile radius, including the Texas Panhandle and Eastern New Mexico. Our patient population is extremely diverse, includes veterans, and often provides challenging, advanced clinical scenarios.
Resident well-being is further supported by a culture of respect. The people of West Texas are known for their grace and warmth, and they are quick to express gratitude to their physicians. Residents and attendings alike are referred to as “Doctor” by the faculty and staff. Our residents are our junior colleagues, not our subordinates,” according to Program Director Dr. Cynthia Smith, “We truly enjoy the process of molding the future of our specialty.”
Resident life at Texas Tech is truly collegiate with a balance between life at the
main campus and the hospital. I frequently bike through campus on my commute to the
hospital. My brother an undergrad at Tech also happens to be my roommate and we spend
our free time exercising at the Rec, playing indoor soccer with a plethora of students
from all walks of life. Many of my close friends happen to also be colleagues. All
of this easily makes this program an oasis in the vastness that is West Texas.
Jaime Camacho PGY5