Education Residency

Learning the art of taking charge

photo of residents in dissection lab
Rhinologist Cristine Klatt-Cromwell, MD, demonstrates proper dissection technique for medical student Andrew Hearn, resident Stephanie Youssef, MD, and Sophie Gerndt, MD.
Judith E.C. Lieu, MD, MSPH
Judith Lieu, MD, MSPH

Taking charge of a medical emergency can be a stressful task. But it’s one that second and third year residents in the Department of Otolaryngology at Washington University in St. Louis have learned to handle thanks to completion of their annual Induction Course.

According to Resident Program Director Judith Lieu, MD, MSPH, the Induction Course was originally a course covering basic medical science. That basic science is now included with more advanced medical management topics that are taught during the school year core curriculum.

“The Induction Course provides survival skills to the junior residents, especially PGY2 residents who would be taking call by themselves for the first time,” said Lieu. “These are practical applications of what they read in their handbooks and textbooks, and are delivered by senior and chief residents.”

Rhinologist Nyssa Farrell, MD (right), guides resident Sampat Sindhar, MD, through her dissection while medical student Yongchang Jang looks on.

The course covers a broad array of topics, including voice and airway disorders, pain management, maxillofacial trauma, wound healing, billing and coding, and combatting fatigue. Each talk is overseen by an attending faculty member to ensure clinical accuracy. The course has even been expanded to include a discussion of how to be a senior/chief resident on call for the first time.

The Induction Course is repeated every year because there is a new PGY2 class and it’s a good refresher course for older residents as well. Being a PGY2 is a critical experience where they learn what it is like to be the only ENT doctor onsite for the entire WashU medical campus. There is always back-up in the form of a senior/chief resident and faculty on call, of course, but they are usually not in the hospital. 

The residents appreciate this tradition and the training it offers.

Residents Sabina Dang, MD (left), and Miranda Lindburg, MD, explore the benefits of image-guided surgery.

“Our airway management sessions have prepared me well for the calls I have gotten while carrying the difficult airway pager this year,” said PGY2 resident Stephanie Youssef, MD. “Failure to establish an airway can be life-threatening, so going through different airway case scenarios during that presentation was really helpful for recognizing the signs and symptoms of different airway pathologies, as well as the equipment and techniques necessary for successful intubation.”