PGY-4 Occupational Medicine – University of Alberta
I’m Aditi Amin, a PGY-4 Occupational Medicine resident at the University of Alberta. I’m originally from Calgary and completed my PGY-1 to PGY-3 in Internal Medicine at the University of Alberta. My MD is from the University of Calgary; MPH from University of British Columbia, and I have BSc. (Hons) and B.A. degrees from Queen’s University.
Why I chose Occupational Medicine
I stumbled on Clinics in this Subspecialty completely by accident during my PGY-2 year as a (Core) Internal Medicine resident and am so glad that I did! After that, I completed a selective in Occupational Medicine at the University of Alberta and an elective in Occupational Medicine at the University of Toronto that confirmed my interest in pursuing Subspecialty training in this discipline.
I like how Occupational Medicine blends clinical medicine with academic medicine (e.g., research), public health and preventive medicine, regulation, and policy.
What does a typical day of clinical duties involve?
What kinds of rotations are required in your program?
Required (Graduate-Level) Coursework: Toxicology; Industrial (Occupational) Hygiene; Biostatistics; and Epidemiology.
Required Rotations: Occupational Health Legislation; Management of Occupational Health Services; Ergonomics; Industry; and Government (Workers’ Compensation Board and/or Occupational Health Department).
Other Clinical: Longitudinal Occupational Medicine Clinics.
Research: in the resident’s area of interest (e.g., Quality Improvement, Medical Education etc.) that relates to Occupational Medicine.
Which of your personality characteristics have been particularly helpful in your field?
What I really love about this subspecialty is that it allows me to blend my background in Internal Medicine/Clinical Medicine with my background/interest in Public Health in a variety of settings (e.g., clinic/hospital, government, private sector etc.) I also enjoy the ability to have a diverse work-week that can include patient/client assessments, reviewing complex cases/reports, preparing documentation, and developing/delivering teaching materials for and to a variety of end-users.
What are the best aspects of your specialty/subspecialty/?
Outside of the requirements of training, there is a great deal of flexibility to tailor rotations to your areas of interest. Each Occupational Medicine Subspecialist has a unique career and I’m excited to build my own niche in the field!
What are the most challenging aspects of your specialty/subspecialty?
One of the challenges is gaining experience in a lot of areas that are not a part of our traditional medical training. This includes things like learning about Workers’ Compensation legislation, interfacing with the business community, and understanding the medico-legal requirements and implications of the work that Occupational Medicine Subspecialists do. Also, depending on the economic climate and restructuring of corporations, securing required rotations in industry can sometimes be challenging to navigate.
What is one question you’re often asked about your specialty/subspecialty/area of focused competence/ enhanced skills program?
“Is Occupational Medicine like Occupational Therapy?” or, “Are you the same as Occupational Health and Safety?” Occupational Medicine Subspecialists do work very closely with Occupational Therapists and Occupational Health Departments. The Occupational Medicine Specialists of Canada website (www.omsoc.org) provides a great overview of the subspecialty.
Can you describe the transition from junior resident to senior resident?
The transition from PGY-2 (Junior Resident) to PGY-3 (Senior Resident) during my (Core) Internal Medicine training was a steep learning curve! What helped make that transition easier was the support of team members (Attending Staff, Medical Students, Junior Residents, Allied Healthcare Professionals etc.) and the encouragement of my PGY-3 friends in (Core) Internal Medicine going through the same transition.
The transition from PGY-3 (Core) Internal Medicine to PGY-4 Occupational Medicine was an easier transition to make. A few of my friends from (Core) Internal Medicine and I have a motto: “Once you’ve survived Senior Medicine, you can survive anything!”
Can you describe your experience with the subspecialty matching process? What resources did you find helpful for this (e.g. choosing electives)?
My experience with the Subspecialty matching process was relatively straightforward. The (Core) Internal Medicine Program at the University of Alberta allows for a lot of selective and elective time prior to the Subspecialty match, which is very helpful. In terms of choosing electives, the Program Directors of Occupational Medicine at the University of Alberta and the University of Toronto were very helpful in shaping unique experiences for me.
Will you be pursuing further training or looking for employment? What resources are available to you for future planning?
I will most likely be looking for employment when I complete my Subspecialty Residency in Occupational Medicine. Resources for future planning range from the Program Director to rotation preceptors and networking opportunities on rotation or at Conferences.
What are your academic interests (e.g. leadership activities, research)?
Leadership: I am currently involved in leadership initiatives focused on Resident and Physician Wellness and Resilience through committee-work at the University of Alberta and with the Resident Doctors’ of Canada.
Research: My current research interests are in the areas of quality improvement and medical education.
What is your work-life balance like, and how do you achieve this?
Interests/hobbies: I enjoy summer outdoor activities (e.g. hiking) and winter outdoor activities (e.g. downhill and cross-country skiing) with my family and friends. I also enjoy traveling with family and friends at every available opportunity! I am recently starting to reconnect with my passions in the performing arts (e.g. piano and singing) that had to take a backseat during my medical training, in addition to doing more non-medicine related reading and writing, in my personal time.
Relationships: My husband and family have been incredibly supportive and have kept me motivated through my Residency journey. I also have a great group of friends, both inside and outside of medicine, which also help keep me grounded. They are a wonderful source of inspiration and encouragement.
Resilience strategies: I am working on integrating mindfulness and reintegrating more physical activity for better work-life balance.