As a student at AUC, Page Yin, MD ’16 had two goals:
1) fulfill his dream of becoming a physician, and 2) enjoy the journey as much as possible. While he knew long hours of studying were inevitable, Dr. Yin made it a priority to minimize stress in medical school, and to choose a specialty that he would find rewarding for years to come.
Today, Dr. Yin is a PGY-2 psychiatry resident at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens, New York—his home city. We caught up with Dr. Yin for this edition of Clinical Connections to learn more about his career path and his advice for current AUC students.
Q: What inspired you to pursue psychiatry?
When you’re doing therapy with patients, you can connect with them on a deeper level and build a strong rapport. To me, it’s like the ‘old days’ when doctors could actually spend some time with their patients and truly get to know them. When I think of a doctor, that’s what I think of—someone you have a relationship with, that you trust with your health.
Also, when I was doing my rotations, I noticed that psychiatry residents generally seemed to have a good work-life balance and quality of life compared to some other specialties. I felt that with psychiatry, I’d be able to have a fulfilling career and enjoy what I did while maintaining other aspects of my life. For me personally, I knew that while I enjoyed surgery and OB/GYN during my rotations, it wouldn’t be sustainable as a career. As a student it was exciting to take out an cyst in a six-hour surgery, but I wouldn’t be happy doing that for 30 years.
Q: Can you talk a little about how you can avoid burnout as a student?
1. The biggest piece of advice that I can give students is that you can do everything—you just have to actually do it.
You can have a life, you can go out, you can study, and you can ace the exams. But when you’re studying, make sure you’re actually studying. You can’t go to the library for eight hours and be on Facebook for seven of those—which I saw a lot of people doing when I was a student—and expect to do well on the test. If you can, I would suggest you study the material soon after you learn the material. It doesn’t have to take long. People say they spend 12 hours a day in the library, but you won’t be able to sustain that kind of schedule without something giving way. Spend enough time to know the material and then take breaks.
2. We’re in a very stressful field, and it’s up to you to actively bring that stress down to a minimum.
Just like it’s important to focus when you’re studying, it’s important to take real breaks. Go out for dinner, cook some food, hang out with your friends. And when you’re with your friends, make sure you’re staying in the present, don’t be zoned out thinking about studying. I used to see people taking textbooks with them when they went out, or you could tell they just weren’t mentally there. It happens—trust me, I’ve been guilty of that too. But you can’t be neither here nor there. You have to focus your attention wherever you are.
3. Don’t neglect sleep.
Physiologically, you lose memory when you don’t have enough sleep—that’s when you consolidate the things you learn. It’s something that most people are aware of, but needs to be emphasized more. If you don’t rest, you’re not reaping the full benefits from all the hours you put in studying.
Q: Any advice for students interested in psychiatry?
I would recommend reading much as possible on the different illnesses and medications, as well as how to interview a psychiatric patient. Knowing how to talk to patients is key. Some patients can become aggressive very quickly. You don’t need to be nervous—just understand that it happens and be aware of it, and it will help you better serve the patient. If you can get through to a patient, they truly will appreciate your help.