A conversation with Johns Hopkins Children's Center's departing 2013-2014 co-chief pediatric residents, Branden Engorn and Jamie Flerlage.
So, what most impressed you in your time as co-chiefs?
JF: The list of meetings that George Dover, director of the Children’s Center, and Janet Serwint, our residency program director, gave us was daunting. But we realized they truly valued us at those meetings and that we could effect change. Mentoring was important, too. There are so many roads in medicine now, so helping residents find their path and choose something that will bring them success is a lot of fun to watch.
BE: The experience confirmed for me that I want medical education to be part of my career. Whether that means teaching medical students or residents, or fellows, I’m not sure, but I enjoy the medical education process—developing and mentoring of people’s future careers, helping them develop a plan to get them where they want to go. Most of all, it’s watching that light bulb go off in somebody right in front of you.
Is the experience transformative?
BE: Yes, the fact is that interns we once watched struggle with deciding whether or not to order Tylenol are now senior residents running the hospital. It is fascinating and rewarding to watch them grow as pediatricians.
JF: In ways. It did give us perspective on how to effect change in a complicated medical system, where there are so many divisions and so many pieces. And going forward, that will change how I handle everything I would like to change in medicine. So, yes, it will shape our futures.
Did you learn anything about yourself in the process?
BE: I learned that your co-chief is going to see sides of an issue you didn’t see and help you make change more effectively, if you have an open mind. It often makes you think in a different light, too.
JF: I learned about myself, the qualities I need in my co-person, and that I don’t always have to see eye to eye. I’ve also learned I love working on a team. It’s sort of fun to divide and conquer after making good plans. You can make ten times more happen doing it that way.
JF: I’ll continue a fellowship I started in international oncology with a focus on palliative care at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, a leader in the field. I want to work in the international realm, to educate patients and help them get the resources they need.
BE: I’ll be here at Johns Hopkins finishing a fellowship in pediatric anesthesiology and critical care medicine. I enjoy working in the OR and intensive care unit caring for the sickest children.