Colleagues cheered on Joanne “Jo” Marasigan, a second-year orthopedic resident at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, in a crutches/walker/wheelchair relay race. “Go Flo-Jo!”
Marasigan and 20 of her physician-in-training colleagues also competed in casting and suturing competitions, using medical guidelines, in an OrthOlympics, all part of a pilot program conceptualized by the UMKC School of Medicine to create a National Resident/Fellow Appreciation Day Feb. 25.
“It’s a great idea because every health profession gets a day of recognition,” Marasigan said between jovial competitions. “We get lumped in with other doctors but really, we’re a subset of doctors who work much longer hours. There’s a lot at stake here: a day off as the gold medal.”
There are more than 120,000 residents and fellows — physicians in training — in the United States. Called housestaff, residents and fellows work long hours, typically up to 80 per week, at a much lower salary than healthcare professionals who have completed training. Marasigan’s colleague, James Barnes, M.D., developed the idea for a national recognition day after seeing other healthcare professions honored.
“UMKC has over 400 physicians in training who contribute nearly 1.5 million hours a year to serve patients and gain practical experience and expertise,” said Barnes, the UMKC Housestaff Council President and event organizer. “To our knowledge, there is no national day designated to recognize this unique set of healthcare workers.”
As institutional sponsor of the residency and fellowship programs, the UMKC School of Medicine and clinical training partners including Truman Medical Centers, Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, Children’s Mercy, Center for Behavioral Medicine and Kansas City VA Medical Center are participating with catered meals, snacks, banners, gifts and special events to recognize the residents and fellows.
Various departments are celebrating in unique ways, such as hula dancing and yoga sessions for the Department of Emergency Medicine. Several departments are having catered on-site pancakes, and Barnes’ department, Orthopedic Surgery, held the “OrthOlympics.”
Barnes is also conducting a research project in collaboration with faculty mentor and Orthopedic Program Director, James Bogener, M.D., on the effects of the recognition and appreciation on residents/fellows. Barnes and Bogener are conducting a survey to gauge residents’ and fellows’ thoughts on the day and how it affects their perception of the workplace and their satisfaction.
This event has been made possible through the facilitation of the UMKC School of Medicine Housestaff Council and the Council on Graduate Medical Education. The UMKC councils’ goal is to present the event to national organizations including the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), American Medical Association (AMA) and American Osteopathic Association (AOA) to make Resident and Fellow Appreciation Day a day of recognition nationally for all residents and fellows.
“We are proud, but not surprised, that our residents and fellows at the UMKC School of Medicine conceptualized this important event,” said Steven L. Kanter, M.D., dean of the UMKC School of Medicine. “We look forward to celebrating their critical contributions as integral members of the patient-care team.”