I first came to WashU as a visiting medical student from Lebanon to complete a rotation in the different anesthesia subspecialties. During that time, I found myself among a great group of residents, who were happy and satisfied with their training. I admired the open and inclusive learning environment, as well as the interaction between the residents and faculty. After my positive experience as a medical student, I was determined to pursue a residency at WashU. Today, as I approach the end of my intern year, I could not be happier with my decision to train here!
Needless to say, WashU and its affiliated hospitals, namely Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, serve as tertiary referral centers and rank among the top hospitals in the US. I feel reassured knowing that during my residency I will be well exposed to a vast number of cases including the complicated and rare ones.
What really makes WashU unique is the nurturing culture and community of the faculty and staff who are not only committed to our education and success, but also care about our well-being.
Over the past year and despite being an off-service intern, I have felt that I belong to a department that puts our needs first. They constantly made sure that we were not being overworked and that our concerns were heard and addressed in a timely manner. We were also included in all of the department’s events and gatherings allowing us to meet and bond with other residents and faculty.
As for my intern year, I would describe it as the perfect balance between demanding rotations and rather easier ones, such as the Simulation month during which we had enough time to study and take our Step 3 test. At the beginning, I was nervous about the transition between medical school and residency. However, the support and patience of the faculty and residents in the different departments we rotate in, as well as the various resources that are always available, gave me a chance to learn, grow, and challenge myself while feeling safe. It was indeed a “steep learning curve,” as we were told, yet the knowledge I had gained from the various departments (medicine, surgery, ED, SICU, CTICU…) has made me a well-rounded resident ready for my CA-1 year.
The department has also supported my interest in research by funding my trip to the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) conference where I presented my work during intern year. They have also helped me connect with research mentors, even though I am not on the research track!
When it comes to living in St. Louis, my husband has recently moved here, and we both really like it – a special shout-out to my number one supporter for leaving everything behind to be with me! We live in Central West End across the street from Forest Park, and I enjoy walking to work every day. We also enjoy biking in that beautiful park and to downtown St. Louis. On top of that, St. Louis is a very affordable city to live in, and you can always find something to do here or a new place to discover. We did travel several times to see our families and friends on both coasts during my long weekends which is one of the perks of living in the midwest.
Finally, moving to a new country and starting residency at the same time were definitely challenging, to say the least. I will always be grateful for the support of my family and school back home.
Being an international medical graduate, I was worried about being able to fit in. WashU; however, is home for people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
I have met some great people from different specialties and have made some very close friends over the past year. In fact, as I become the anesthesiologist I aspire to be, I feel very privileged to call WashU my new home!
Dima El Halawani Aladdin, MD
BS: Lebanese American University ’14
MD: Gilbert and Rose-Marie Chagoury SOM, Lebanese American University ’18