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Welcome to The Medicine Mentors interview series. Our mission is to create a platform for top physician mentors to share key insights, traits and best practices based on their experiences to guide medical students and residents.

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Feb 26, 2021

Santhanam Lakshminarayanan MD is an Associate Professor of Medicine and the Chief of the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Connecticut. He is also the program director for the rheumatology fellowship program and the director of the Rheumatology Fellow Journal Club at UConn health. Dr. Lakshminarayanan earned his medical degree from The Armed Forces Medical College in India. He then pursued a residency in Internal Medicine and rheumatology fellowship training at the UConn School of Medicine. His research interests include scleroderma, SLE, and the use of P32 radioactive synovectomy in refractory inflammatory monoarthritis. Dr. Lakshminarayanan serves on the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) subcommittee for medical student and resident education, and ACR New England OSCE program development for rheumatology fellows.

Wellness shouldn’t be an online course you take or a box you tick off. Wellness is something that needs to be pursued personally. Residents have so much work to do and overwhelm is a constant threat. Today, Dr. Santhanam Lakshminarayanan tells us that one way to promote wellness is to de-stress trainee’s clinical environments. Overwhelming trainees takes away their joy of medicine and when that goes, stress goes up and wellness becomes a real issue. Dr. Lakshminarayanan reminds us to keep our antenna up for our colleagues and ask them how they’re doing. While you don’t want to invade anyone’s privacy, you also don’t want to build walls so your colleagues can’t communicate with you. Be open and let them know you’re available.

Pearls of Wisdom:

1. When you choose a mentor, choose someone who is invested in you and wants to see you succeed.
2. When a patient walks in for a follow-up, you shouldn’t have to check the charts to find out how they are. Be observant during their first visit to help you remember the patient.
3. Patient advocacy is fundamental to being a physician. As a resident, if you notice the attending not addressing a symptom the patient told you about, speak up. Don’t be intimidated by the attending’s time constraints.
4. Wellness needs to be pursued more personally and be put in the perspective of the person and their environment. Also, when you’re working as a team, “keep your antenna up” for your colleagues’ wellness.