Reflection on a year of leadership: A Q&A with the 2021-22 chief residents

Dave Hutchinson, Nicole Premo, and Bill Mallett

At the end of March, our 2021-22 chief residents, David Hutchinson, M.D., Nicole Premo, M.D., and Bill Mallett, M.D., passed the torch to the next group of leaders. These residents provided exemplary leadership and enthusiasm during a challenging year.

We caught up with them to ask how they reflect on their tenure as chiefs, their advice for new residents, and their thoughts on the future.

Q: What achievements are you most proud of during your time as chief resident?

A: We worked with our program director (Tim Martin, M.D.), our department chair (Tim Morey, M.D.), and the residents to restructure the weekends of our nighttime rotation. This was exciting and one of the most marked changes we saw during our chief year. The alterations made by our departmental leadership were in direct response to feedback received from residents, and the improvements were met with considerable enthusiasm. To see the departmental leadership and residents work so harmoniously to improve our program is the greatest achievement we could have imagined.

Q: What is one highlight of your time as chief resident?

A: Forging stronger relationships with our co-residents was the highlight of our year. There are so many dedicated, selfless resident physicians who work unceasingly to take excellent care of patients, produce meaningful research, support colleagues, raise wonderful families, and build a stronger Gator community. We loved hearing their stories, learning from them, seeing their vision for our program, and being fortunate enough to represent them.

Q: How did COVID-19 impact your tenure as chief resident and your experience in residency overall?

A: COVID brought numerous challenges and with its effects came uncertainty, illness, and, at times, exhaustion. However, this was not all. COVID highlighted the resilience and ingenuity of health care leaders. Residents consistently stepped up to cover for colleagues at a moment’s notice, and we saw their altruism shine bright. Truly, some of the darkest hours during COVID broke forth to the brightest dawns. The adaptability we learned during the years of COVID will undoubtedly produce physicians with a flexibility that will be essential for long careers in a rapidly changing field.

Q: What advice would you give to incoming residents?

A: Residency is wonderful and challenging. Anything worth doing is difficult. You will be tried and pushed to your very brink during residency. And for good reason. It will make you better as a person and as a doctor, putting you in a position to help your patients and your community. Some days will seem like eternities, but as you look back, you will see how the years passed far too quickly. Live each moment in residency vibrantly and fully because those days will be life-altering, and you deserve to savor all the richness of this experience. Listen closely to lectures.  Ask all of the questions you can think of. Bask in the opportunity to make decisions and accept responsibility for them. Oh, and don’t forget to read more.

Q: How did UF’s program prepare you for your future career path?

A: Our training at UF prepared us not only with a broad array of clinical experience, but also opened doors for research participation, involvement in state and national societies, and numerous opportunities to hone our leadership skills. The UF faculty trained us to be physician leaders by increasing our autonomy as our experience and medical expertise grew. We are fortunate to have learned how to rapidly assess critical situations and take care of direly ill patients in a safe, efficient manner. These skills will be paramount as we proceed to fellowships and careers in anesthesiology.

Learn more about our residency program.