A Week in the Life (PGY1, Med-Psych)

A Typical Week for Lisette Corbin, MD


  • Lisette Corbin and her fiancee, Matt, standing on a gravel path in Sarah Duke Gardens
    Relaxing morning picnic and stroll through the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, which are free to the public

    Morning: This week I’m on the geriatric consults service at Duke Regional Hospital, Duke’s community hospital in North Durham. During our intern year, we have nine months of medicine and three months of psychiatry. The geriatrics consult service is one of several consult teams we rotate on during our medicine months. I wake up around 7am, take my dog Nova on a run around Duke’s East Campus trail, then get ready to go in. I meet my co-intern and attending around 9am and get oriented to the service. My co-intern and I each pick up a new patient, chart review, do a history and physical, then present on rounds at 10am.

  • Afternoon: Rounds end around 11:45am, and we head back to the work room for lunch. Since it’s Monday, we have Med-Psych noon conference, which is in-person at Duke University Hospital with a Zoom option for those of us dispersed at different clinical sites. This week, Dr. Josh Briscoe is presenting on dementia at the end of life. After conference, I see a new consult for a patient with concern for delirium and present her on afternoon rounds. Afterwards, I finish my notes, communicate our recommendations to the primary team and head home around 4pm.

  • Evening: I catch up with a friend on the phone then cook dinner with my fiancée, Matt. We improvise a spicy noodle dish with Lao Gan Ma, iykyk. After dinner I pre-chart on my continuity patients at the Duke Outpatient Clinic (DOC), which I have tomorrow afternoon, then go to bed early.


  • Morning: I get up around 7am and have a bagel, banana with peanut butter, and coffee before heading to Duke Regional Hospital at 8:15am. I follow up on my patients and then round. We have multiple 90+ year-olds on our service this week and we get to spend some time learning more about their lives.

  • Lisette's dog, Nova
    Lisette's dog, Nova, checking out a butterfly

    Afternoon: After rounds end around 11:30am, I finish up my notes then drive to the DOC. As part of the medicine residency, we carry a continuity panel at one of three primary care clinics (DOC, PRIME, or Pickett) over the five years of our training. We have clinic time primarily during our ambulatory blocks but also during our consult rotations. Many med-psych residents choose to work at the DOC because of its underserved patient population with ample opportunity to care for patients with co-morbid psychiatric and substance use disorders. I arrive at clinic around 12:15 and pre-chart for the three patients I’m scheduled for in the afternoon. I see my patients then staff them with one of the DOC attendings. After all of my patients have left, I finish my notes and head out at 5:30pm.

  • Evening: My partner and I take Nova on a walk around the neighborhood and catch up on our days. After dinner, we finalize our travel plans for our first vacation of intern year. We’re going to Oaxaca in Mexico!


  • Morning: Coffee, bagel, banana and peanut butter. I head to Duke Regional Hospital at 8:15am, see a new patient, follow up on my known patients, then round with the team at 10am.  

  • Afternoon: After rounds, I Zoom into the weekly psychiatry chair’s conference at noon. One of the med-psych PGY-4’s, Jeff Lee, is presenting “Untold Stories” a project he’s been working on the last several years to bring to life the experiences, challenges, and joys of DOC patients through photography and storytelling. Afterwards, I see a new consult in the afternoon and finish my notes and recommendations to the primary teams. At 4pm, I have a check-in meeting with our interim med-psych program director, Dr. Helmke.

  • Evening: Mid-week I like to socialize! The medicine residents usually organize an informal meet-up at one of the many breweries around Durham, which is a great chance to catch up and relax with my co-interns.


  • Morning: Ambulatory and consult weeks are good times to catch up on self-care, so I get up early and go to the dentist for a cleaning before heading into Duke Regional. On Thursday mornings, the geriatrics department hosts didactics, and today’s sessions were on the diagnosis and treatment of dementia. After didactics finish at 10am, I see my patients and then round with the team at 11am.

  • Afternoon: I see a new patient in the afternoon, write notes, and communicate with the primary teams before heading home around 4pm.

  • Evening: Both the psychiatry and medicine residencies have peer mentorship programs in which we are matched with a more senior resident based on common interests (clinical, hobbies, sports, music, etc.). As a med-psych resident, I have two psychiatry mentors and one medicine mentor which is great! Tonight, I meet up with my medicine mentor, Gracie, for a walk around the Al Buehler Trail in Duke Forest. 


  • Morning: We did it! I get up early and take Nova on a run before heading in to work. I see my patients and round with the team.

  • Afternoon: After wrapping up notes in the early afternoon, I have two meetings—one to get to know my medicine coach and a check-in meeting with one of the psychiatry-associated program directors. Duke prioritizes fostering connections for us from the very beginning of intern year to both upper-level residents and program leadership in both Internal Medicine and Psychiatry to ensure we have a smooth transition to residency.

  • Evening: There is so much to explore in Durham, but even more in the greater Triangle area. Tonight, my partner and I venture out into Raleigh to celebrate a friend’s birthday with mini-golfing at Par-Tee Shack, followed by Torchy’s tacos.


  • Morning: On ambulatory and consult rotations, we have weekends off! On Saturday I sleep in, then walk to Cocoa Cinnamon on my way to the Durham Farmer’s Market, which is open every Saturday from 8am to 12pm year-round. There are a variety of produce, home-made goods, and flower vendors. I fuel my plant addiction with a bunch of celosia flowers and a mother-of-millions plant. 

  • Afternoon: I like to spend as much of my weekends outside as possible, and Durham is the perfect place for outdoor activities both adventurous and relaxing. Some of my favorite things to do here are picnicking in Sarah Duke Garden, playing tennis and pickle ball on the East Campus courts, hiking the trails in Eno state park, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, yoga, and hammocking. 

  • Evening: Saturdays are great for exploring the vibrant food scene in the Triangle! Some of my favorites so far are Juju, Lime and Lemon, and Thai @ Main Street, but I have a huge list of places to try this year. Sunday nights are for relaxing with my partner before we start the next week.

Estimated average number of work hours per week: 40 on ambulatory/consults

I chose Duke because ...

… of the warm people. Residency is hard and I wanted to be part of a program where people look out for and support each other. I felt that this value was emphasized by the med-psych program at Duke.

My favorite thing about Durham is ...

… the pace of life!

My favorite thing about Duke is ...

… how genuinely kind and down-to-earth everyone is. 

My advice to prospective residents is ...

… to record a short voice memo on your phone after each of your interview days (or multiple times throughout the day during breaks) to reflect on what you’ve learned about the program and how you feel about the people you’ve met. I found it incredibly helpful as I was finalizing my rank list to listen back on my reflections and notice the level of excitement in my voice. At the end of the day, there are many strong programs clinically, so prioritize the places you feel happiest about. 

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