This Friday, medical students across the country – including those at the UNC School of Medicine – will find out where they’ll spend the next four years during residency. Match Day is the first big step students take after completing medical school, and it kicks off the process of focusing their careers in medicine.
Nearly a year ago, Matthew Waters, MD, learned he matched at UNC for his residency in Combined Internal Medicine & Pediatrics, or Med-Peds for short, a program that combines pediatric and adult care. Waters is a graduate of the UNC School of Medicine and has been training with physicians and clinicians at UNC Children’s since June 2016. After his residency is complete, he will be board certified in both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics.
Dr. Waters reflects on his Match Day and shares a few highlights from his first year as a resident at UNC.
How has your first year of residency been so far?
Well, it all started about a year ago this week, and that’s hard to believe. It’s been a year like no other. For me, it’s been all about learning and self-discovery – the combination of honing your decision-making skills and the profound responsibility of taking care of patients has been really incredible. There have been some days when I didn’t know what to expect, but there’s so much support here at UNC to help you grow and provide the best care for patients.
What led you to choose Med-Peds?
I’ve always loved the thought of working with people from ages 1 minute to 100 years. I love working with children and adults – they both bring unique complexities to the table, and I like that challenge. One of the reasons I went into medicine is that I just love taking care of people in general, regardless of age. The Med-Peds residency really offers breadth and versatility in what you can learn, and it’s very interesting to see how care changes along the age spectrum.
What has been your favorite rotation so far?
I really enjoyed the newborn nursery – partially because I personally enjoy working with our youngest patients, but it’s also such a unique opportunity to connect with the hopes and dreams of parents from that very first moment. I worked nights over Christmas at UNC Children’s on a few different floors and that experience was very memorable. Nobody wants to be in the hospital over Christmas, but it was wonderful to see the outpouring of support from families and the community, and to be there for families in a difficult time. That was pretty special.
What’s something that you think makes UNC Children’s unique?
One of the challenges of working in pediatrics is caring for not only the child, but also for the family. So much of our discussions in rounding and patient care is centered on family involvement and coming to decisions together. That’s something that is bred into our thinking from day one. This helps us not only make decisions that make the most sense for the family, but it also helps us build stronger relationships and trust. I’ve only been here since last summer, but I’ve already gotten the chance to see so many of our patients grow and thrive – being there for them and seeing how resilient they are continues to be a really special part of our work here.