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Life as a Resident...



Supervision is one of the most important elements of training.  It occurs at many levels and at all training sites.  Residents are supervised by attendings, psychotherapy supervisors and senior residents.  Supervision is received individually and in group settings.   Residents have the opportunity to choose their psychotherapy supervisors. There are many full time and voluntary faculty available for supervision, including analysts associated with the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Institute. Supervision is done on an individual basis for longitudinal psychotherapy cases. Group supervision is provided for Interpersonal Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Group Therapy and Family Therapy courses and serves as part of the didactic experience. Individual and group supervision is provided in the outpatient clinics for both psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy.


During the first two years at WPIC, there are two basic types of call that occur. One is known as DEC (diagnostic emergency center) call, and the other is known as floor call. The DEC call occurs in our free-standing psychiatric emergency facility. Overnight and during weekends, first and second year residents see and evaluate patients in the DEC during call. Second year residents take call in the DEC about every two weeks. First year residents take call on a rotating night-float system during their 3 block emergency psychiatry rotation (5 nights in a row, every few weeks).

Inpatient psychiatric and medical issues in the psychiatric hospital are covered overnight by the floor call resident. First year residents have floor call  primarily as two separated two-week blocks of night float (5 nights per week).  In addition, PGY1 residents will do about three weekend floor call shifts per month during their psychiatry rotations outside the emergency psychiatry service and while on Medical Care of the Psychiatric Patient (MCPP). Second year residents have floor call, on average, about once every ten weeks.

During their Consult and Liaison (C/L) Psychiatry rotation, second year residents rotate duties for C/L phone call overnight and on the weekends, coming into the hospital as needed. During the C/L rotation, they are excused from floor and DEC call. Third year and fourth year residents are free from call.


A formal mentorship program has been developed in recent years to facilitate a smooth transition into the residency program and into Pittsburgh. Incoming residents are assigned  Faculty Members to serve as mentors. Our Faculty are available and eager to serve as mentors. This program allows residents and their mentors to meet informally to discuss both personal and professional interests, with the goal of forming a mentorship relationship that can last the duration of one’s residency training. Read more about the mentorship program at WPIC.


Residents at WPIC have many opportunities to develop teaching skills. In addition to informal teaching on the inpatient units, residents are encouraged to be facilitators in the 2nd year medical student Psychopathology seminars as well as instructors for the 3rd year medical student Psychiatric didactic curriculum. Senior child residents teach core child psychiatry didactics to PGY2 residents. WPIC is actively involved in teaching new residents how to teach.


WPIC Housestaff Organization is an active organization with weekly lunchtime meetings for residents to discuss residency training issues amongst themselves. This time is also used for guest lectures and monthly meetings with the department chairman and service chiefs. Housestaff officers and class representatives meet with training directors monthly to discuss resident concerns. The Housestaff Organization also holds an annual Resident Retreat which generates suggestions for change which are rapidly incorporated into the program.


Residents at WPIC play an active and integral role in all major academic and administrative committees. Some examples of established organizations and committees on which the residents serve include:

Resident Housestaff Organization (elected President and Vice-President)
Class representatives from each year
Library Committee
Medical Records Committee
Utilization Review Committee
Pastoral Care Committee
Child Abuse Committee
Clinical Training Committee
Medical Emergencies Committee
Medical Student Education Committee
Psychotherapy Committee
Curriculum Committee
Journal Club Committee


Moonlighting is permitted by the residency program and serves to augment the residents’  learning experience as well as income . Many residents find positions at community mental health clinics in and around the Pittsburgh area where they serve as the primary psychiatrist. Other work within the WPIC system doing child psychiatry assessments, geriatric in-home assessments, or as primary psychiatrist at a WPIC community satellite program.  Residents can begin moonlighting in the second year of training.