Resident Roundup: Ashley Dougherty, M.D.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Ashley Dougherty, MD
Ashley Dougherty, M.D.

As I sat down to finish my notes for the day, I could not help but get distracted by the antics of Albus, my 90-pound German Shepherd. Alternating between quick, strategic licks and clumsily forcing his entire snout into the mostly empty peanut butter jar, he worked tirelessly to taste the final bits of creamy goodness from the bottom of the container. Eventually, he put his entire front paw in the container and then chewed on the jar until he was able to reach the very bottom, ensuring that he would not miss any of the tasty treat. He was content to slowly work on this simple task for about 45 minutes and promptly took a nap once he decided he had done enough work for the evening.

Albus the dogThroughout intern year, whether I was working overnight, during the day, or seeing patients in one of the local hospitals or at the Duke Family Medicine Center, much of what I was experiencing was new, unfamiliar, and unpredictable. One thing I could always predict, though, was the reaction I would get when I walked in the door after a long day (or night): Albus would grab his dirtiest toy to generously share with me and prance in circles until he felt he had completely showed me how excited he was that I had finally returned.

Albus’ attitude toward my arrival frequently reminds me of a short piece my calculus teacher shared with my high school class about the diary of a dog. In said dog’s diary, every seemingly monotonous change in the day was greeted with unlimited excitement. Re-reading the post, I’ve wondered what would happen if I treated the events throughout my day similarly.

Since recently finishing my first year of residency and transitioning into my upper-level resident role with more responsibilities, I would like to try and incorporate a more positive outlook on some of my day-to-day tasks, meeting as many tasks as possible with vigor and excitement. I’ve noticed that it has been easier for me to get excited about learning when my supervisors are excited and I would like to provide that same boost for the new intern class and the medical students I will get to work with as I progress through my training.

Oh boy! New learners! My favorite!!

Ashley Dougherty is a second-year resident with the Duke Family Medicine Residency Program. Email with questions.
Editor’s note: Duke Family Medicine residents guest blog every month. Blogs represent the opinion of the author, not the Duke Family Medicine Residency Program, the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, or Duke University.