Chandra Krishnan, MD, FASCP, completed his first fellowship in hematopathology at Stanford University School of Medicine in 2009. Although the workload was substantial, he shared his responsibilities with two co-fellows. He took the opportunity to look at every rare case and would confer with his co-fellows about them. Frequently, he stayed at the hospital until 8:30 p.m. That was fine because his wife also worked late.
One year later, his life changed dramatically. He did a second pathology fellowship in pediatrics at an institution where he was the only fellow in that department. Add to that, he and his wife had a new baby. Juggling his many responsibilities forced him to become ultra-efficient and strike a new balance.
“At that point, my goal was to try to learn one thing that day as best I can,” he says. “Sometimes, it involved learning about a case, and sometimes it was learning about subject matter I was unfamiliar with. I would have our secretary pull every case from that institution, and I reviewed them to see how a diagnosis was made.” Yet by 6 p.m. each day, he was on his way home.
Learning to balance an extremely hectic schedule has served him well. Today, Dr. Krishnan practices pathology at a children’s hospital. And, he and his wife have two young children who have an array of after-school activities. “Every day, my goal is to get all my work done and, in whatever spare time I have, I try to do a continuing medical education activity or a webinar. It makes you feel you can practice as a good pathologist.”
He shares the insights he gained with current and incoming pathology fellows.
“An incoming fellow needs to view the fellowship as a great opportunity to become a subject matter expert,” he says. “The expectation going in has to be that you’ll put in long hours and have the chance to do self-study in a litigation-free environment. There is no other time in your life that you’ll get a chance to review difficult cases in a litigation-free environment.”
For an incoming fellow, it’s a year to “hone your diagnostic blade. You will have so much educational material at your disposal in a collegial environment. It’s a great year. If you go into it with the attitude that you may spend a lot of time learning something so that you can be the best you can be, that’s incredibly valuable.”