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AAIM Member Spotlight (August 11, 2016)
How long have you been a member of AAIM?
Since 2003 when I became associate program director at Atlantic Health System in Morristown, NJ, when there was a leadership change. The program director required us to be involved and each of us has been going to at least one to two meetings annually ever since. We all look forward to the camaraderie we experience.
Describe your typical day.
I’m still an “old fashioned internist.” I rotate on an inpatient services unit multiple times a day and function as an academic hospitalist. When I’m not seeing inpatients, I lecture and provide academic outpatient medicine. I have a nice mix, which can be challenging but is rewarding.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I am a “mystery solver.” I consider internists to be detectives and I like solving mysteries, but I also love the people I meet. When I conduct rounds with residents they know that at any given moment I’ll give someone a hug. Establishing rapport with patients, residents, and students is key to helping them feel comfortable in any situation and to gaining their trust.
How has the AAIM membership been of value to you and your career?
I’ve met so many great people through the Alliance whom I can reach out to at any moment and ask for their opinions. It’s beyond networking – it’s the camaraderie and the back-and-forth for the benefit of each of us and the Alliance. This is especially true of the people with whom I’ve been on small committees – they are all over the US, but if I’m having trouble from an academic medicine standpoint, I can run something by them without any judgment.
A recent example involved our program’s clinical competency committee. We decided to make some changes to get more useful information to help our residents grow. We decided to implement some novel ideas, and when we got pushback from colleagues, I was able to share specific examples of how other AAIM members had created solutions to similar problems at their academic institutions with success. Ultimately, it was these examples of success that led to implementing a new style of involving residents in their own clinical competency process.
I have also had the opportunity to participate in the AAIM Executive Leadership Program in Cambridge, MA; it was absolutely invaluable. Without AAIM, it’s unlikely I would have learned this set of business skills and I feel more competent in all aspects of graduate medical education.
Lastly, it’s great to be giving back, and I am looking forward to presenting at the AAIM Skills Development Conference in October with other colleagues I met through AAIM over the years.
What's your favorite moment of your career so far?
I really don’t have just one. I love “light bulb moments” when a patient’s clinical mystery is solved, or when I help patients through tough times. I also find it tremendously satisfying when a medical student or resident sees how important internal medicine really is.
What was your childhood dream job?
I wanted to be an architect and zoologist. Later on, I wasn’t sure whether to pursue research or medicine, but then realized I needed to be around people - playing with mice in a lab is very lonely.
How do you spend your free time?
I don’t like to sit still. I prefer to be busy and I enjoy the outdoors. I’ll either garden, hike, or run near the lake I live on. I also make sterling silver jewelry and lately I’ve been experimenting with crocheting jewelry; I’m even selling some pieces in a friend’s garden center. I’ve also learned how to drill sea glass and am making pendants. I love being with my family, and I enjoy singing in a chamber choir weekly.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
My kids laugh that I used to race motocross (motorcycles). My dad and brothers raced and when they told me girls couldn’t, I didn’t accept that as an answer.
Jacqueline Darcey, MD
Associate Program Director
Department of Medicine
Atlantic Health (Morristown)