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Resident Spotlight: Jason Bethea, MD

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Jason Bethea, MD, is the subject of this week’s resident spotlight. In this interview, he talks about his work as a second-year resident, being married to a fellow Duke resident, and exploring national parks from Zion National Park to the Grand Canyon. 

How did you first get interested in medicine? How did you decide to specialize in neurology?
I first became interested in medicine after volunteering at a local hospital. Along with my interest in science and biology, I felt that medicine might be the best fit. It may have been unwise of me but from that point forward I never really looked into any other career opportunities.

I actually did not develop interest in neurology until 3rd year of medical school after completing a vascular neurology and NICU elective. I was always intrigued by neuroanatomy but had not entertained the thought of pursuing a career in neurology until that time. I consistently enjoyed reading and learning Neurology/neuroanatomy and it was the one specialty I could see myself in for a lifelong career.

What are your responsibilities as a PGY-2 resident? What does a typical day for you look like?
It varies depending on the rotation. For the stroke and general neurology inpatient teams, it is my responsibility to oversee the team and make certain all tasks are completed in a timely manner. On the consult/night float service, one typically will find to be very busy with occasional lulls but it is fun when you get an interesting case. The most important responsibility is teamwork. We should all be working together for patient care and I appreciate that my colleagues are excellent with teamwork.

What areas of interest do you have within neurology?
If I had to be pinned down…I would choose stroke. However, I have not been exposed to EEG, EMG and other sub-specialties to make a decisions just yet.

Your wife, Jace, is an anesthesiology resident at Duke. What is it like being married to a fellow resident? What advice do you have for other couples who are both dealing with busy schedules?
Being married to another resident has its advantages and disadvantages. I find it helpful to have a spouse who understands why you have to work so much. She is very supportive. However, the weeks when you are on opposite schedules are really challenging but we get through it. The best advice I have for other couples in similar situations is to communicate and to support each other through difficult times.

What do you plan on doing after completing your residency?
I will likely complete a fellowship and then stay in the area for work.

What passions or hobbies do you have outside of the Department?
My wife and I love to hike, camp and really anything that keeps us outdoors. We frequent the local state parks and love western North Carolina. We recently took a trip to visit Zion National Park, Bryce Canyons and the Grand Canyon; all three offered amazing views and great weather.