Stephen Perona took time off after finishing his challenging residency at the Veterans Administration hospital in Tucson. He was in Alaska vacationing with his wife and some friends when he received a phone call informing him that he was named the Southern Arizona VA Healthcare System Resident of the Year for 2010-2011.
Perona, who is a native Tucsonan, was nominated for the award by Amy Copfer, clinical pharmacist specialist cardiology/critical care at the hospital. She says, "Stephen demonstrated many qualities that a successful resident must posses during his residency training program. During this experience and his clinical rotations, Stephen proved to be reliable, hard working, intelligent and very easy going."
Nevertheless, Perona says he found the program challenging.
"The most difficult aspect of the program was the balancing act of the many requirements of day-to-day patient care with projects, presentations, and research. Achieving excellence in each of these areas, simultaneously, is no easy task and is certainly not a 9-to-5 job."
But Perona was not all work and no play. Despite his busy schedule, he found time to relax by playing racquetball, golfing and doing volunteer work.
During his residency year Perona worked on multiple research projects.
“He was our first resident to design and implement a truly multidisciplinary clinical trial," says Copfer. "His research in both anticoagulation and post PCI antiplatelet therapy will improve the safety and efficacy of these medications in our patient population."
He also excelled in training others. He took a real interest in, and proved to be a support and mentor to his resident peers. Copfer explains that Perona, "exceeded his training program and was advanced to taking on preceptor roles for other residents." She continues, "He is a clear leader and the type of professional that his colleagues aspire to emulate."
Perona's hard work paid off with superb benefits.
“I sharpened my clinical skills and knowledge, developed leadership and teaching abilities, and was able to get a great job working in the Emergency Department at Northwest Medical Center,” he says. “As a bonus I developed great professional and personal relationships with pharmacists at the VA hospital who are already leaders in the profession."