How to thrive in medical residency

Medical residency need not be a daily struggle for survival. Here are some tips in making the most out of medical residency.

  1. Be on time. Arrive at least fifteen minutes before you are expected to arrive, and always make leeway for unexpected traffic. Do not underestimate the power of arriving on time. It keeps you from being harassed early in the morning, and prevents you from being apologetic to those who were there on time.
  2. Get along with everyone. Be friendly with everyone, from the top to the bottom of the hospital totem pole.  Treat everyone with kindness and respect.
  3. Know your stuff. Residents and consultants want someone competent on their team who will be able to manage the patients well without too many mishaps. Read up on your patients and imagine how you might manage their case as if you were the attending physician.
  4. Do well in your exams. This goes without saying.
  5. Be a positive person. So you have fifty admissions that day? No problemo. It is not going to ruin your day. Learn to take challenges in stride.
  6. Ask for help. If you do not know what you are doing, it is best to clarify with those who know better. It is best to avoid any major documentation mishaps or patient mismanagement. Having no lawsuits against you is a great thing.
  7. Be useful to others. Assist the other residents in rounding their patients, following up laboratories, completing paperwork, inserting IV lines or extracting from difficulty patients beyond what is required of you. You never know when you will need their assistance.
  8. Write short but comprehensive patient notes. Write your complete subjective and objective assessment. Do a problem-oriented approach to diagnosis. Write down your suggested management, keeping in mind a holistic approach to care.
  9. Be meticulous. Your attention to detail speaks volumes on how you will manage your patients over the next few years. Always endorse properly to the next ones on duty. Try not to miss any drugs, dosages, dates. Make sure to have all the proper documentation, and to check whether the care you are giving complies with guidelines.
  10. Be humble and honest. Know when to admit your mistakes, and always keep learning from other people. Everyone has something to teach you.
  11. Always give the best care for your patients. Treat your patients as though you were their attending physician by giving optimal care. Be kind to them and treat them as you would treat a relative.
  12. Enjoy every day. Have a life outside of medicine. Go out, socialize, consume books and movies like most people. Spend time with your family, your significant other, your friends, and your hobbies.

All in all, be competent, compassionate, trustworthy, and humble. Chin up, you’re going to be an awesome doctor.

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