Transitioning from medical school to residency is an exciting but also overwhelming time. It’s the period when you’re officially starting your medical career. And that change can bring a lot of pressure and emotions upon you.
So, to help you prepare, here are five things you need to know about residency.
Your Residency: 5 Things to Know Ahead of Time
1. Maximize all opportunities.
Residency is the time to take advantage of every opportunity to learn – whether it’s reading through case studies, seeking feedback from others, or engaging with patients.
Learning during this period is much more independent and less structured compared to medical school. This means you need to take the initiative and be proactive throughout your rotation.
Take time to talk to the senior residents and attending physicians. Seek specific feedback on how you’re doing and how you can improve. Ask for their thoughts on potential pathways, whether within your specialty or in a different medical field.
Remember, what effort you put into your growth and learning is also what you get out of it.
2. Establish a mentorship.
Residency can make you feel alone, confused, and overwhelmed with the amount of work you need to do. That’s why it helps to have someone who’s been in your position.
Having a mentor is crucial in helping you reach your full potential. You gain knowledge and well-rounded experience – from balancing the workload to giving value to family and personal time. And when it’s your time, be a mentor to the junior residents.
3. It’s okay to ask for help.
As a new resident, you might want to prove something, attempt to do something by yourself, or take on more than you can handle.
But know that there will always be someone who’s willing to help you. Whether it’s to answer a question or assist with a procedure, people will be there for you if you ask for help. And if you have concerns, speak up sooner rather than later so that your team can offer guidance or support.
In health care, everyone is focused on creating a culture where everyone – including staff members, patients, and their families – is able to raise their concerns and feel supported.
4. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Being a new resident can be stressful, especially if you don’t know anyone in the beginning. That’s why it helps to know and acknowledge the whole care team, whether you’re directly working with them or not.
Try to learn as many names as possible. Say “hi” or give a friendly smile when you meet someone along the way. Make friends with people by connecting with them in and out of work.
These might be small gestures, but you never know whose help you’ll need on a rough day or night.
5. Practice self-care.
Being physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy will help you take good care of other people.
So, be sure to exercise, unplug, and engage in leisure activities that will help you reset. Spend some time with your family and friends. Take breaks, get sufficient sleep, and do things that make you feel excited and happy.
Remember, you can only be truly efficient in what you do when you maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Residency is a vital part of your medical career. It’s exciting, exhilarating, overwhelming, and stressful all at the same time. Keep in mind and practice these five things, and know that you’re not alone in your journey.
If you need any help with your residency interview or other clinical experiences, C.H.H.A is here. Contact us today to learn more.