Five tips on surviving residency from the people who’ve been there

If you’re about to start your residency, you may be feeling anxious, fearful, excited, or all of the above. Making the leap from medical school to residency is a major transition. Here are five tips from healthcare professionals on Figure 1 on how to survive this stage in your medical career.


1. Bring your A game

“Be enthusiastic even when the task seems menial or otherwise beneath you (hint - it isn’t beneath you if it is caring for the patient). Every detail of the care of the patient has some importance to that patient. These memories will support you when you are asking someone else to do those things, and you will understand better how the patient experience feels having been closer to the action.” —Family Medicine Physician

2. It’s all who you know

“Make friends with the nurses and nursing assistants. They spend the most time with patients and often are the first to notice something is wrong. They might not know what is wrong but that’s our job!” —Advanced Nurse Practitioner

3. Anticipate needs

“Do what needs to be done before you are asked to do so.” —Ear Nose and Throat Physician

4. Mistakes will happen

“You will learn more on the cases you miss than [the ones you] get right. Study your weak points when you find them.” —Radiology Resident

5. Be patient-centered


“Remember to listen to your patients. They will tell you what is wrong with them if you listen. You will most often get your diagnosis from the history you take.” —Ear Nose and Throat Physician

And, of course, don’t forget to talk to other residents about what you’re going through. You can meet hundreds of thousands of them on Figure 1.

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