Four years of undergrad, four years of medical school, three years of residency, three years of fellowship, one year of advanced fellowship…you get the picture. After all that training where do you go from here?
Step into the world as an early career attending! It’s time for you to run on your own. Here are some tips from someone who was in your shoes just a few years ago.
- Be proud of what you have accomplished. You’ve achieved something great. You are a practicing physician and ready to take care of your own patients.
- At the same time be humble. Remember all those people that helped you along your journey: patients, nurses, residents, techs, transporters, security, etc. Respect is earned, not given.
- Time management is the key to success. When you first start, it’s going to feel like you need to be everywhere at once. You need to learn to prioritize tasks. Find a schedule that works for you and build off of it.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you first start, you’ll have a habit of second guessing yourself. Don’t worry, this is normal. Use your partners and senior colleagues for reassurance. Not only will they support your decisions, but consulting them also helps form a solid bond as they help you grow in your career.
- Network! Whether you’re employed or in private practice, making lasting connections with your peers is an important part of your career and will come in handy in tough patient situations. Think of yourself as a member of a team, rather than an individual.
- Don’t fall into apathy. Many doctors nowadays feel beaten down by the system. They go to work thinking the system is against them. It’s not true. You have a voice! Speak up, and help be a voice for change.
- Never stop learning. Read, read, read! Even just 10 minutes a day, reading one or two articles, or participating in online activities will keep you sharp and up to date. Whether you like it or not, medicine is constantly changing and you have to keep up.
- Be a teacher. Even if you’re not in academic medicine, teaching is an important part of the job. Being a good teacher is what will help you retain the information you already know. As a doctor, it’s our duty to educate students and patients alike about the value of medicine.
- Find your work-life balance. At the end of the day, this is a job. There’s much more to life than work. Be sure to make time for your family, hobbies, and relaxation.
- Enjoy the ride. This is the path you picked. The work you do every day is literally life-changing. Wake up each morning and be excited for what is to come.
Overall, be proud of what you’ve accomplished. Being a physician is an honor. Use your platform to be an advocate for your patients and staff, above all, enjoy your early career and the years to come.
By Jay Mohan, DO, FACC, FSCAI, FASE, RPVI
Published June 29, 2021
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