4 Ways To Make the Most Out Of Your Medical Residency

4 Ways To Make the Most Out Of Your Medical Residency

May 11, 2020 Published by Kathrin O'Neill

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The medical profession is a long journey only for the hardworking and the willing. There are many steps an aspiring medical professional must go through before moving on to a career path, which many consider to be the highlight of their adventures in the medical field. With all the years spent in academies and schools honing the art and skill of medicine, now it is time to move on to the next phase of medical training, the much-awaited residency program.

Future opportunities, relationships, experiences, and career milestones will all begin with the fated envelope on Match Day. However, the question remains, how will you prepare for such a critical point in your career as a medical professional? Here are some ways you can physically and mentally prepare yourself for the next chapter of your medical career.

1. Find a Mentor or Guide

The world outside the confines of the academy is a very different playing field. The professional environment is guaranteed to deliver new and unusual experiences no matter how much you prepare for it during your years in medical school. There will be actual cases to handle and the lives of your patients may rest upon your hands.

Now this might sound like a pressuring idea to mentally process and prepare for but finding a professional mentor or guide will do wonders. Pick up what you can from your mentor or guide and step out of your comfort zone – stand out during your time in residency and a successful career path will open for you in no time. Ask as many questions as possible, experience is the best teacher, so they say.

2. Build Fruitful Relationships and an Expansive Network

During your time in residency, make it a priority to build relationships with your colleagues and peers in the workplace. As a small functioning unit, not only would taking the extra effort to build meaningful relationships both with fellow residency trainees and other staff be beneficial in ensuring the overall success of your day to day workload, but it would also benefit you in the long run even after your tenure in the residency program. Keep your personality and professionalism in check, learn as much as you can when working with your unit. You never know, you might bump into a few colleagues here and there and how you leave your lasting impression would matter a lot in the future.

3. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

As the popular saying goes, “Lead by Example”, as an aspiring medical professional, it is also important to exude an aura which radiates health and vitality and an energy which instills the patient’s confidence in you. With an endless stream of patients coming in and out of your rounds, it is easy to neglect and forget your own health and well-being. The residency program is a good training ground to test your endurance and stamina especially when working longer and more demanding rounds in your future career path. As a full-fledged professional, a lot of responsibility will be placed in your shoulders, however, it is also necessary to take the precautionary measures in order to fulfill these tasks without dealing severe damage on yourself which could also affect your career in the future. Some healthy practices you can adapt in your free time are:

  • Go to the gym regularly
  • Eat your greens (vegetables)
  • Make your own lunch (or choose the healthiest option in the cafeteria)
  • Always make time for sleep

4. Relax and Keep Calm

In the hectic hustle and bustle of the medical workplace and the countless nights you will spend accomplishing your rounds with no end in sight, it is just as important to take a step back and take a breather. The feeling of being the “odd one out” or not being able to immediately synchronize with your environment is not an unusual feeling. The first year is always the most nerve-wracking and it is okay to feel this way. In a profession such as the medical field where one is demanded of a lot, there is no “hack” or “easy way out” no matter how much you prepared for training during your medical school days.

Residency is a huge transition from your days as a medical student. Take it one step at a time and enjoy the moment! Celebrate the fact that your days in medical school have not gone to waste and you have yet again taken another successful step closer into what will be your career for the rest of your life.