It would be an understatement to say that graduate medical students have a lot on their hands. After medical school, students hardly have a break before they are thrust into a world where real-life situations demand real-life solutions gleaned from medical school learning.
As residents, medical students must face a more challenging environment wherein their mental, emotional, and physical capabilities will be tested. Residents Medical Group, the leading residency matching provider in the U.S., recommends these tips for a smoother transition from medical school to a residency program.
Tips for Transitioning from Medical School to Residency
Know Your Team
Chances are that you will be working with a team, so getting to know them is crucial. When working in different environments, knowing who a person is and how they work can greatly benefit the whole team, not just you.
These team members will be your partners in learning and working. Keep open communication with them to establish a good working relationship, and the more you get to know each other, the more trust you will build in your team. A team working together and trusting each other will help you adapt to your new environment, provide support, and keep you updated.
A busy schedule during your residency will take your mind off even the most important things. Keep yourself organized by setting a schedule, taking notes, and using written or electronic reminders.
Having a filing and note-taking system so you can easily access information when and if needed will help you stay organized during this busy season of your life. Use apps or programs that help you store information and data you can retrieve anytime for reference.
Make Use of Training Opportunities
Besides lectures, medical residents often have access to learning opportunities such as grand rounds, conferences, and morning reports. Many of these meetings allow you to meet and communicate with other residents and medical professionals. Not only are these opportunities a learning experience, but they also allow you to build your professional network.
Learn Self-Care and Find Ways to Alleviate Stress
Never neglect your health. As a medical resident, you will find yourself in situations where you will be working long hours in a high-stress environment—making time to eat healthy, get adequate sleep, and exercise will help to reduce stress during your residency.
If you do not take care of yourself, it will not be long until you give way to burnout. Try to find the best stress management strategies, and do not push yourself to do more than you possibly can. In some cases, doing so will make you less efficient and effective as a doctor.
Residency can sometimes be overwhelming, and everyone needs a break from time to time. At the outset, make sure to build your support system. This could be your friends, family, and, most likely, co-residents.
No one else knows and understands what you are going through more than your colleagues. Do not be afraid to talk with other residents about the strain and stress that residency is taking on you. More likely than not, they will have similar feelings.
Do Not Be Afraid If You Do Not Know
The whole point of being in a medical residency program is to learn about your future profession. Understandably, there will be things that you will not so easily understand. True, expectations are high, but nobody is perfect.
Even the best doctors today had to go through what you went through. Never forget that the residency program is a learning opportunity for you. If you are asked by a colleague, a nurse, a doctor, or a patient about something to which you do not have the answer, do not be afraid to say so. This will help you establish trust with people within your circle and build your self-confidence and integrity.
Don’t Be Shy
A medical residency program is your time to learn more and practice your medical school skills. Now is not the time to step back into the shadows. Observe, focus, communicate, and most of all, ask questions during your residency program.
By this time, you would have had enough background knowledge to phrase the right questions, so do not be afraid. Your mentor might walk you through specific situations, but they are busy with multiple tasks and may miss some critical information.
You will also learn better if applied in a real-world setting such as a hospital, so it is best to use your voice to make sense of new information.
Get to Know Residents Medical Group
Residents Medical Group is the only organization that combines education and integration of medical students into a matching residency program.
Residents Medical was founded by Dr. Michael Everest, who also serves as the Chief Academic Officer and Chairman. Residents Medical Group was the brainchild of the late Dr. Edwin Everest, Dr. Michael Everest’s father.
After Dr. Edwin Everest’s passing away in 2008, Dr. Michael Everest decided to take the lead and make his father’s dream come true, from a concept to a now fully-fledged organization with an international reach.
Today, Residents Medical Group has grown globally, with staff working worldwide, assisting medical residents and providing them with the support and opportunity they need to make their dreams come true.
Today, Residents Medical Group is leading the advocacy to alleviate the shortage of doctors globally, particularly in the United States, by providing a means for medical graduates to find and match with the best residency programs available not just in the U.S. but in other countries.
Residents Medical has also reached out to domestic and foreign governments by promoting better healthcare programs. According to Dr. Michael Everest, this approach helps improve professional health services and train better medical professionals.
He states that more than anything, the best medical programs are not only those that produce highly skilled and capable doctors but also those who are forward-looking and innovative, open to better approaches and strategies that ultimately will make for better healthcare in the world.