The years of residency may seem like they will never end, but while the days may seem long, the years will fly by. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to take on your first position as a physician. You should take care during your residency to begin preparing for the next phase of your career. Not only should you be trying to soak up as much knowledge and experience as possible, but also start to lay the groundwork for the next steps in your future as a physician.
Seek out personal and professional connections.
Pay attention to the people that you meet along the way, and make friends wherever you can. From other residents to hospital administration to even the hospital support staff, every person you meet has something to offer. Once it comes time to begin the steps of searching for a position in a practice, hospital, or to strike out on your own, those connections will come in handy. You may need a mentor when making a decision, a sounding board for concerns about interviewing, or you may even be in a position where you need to staff your own practice. Each person you meet and interact with during your residency helps to shape your future and define your career path.
Think outside the hospital.
No matter what your career goals, gleaning as much experience in the profession as possible can only help you to better yourself as a physician. Try to expose yourself to as many different facets of the medical profession as possible. Shadow specialists within the hospital to learn more about their chosen specialty and consider how you might use that experience to assist patients within your own field. Ask doctors who are in private practices and clinics outside of your facility to allow you to shadow them for a period, as well. This broad-spectrum view of the medical profession will help you to get a better idea of what you want your own career to look like.
Develop your professional goals and purpose.
As you begin to explore everything that the medical profession is truly about, it will become more and more clear just what goals you want to set for yourself. You will be able to come up with a personal mission statement of sorts and start to understand the steps that will be needed to achieve them. This clarity may come very quickly in your residency or might take a little more time.
Make decisions early.
Though you may think you have a few years to figure everything out, the earlier you can decide on a direction for your professional life, the better. If you want to relocate, you will need time to research the licensing and accreditation requirements for the area you will be living in. You may have multiple steps that are necessary to complete the acceptance process within a particular practice that you’d like to join. The sooner you make those decisions, the smaller the chance that you will run into a time crunch as your residency comes to a close.
Leave room for a little fun.
Don’t forget that, with all of the seriousness and stress that comes along with a job in the medical profession, there has to be a break from time to time. Make sure that you’re taking care of yourself and leaving at least a few hours here and there to do the things you enjoy, not just the things you have to do. This will help you to keep perspective and stay motivated throughout your residency.
You have a promising future ahead of you and with hard work and dedication, you can have exactly the career that you dream of.
Have you completed residency? What are your best tips for residents? Let us know by sharing in the comment section below!