Nothing that you learn at the medical school prepares you for the transition to your work life as a resident. It can be hectic, taxing, but nonetheless, thrilling. Seeing your patient recover can be one of the most gratifying experiences in your life. However, a word of caution: life as a resident is not just about bright lights or the operating room theatres that you often come across on TV shows. To make transition to your work life a smooth one, here are a few tips:
- Learn how to use the pager: A doctor’s pager usually goes off every 30 seconds and has a page limit. Make it a habit to delete old pages every so often, in addition to learning other important features.
- Be there in person when possible: It is always better to stay in touch with your patients. For instance, if you are getting multiple phone calls from one particular unit in the hospital, it is important that you step inside the unit to see what is going on.
- Drink more coffee and learn to get it as quickly as possible: Coffee can work wonders when you are on rounds.
- Get a life outside the hospital: Going to the gym or participating in sports are some of the recommended activities that can give you the adrenalin rush. You could also write a novel or indulge in photography. Whatever it is, nurture that activity and take reward from it. If only you take care of yourself, will you be able to take care of your patients.
- Know where the snacks are: In between seeing your patients, you can always go to the refrigerator, the nurses station or wherever there is a stack of snacks to munch on, and keep your energy levels high.
- Be a team player: A new resident should get to know each member of the team. Find out if you actually understand what others in your team do, and what their roles are. It will also help you understand your own role better.
- Ask a lot of questions: One very important thing to do as a resident is to understand even the simplest of things. If a resident does not know something, the worst thing s/he can do is to pretend otherwise. You are not expected to know everything from day one, but don’t miss the opportunity to learn from others.
- Book your vacation: You may have just arrived, but it is important to book your vacation in advance, and often. That way you get enough relaxation time and can inform everyone in advance about your plans.
- Listen: Listening is an art that should be cultivated early on. Tune in to the patients and the patient’s voice, and make sure you listen to other experts in your unit who may have more experience.
- Get enough sleep and keep yourself hydrated: Sleep is important and helps rejuvenate your tired nerves, and we all know how important hydration is for our body.
Watch the video for more tips.
When you are starting off as a resident doctor, you may feel stressed out. But, established doctors feel that it is the best time of your life. Just make sure that you do what you are enjoying most for you will never get a chance to be a resident again!