How to Survive Your First Year of Residency

How to Survive Your First Year of Residency  

By: Ricardo Roberts of Doctor Loan USA.

Doctor Loan USA

Disclosure: Doctor Loan USA is a paid sponsor of #LifeofaMedStudent and is a service for connecting residents and physicians with doctor loan options for home buying. I’m now going through the physician loan home process for a second time, and both have been very smooth. While not everyone agrees on buying a home during residency, (I’ve written my thoughts on the debate) for new attendings, long residencies, or those planning to stay in the area long term, Doctor Loan USA is an excellent option. 


How To Survive Your First Year Of Residency

After four years of classes, conferences, and residency applications, you have finally earned the right to practice medicine! Your first year of residency will be filled with new experiences, patients, and professionals who will help you become a general practitioner.

Unfortunately, your first year of residency will also be filled with challenges that can distract you from your ultimate goal. If you are adjusting to life as an intern, this guide can help you survive your first year as a medical resident.


Start On The Right Foot

As you transition from medical school into your residency program, make sure that you start your internship on the right foot. Introduce yourself to hospital staff and medical professionals on your first day, and connect with the other interns in your program.

This is also a great time to start doing research about your profession. Get to know doctors who practice medicine in your area of specialty, and take the time to read books about the medical field. Above all, remember that your first year as a resident is designed to help you develop the skills you need to become an amazing doctor.


Build A Support Network

As a medical resident, you will be part of a large community of doctors, nurses, and other interns. These professionals will help you grow as a resident and have a huge impact on your success as a physician.

When you’re putting in long hours and your work becomes more important than your social life, you may be tempted to put those relationships on the back-burner. But the people who help you treat patients can also make your residency a fun and exciting experience.

Develop relationships with the medical professionals that you see every day. Look for mentors who can guide you through the process of becoming a general physician, and build friendships with interns who practice in your area of specialty. Spend time with the nurses and volunteers in your department, and get to know their names as you make your rounds. Those relationships will keep you motivated when your workload is overwhelming, and they will continue to serve you as you move forward with your medical career.


Take Care Of Yourself

With long shifts, demanding patients, and a steep learning curve, your first year as a medical resident can have disastrous effects on your health and emotional wellbeing. You may not have the same amount of free time that you had in medical school, but you can still make time to take care of yourself.

Instead of planning for long weekends and extended vacations, learn how to relax when you have spare time. Sleep whenever you can, and take the time to eat healthy meals that will give you the energy to power through your shifts. Enjoy simple pleasures like watching a movie or having lunch with friends on your days off, and be kind to yourself when you make a mistake or forget to fulfill a requirement. If you make your health and wellbeing your number one priority, you will be able to handle whatever comes your way.


Launch Your Career

Your residency program is the last formal training requirement that you have before you become a general practitioner. The doctors, nurses, and healthcare administrators that you work with are committed to helping you succeed as a medical resident so that you can become an attending physician.

The first year of residency can be a grueling experience. You may feel unqualified after the first few weeks of your residency program, but the challenges and setbacks that you face as an intern are designed to help you grow as a medical professional.

Use these experiences to help you launch your medical career. Ask questions about specialties, treatments, and medical cases that you are not familiar with, and build relationships with the attending physicians that you work with on a daily basis. You were hired as a resident so that you could gain the experience you need to practice medicine, and your supervisors would be more than happy to answer any questions that you have.


Find A Place To Call Home

Your residency program can last for years before you gain the skills that you need to become a general practitioner. If you are currently living in an apartment, you may want to consider buying a house so that you have a permanent place to call home.

Physician loans cater to the needs of medical residents and established doctors. With low down payment requirements, no PMI, and limited barriers to qualification, a doctor loan might be the key to finding affordable real estate that is close to your residency program.

If you are interested in buying a house during your first year of residency, read our guide — Physician Loans: 14 Things Every Resident Should Know — and learn everything there is to know about specialized mortgage loans for medical professionals.


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