Eight big mistakes medical residents make
We all went through the medical residency programs and did just fine. But there is always more that we could have learnt or done in the medical residency years. Medical residency is a great place to learn medical skills, as there is plenty of time to learn and lots of physicians willing to teach. This all changes rapidly after graduation. After graduation from a medical residency program, there is almost no time to learn anything radically new. Also there are very few willing individuals to learn from, as no one wants competition.
Here are the biggest mistakes medical residents make during their residency. Hopefully if your are one, you will avoid them.
1) Not taking rotations in different specialty in the elective: Experiment and take chances. Rotate through an entirely different clinical specialty. You may learn new procedures you can use later and boost your bottom line. You may gain perspective and experience which will differentiate you and make you a better physician.
2) Becoming Chief Resident and spending extra year in residency: Yes! That is a shocker. There are only two reasons you may want to become a Chief Resident. One, you want to go into academic medicine. Second, you want to get into a certain fellowship program you could not get into after graduating. If you are gearing towards private practice, the extra chief residency year will not come in handy. Not to mention the hefty pay cut you inadvertently took.
3) Taking outpatient clinics too easy or completely ignoring them: During medical residency, there is a lot of focus on inpatient treatment. However the most time you will spend as a practicing physician is outpatient clinic. Ever got that feeling that you may not be ready for practice as yet? Half of it stems from not doing enough outpatient clinic.
4) Not asking someone to teach medical billing: No one talks about the business of medicine in medical residency. But medical residents need to find someone who can teach them medical billing.
5) Ignoring medical students: If your medical residency program has medical students, take some time out to teach them some clinical skills. Their persistent questioning will give tremendous boost to your learning ability.
6) Not taking advantage of retirement plan and matching program offered by the medical residency program: If your medical residency offers you a retirement plan, more than likely they match the contributions you make to it. If you do not contribute, you lose that match. That is lost money. So call the human resources or the education office, find out what retirement plan they have, and contribute into it.
7) Not starting job search early enough: To get the best job, the physician job search should be started at least within the first three months of the final year. Good jobs don’t last till the end. Also early birds get more interview. Follow the timeline.
8) Ignoring your family or friends: Medical residency is a busy time. The notion that it is temporary, makes many physicians ignore their family and friends. As a physician, we are doomed to be busy for life. But keep your family and friends for life an be efficient enough to take care of them. And I mean to include your parents, brothers and sisters also.