After more than a decade of undergraduate and postgraduate education, your time as residents is over! Your “watch has ended” and you are about to be a “real” doctor. Before absolute panic sets in here are some tips to make your transition resident to staff a little easier.
1) Financial – obtain insurance (life/disability/health/legal), and consider if incorporation is right for you.
2) Get your (eg. OHIP) billing number – your billing agents and your consultants will require it.
3) Buy yourself something nice – if it feels like you would have never bought it in residency and it seems like it costs way too much, that’s about the right amount of money to spend*.
4) Be nice to everyone at your new job – especially allied health staff, clerks, security staff, etc. Do not confuse you new level of authority with an excuse to be a jerk. First impressions last a lifetime.
5) It’s ok to get upset sometimes – it will happen, but do it very sparingly and avoid public outbursts (again, see #4: impressions last a lifetime).
6) Regularly read/listen to 1-2 journals/blogs/podcasts – don’t study but learn passively for a period of 1 year. It’s time to focus on becoming a stellar clinician.
7) Take some time off – some amount that you would not/could not as a resident. Extra points if it’s warm and picturesque.
8) Rely on your colleagues – asks questions before, during and after shifts. We’ve all been through it and know how it feels.
9) Be ok with saying no – take on projects/committees that interest you but ensure you do not exceed what you can handle.
10) You will screw up – we all do, just no one talks about it.
11) Keep your mentors (or find some) – you will need help navigating work-life balance, difficult cases.
*Bonus tip: Buy your significant other something nice too, believe me they deserve it.