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 become THE most responsible physician for all your patients. 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). Get informed on investing and no matter which way you choose to invest start as soon as possible. Remember the old way of having an advisor do all your investing for you is not the only way.
2) Get your (eg. OHIP) billing number – your billing agents and your consultants will require it. Until you have one you won’t get paid.
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) Set the tone – be the type of emergency physician that is calm, kind and ready for anything that comes your way. The medical students/residents/nurses will all take your lead. When you are under total control so is your department.
6) Continue learning passively – 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 while staying up-to-date.
7) Take a vacation – some amount that you would not/could not as a resident. Extra points if it’s warm and picturesque.
8) Early in your career, work lots clinically – no matter where you work or what other roles you might take on (research/admin/etc.) it is your job to be the best clinician you can be. The beginning of your career is not the time to work only 6 shifts a month.
9) Rely on your colleagues – asks questions before, during and after shifts. We’ve all been through it and know how it feels.
10) Be ok with saying no – take on projects/committees that interest you but ensure you do not exceed what you can handle.
11) You will screw up – ALL your colleagues have had one if not all of: bad outcomes, complaints, lawsuits, we all screw up, just no one talks about it.
12) 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.
Congrats new grads on this amazing achievement!!! Be proud of what you have a accomplished and what you have become. Remember, from here on in you choose your own path.