Be the Best Resident: 10 Tips for Success

James M. Lebret, MD


May 25, 2016

Tip 7: Remember Your Bigger Career Picture

Are you artistic, entrepreneurial, or innovative? "If you have outside interests or additional ambitions, don't put them off. Learn to manage time and always work towards the big picture. Sometimes using the other half of the brain is actually a good way to challenge yourself and push yourself to heights you never knew existed," says Dhaval Bhanusali, MD, a dermatologist in private practice and CEO of

Tip 8: Communicate Directly

"Call consults yourself: Rather than just writing an order for a consultation, make a personal call. One of the best experiences I had as an intern at Yale was calling consultants (which they made all interns do), presenting the case and making a case for why a consultation with them was needed. This not only helps you build relationships with people outside of your area, but it also gives you an opportunity to learn from someone with expertise in an area that you and most of your colleagues don't have," says Dr Paul.

Tip 9: Stay Organized

"Develop an organizational system," says Dr Altszuler. "There is an incredible amount of medical knowledge to accumulate during residency while simultaneously being expected to expertly care for a large number of sick patients (not to mention assisting patients and their families struggling with the emotional toll of illness, hospitalization, and occasionally death). Adopting a system to organize your tasks for the day will make you a more efficient physician while also ensuring that you provide comprehensive care and don't allow things to fall through the cracks."

Tip 10: Ultimately, Become a Leader

"Balance camaraderie with setting a good example for other team members. When you're working as part of a team (especially as a team leader), it's important to keep morale up, maintain a sense of humor, and generally keep interactions on the team friendly, says Matthew Vorsanger, MD, cardiology fellow at NYU Langone Medical Center and former chief resident of the Internal Medicine Residency. "However, sometimes in the service of expressing sympathy and commiseration, we can be tempted to badmouth other medical services or even the very patients that we're treating. It's something that can really erode empathy, and perhaps just as serious, can create a negative role model that people earlier in their training may choose to follow."


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