Residency is a particularly demanding period of your healthcare training. It can also be one of the most crucial times of your medical career. Managing your residency and essential certifications can be stressful to juggle. However, it is important to remember to take care of yourself, too.
You don’t have to take our word for it. Here are some tips from doctors to help you manage your residency, certifications, and your own health.
Time Is Limited, So Make It Count
There are only 24 hours in a day. You can’t create more time, but you can make the most of the time you have. That doesn’t mean you need to be constantly running. Rest is just as important as your time on the clock.
Dr. Priyanka Jain, MD, suggests you think of your time as a budget and make allotments accordingly. “If you know you’re a little slower in the mornings, set your alarm a half-hour earlier. If you know you might have a few spare moments, bring a copy of the Washington Manual with you and brush up,” she says.
If you don’t want to lug around heavy manuals, look into online continuing education or certification options you can easily access on your phone. That will help you earn your advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) certifications or refresh your pediatric advanced life support (PALS) skills on your commutes or during lunch breaks.
Making your time outside of work valuable and taking time to practice self-care is also extremely important. Dr. Bennet Omalu, MD, MPH, says, “I wish someone would have given me a talk or lecture on how to manage my time and life—how to get more sleep and rest, and how to learn to be happy. … It was only after my residency that I realized I had to redefine and reorient my life and begin to learn how to be happy outside my work.”
Stay Humble and Ask for Help
Residency is a time for learning. You’re not supposed to know everything. Dr. Mark Wax, MD, says, “The best residents come in a little humble. You’ve got to work with everybody.”
Take advantage of the knowledge and experience that surrounds you. Asking questions is a sign you are willing to learn, not a sign of weakness. Dr. Jeffrey M. Bumpous, MD, says, “Don’t feel you have to overcome everything by yourself. Get advice. Take constructive criticism. When you ask, ‘How do I do this better?’ be a good listener and accept people’s advice.”
Find Ways to Keep Your Certification Schedule Flexible
So much of your healthcare training isn’t flexible. That’s why it is so important to take advantage of the parts that are and put them to work for you.
By completing important education like your BLS, PALS, or ACLS certification online, you can fit your course around your own schedule. And, when the time comes, you can take this practice into your medical career by completing your ACLS recertification online, too.
Dr. Robert Wachter, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, says, “The habits of mind one creates and nurtures during residency will pay dividends through a lifetime of practice … and also pave the way to continue learning throughout your professional lifetime.”
ACLS Certification Institute by CareerCert specializes in online courses that give busy healthcare professionals the convenience of learning anytime, anywhere. More than 10,000 healthcare providers have used our program to sharpen their skills and build on the education they received during their residency.
Our courses are designed to help you improve patient outcomes and are accredited by CAPCE as well as the ADA, AMA, and ANCC in joint providership with the Postgraduate Institute for Medicine (PIM). Learn more!
- Thousands of medical students and graduates celebrate NRMP Match results. NRMP.org. Mar 20, 2020. https://www.nrmp.org/2020-press-release-thousands-resident-physician-applicants-celebrate-nrmp-match-results/.
- Murphy B. 6 top doctors reveal what you need to know during your residency. AMA. Aug 8, 2018. https://www.ama-assn.org/residents-students/residency/6-top-doctors-reveal-what-you-need-know-during-your-residency.
- Bacher R. 9 tips for surviving the first year of medical residency. ENT Today. Sept 5, 2017. https://www.enttoday.org/9-tips-surviving-first-year-medical-residency/.