Tips for Senior Residents

In June-July of every year, there is a wealth of clinical pearls on twitter as residents and staff reflect on the lessons they have learned. It comes up when you search for #tipsfornewdocs.

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The NEJM Resident 360 blog also has excellent resources – from rotation specific pre-reading material to interactive case discussions, there is something there for all residents, not just those in Internal Medicine.

As I was preparing to give a talk to the second year residents in our program, I came across this insightful article.

The authors summarize a group discussion between experienced senior residents. The article concludes that the role of senior medicine resident (SMR) involved a delicate balance, and I couldn’t agree more. While as a junior resident your role is quite clear (providing direct patient care), as a senior your job is to fill in the gaps. You don’t want to overstep the role of your junior residents but you also have to ensure patient safety and think about patient flow.  You have to step up some days when the team is short staffed or overwhelmed, and other days you step back so that your juniors can do their job uninterrupted. It can be tough to get the balance right.

The three take away points from the end of the article really hit home for me:

  • Model the joy you have in your work.
  • Lean in to the dual roles you play as teacher/learner and leader/follower.
  • Spend more time with patients at the bedside.

I recommend you read the rest of the article and feel free to share other lessons you’ve learned in residency about being a senior resident.

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