Medical Residency: The Basics

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You’d think that, after twenty years of schooling, you’d have earned your medical degree free and clear and be a full-fledged doctor. However, the medical residency is the final stretch of your professional training.  Here are the basics of what you need to know before you begin this last stage of your journey:

In the operating theatre, Jodhpur, IndiaVariety then specialization:  The first year of your medical residency is called PGY-1 (Post-Graduate Year 1).  During this time, you’ll be exposed to a variety of medical specialties: Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Geriatric Medicine, General Surgery, Emergency Medicine, and Orthopedics, among many other specific areas of medicine.  You’ll work through a rotation of medical departments, spending approximately a month at each, seeing a cross-section of patients and diagnosing and treating a wide range of diseases.  You’ll see medicine in action, and you’ll find your niche as you work in each specialty.  You may have always thought you loved kids, but your rotation in pediatrics may show you a side of this specialty that has you second-guessing your commitment to children.  After spending time with the elderly, you may realize that Geriatric Medicine is your calling.  The first year of your medical residency will allow you to truly understand what each specialty entails so you can make an informed decision about your subsequent residency years (PGY-2 and PGY-3).

WorkexperienceatCentralMemorial6.JPGDeveloping bedside manner: Patients come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments.  As you pass through your rounds and rotations, you will come in contact with all kids of people.  You’ll learn how to become an effective communicator with patients, families, and other medical professionals, discovering that each person requires a different presentation of the medical advice and care that you have to offer.  Developing your own bedside manner can only be done through practice; the more patients you see, the more you will learn how to be the best doctor you can be.

anaging a brutal schedule:  The first year of your medical residency is a true test of your endurance.  The day starts early at the hospital. Expect to be on your feet and making your rounds by 7:00 a.m.  You’ll attend to patient care for much of the day. Expect this to be broken up by conferences with your supervising resident and attending physician.  The work doesn’t stop at 5:00 p.m., as you’ve already surmised. You may be on call for the evening.  If not, you’ll be home continuing to read and study about medicine, an ever-changing field with new advances and breakthroughs seemingly every day.  You’ll want to make sure that you take excellent care of your own health, as sleep deprivation and exhaustion are common during the medical residency, especially during that first year as you learn how to manage the physical and emotional demands of your profession.

our first paycheck: Medical residents are not free labor.  Though not being fully licensed to practice medicine, they do receive a stipend for their hard work, up to $50,000 per year.  You’ll still need to live frugally as a medical resident, but you’ll finally be getting paid to do what you love… although you may be too tired to spend any of your hard-earned money! — Post by Madelaine Kingsbury.

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