🩺 What Makes A Good Resident?

🩺 What Makes A Good Resident?


Lately during my last few shifts heading into the emergency department, I've been feeling a bit down☹️.

Let's face it, the overcrowded department, issues with staffing, and slowly increasing cases of Covid-19 and Influenza would frustrate anyone, and I'm certainly no exception😫.

Although my mindset showing up for work was a bit glum, I found that my mood would quickly improve after working with some great residents😸.

So that got me thinking, what makes a good resident?

Below I've listed four qualities that, in my opinion, make a resident truly stand out. If you're a fourth year medical student, keep this list for when you start residency in just a few months!👀

  1. Positive attitude- A positive attitude is easily the most important quality a resident needs to have. When residents show up with the mindset to work hard and help others it not only makes it easier to work with them, but that mindset is also infectious👍🏽. I find myself wanting to do better and teach more to match their energy. No one wants to work with the resident that is constantly being negative or complains about everything🙅🏻‍♂️.
  2. Willingness to learn- I often find that the residents who excel the most are the ones that are willing to learn anything and everything🧠. This not only means a willingness to learn new medical information, but also a willingness to incorporate feedback. When I identify something a resident could improve upon and they immediately make the change, it's a refreshing thing to see. Just the other day one of our residents was able to perform a Burr hole (an uncommon procedure in the ED) on a critically ill patient simply because he was mentally present and willing to give it a try😲.
  3. Team mentality- Residents work more than almost anybody, and as a result they tend to know more of the staff (nurses, techs, etc.) than anyone else. The residents who take a team-centered approach in the department are often the most loved and well-respected🫡. I love seeing residents that takes a few extra moments to update the nurse on the care plan or teach the medical student something cool🤝. Not only does that make the flow of the entire team better, but it genuinely improves the care our patients receive.
  4. Openness about life outside of medicine- At the end of the day medicine defines a lot of what we do, but it isn't our entire story. Residents must have hobbies outside of the hospital that keep them well and balanced⚖️. To that point, I genuinely appreciate the moments when residents share their interests, upcoming trips, and aspirations with me. Not only does it build the bond between attending and resident🔗, but it gives me something to follow up on and lets the resident know that their faculty listen to them and care about their well-being.

Notice that nowhere on that list do I mention "smart" or "intelligent". I've spoken to many different residency program directors and other leadership, and the preference is always for a resident who is teachable rather than one who knows everything🎯.

Whether you're a medical student or a current resident, these four qualities can really help you stand out, make better connections, and enhance your overall learning experience.

💚 Something I love: My Sharpie S-Gel gel pens. Anyone that has worked in the hospital lately has probably seen these because they are absolutely amazing. High quality, bold colors, and they don't smudge...even for lefty's like me!

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