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How to Make the Most of Your Emergency Medicine Residency

Posted on Mon, Feb 29, 2016
How to Make the Most of Your Emergency Medicine Residency

In honor of Emergency Medicine Residents' Appreciation Day on March 2, an attending emergency physician offers a few tips for making the most of your residency.

By Shilpa Amin, MD, FACEP

Dr. Seuss said it best: “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to great places! You’re off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”
You have worked extremely hard to get into your residency program, now make the most of these important years! Each year is a stepping stone to help you find the perfect job; you are the person who’ll decide where to go.

There is no manual to surviving residency, but there are a few pieces of advice I’d like to offer.

Intern Year: Learn the basics. There is no real substitute for understanding the fundamentals of teamwork, hard work and efficient work. When you are an intern, you are working the most shifts, doing many procedures and learning to absorb direction from many people: senior residents, attendings and consultants. Take this year to really understand how the ED functions, because the operations of the ED are unique. Use this year as a base for success for the rest of your residency. Ask lots of questions. Read when you have time. And most importantly, HAVE FUN.

Junior Year: Be a mentor and true teacher to the interns. Remember the saying: “See one, do one, teach one.” You will quickly learn procedures and how to care for critically ill patients. Strive to be a strong leader in your junior year. This year you will have more time to read and more time to network.
 

  • Start talking to the seniors who just graduated and see where and how they found their jobs.
  • Align yourself with colleagues who work in a setting that you see yourself in (academic, community, administrative).
  • Attend national conferences such as ACEP, AAEM or SAEM. Visit the booths and speak to other physicians about what they like most (and least) about their jobs.


Use this year to build a foundation for your job search. Toward the end of your junior year, begin researching different employment models, consider if you want to apply for a fellowship and where geographically you want to practice. Begin drafting an initial version of your CV and have your program director and other faculty review it to help you revise.

Senior Year: This is when the job search is in full effect. Use the summer months to network, learn what an independent contractor is – speak with your accountant or adviser to see if this is the right fit for you to help better understand the job market. Reach out to alumni from your program for more information. Your program director and chairman also are great resources if you’re looking for a job in a location that you’re not familiar with. Begin thinking about who you are going to ask to fill out your references for your applications. Finalize your CV and write a cover letter. Begin sending out emails to the EDs you are interested in applying to.

September and October of senior year is when most residents start interviewing. Give yourself enough time during each interview to spend time in the ED and shadow one of the doctors for a few hours. This will give you a real sense of how the ED functions as a system and works as a team. Interview at enough places to give yourself a broader understanding of the different work environments available to you and where you would fit best. I recommend researching and preparing questions in advance of each interview. Ask for a current copy of the schedule. Be sure to fully understand compensation and scheduling, how vacations work, and what type of malpractice coverage you will have.

In November and December, review all of the information obtained from your interviews.
 
  • Ask yourself where you will be most happy and have the most successful career.
  • Ask your mentors to sit with you and decipher the information and assess each site.
  • Review your contract and have a contract attorney review it for you as well, specifically examining restrictive covenants and any confusing language.
  • As a courtesy, let anyone who extended an offer that you don’t accept know where you decided to start your career.


“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So, get on your way!”

Shilpa Amin

Shilpa Amin, MD, FACEP, is a full-time attending emergency physician at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J. Dr. Amin also is the director of the physician recruiting team for EmCare Partners Group. She received a bachelor’s degree from Rosemont College in Rosemont, Pa., and her medical degree from SUNY Downstate, Brooklyn, N.Y. She completed the Jacobi/Montefiore Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she served as chief resident. She enjoys spending her free time cooking, traveling and trying new cuisines with her husband and three young children.
 

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Comments
Jordan
Great tips here. It's important for med students to be prepared for their residency and be able to do all they can during it. It's great experience.
3/18/2016 2:35:19 PM