Have the basics down
You've made it this far so this should be a no-brainer. Don't be the resident with the messy hair, stained lab coat, and always missing a pen. Get your act together.

If you are someone who who has a hard time with any of these, know your weakness. Personal growth is also part of residency. Set out things the night before. Be proactive and set yourself up to win, not fail. This is easy at the beginning of residency but gets a little harder halfway through when you're living in three hours of sleep.

Don't complain
Just don't. There is always a resident who complains about their workspace (or lack therof), their technology, that they have to stay late or staff an extra shift. Just do it. You signed up for this so roll with the punches. Residency is hard not just mentally - it physically and emotionally takes a toll. Know that you are not alone and that many people have made it through. It will be much easier to throve when you're not constantly focusing on the negative.

Eat a vegetable
Make sure you are fueling your body properly (Diet Coke and granola bars are not the way) and also eating at regular intervals. Keep some almonds and a banana in your bag, make sure you are getting protein, and try your best to avoid the sugar and crashes that come along with it.

Get over your mistakes
You're going to make a mistake; that's why you are training right now - so that you have a cushion to catch you when you fall. Move on and don't let it define you. Recalibrate, figure out what you need to focus on and keep going.

Manage your expectations
Understand that there are some months where you are not going to have a life. Also, try not to take on more than you can handle. Extracurricular activities are going to fall by the wayside for a bit. Unfortunately, balance is a little off in residency sometimes. Also, understand that you are going to have to staff. Those are actually some of the times you learn the most but I've actually seen many residents get worked up about their staffing requirements. Yes, it sucks when it's on top of your already busy list of requirements, but it is a great experience. Embrace the process.

Stay organized
You will be so much more efficient if you have a good system in place. You will save time, do better work, and look much more out together so take the time at the beginning to get a good system in place.

If you are drowning, don't be afraid to talk to your preceptor or advisor. If your resident project needs to take a direction, don't be afraid to change your objective. Sometimes great research ideas aren't supported by the system in the way of technology, data collection, etc...I saw a resident with a great idea get really hung up on the data collection method. He would have had to spend months with IT just to build the report he needed. He finally redirected but ended up turning his project in about six months late.Work with what you have and don't be afraid to communicate with your advisors.

Try to avoid the drama
Some resident classes are best friends whole some are full of drama. There were times in the hospital where I felt like we were in Grey's anatomy. Someone was sleeping with this person, this one wasn't talking to this one, etc.... all of that can really interfere with your focus. Have fun when you can but try not to fuel the fire.

Walk a little
For me, a little exercise is a great way to clear my head and manage stress. Setting aside thirty minute three days a week will do wonders for your mental clarity. And yes, you won't be able to find the time, but prioritize and do it when you can. Walk on the treadmill while reading a journal article. You can multitask 😄.

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PracticeJoanna Simmon