Match Day Advice!

Congratulations – you’ve matched into residency! As an academician, I congratulate you on reaching this significant milestone in your journey to becoming an attending physician. Although this process has undoubtedly been nerve-wracking, take some time to celebrate this incredible rite of passage into the next step of your training!

Match Day 2013! Pinning my first choice of categorical anesthesiology residency at Baylor College of Medicine

The dedication, sacrifices, and hard work you have demonstrated to get to this point are truly admirable. You have spent countless hours studying, learning, and practicing to impact the health and well-being of others positively.

Remember that being a physician is not a job but a responsibility to the lives of your patients and their families. Therefore, always approach your work with empathy, compassion, and a commitment to providing the best care possible – don’t settle for mediocrity, resort to excuses, or lose yourself in the noise. Knowing that many qualified individuals did not receive this opportunity should humble you as you work towards achieving your goals.

Your intern and residency years are formative to the rest of your career as a physician. You’ll be applying a wealth of medical knowledge to care for patients, coordinate with colleagues, teach trainees, and sculpt your own style of practicing medicine. It’s in these years that you will be CHALLENGED. You’ll have too few hours in a day to complete too many tasks. Your relationships and activities outside of work will be stretched thin. Your patience, confidence, and character will all be tested.

Many days you’ll question why you did this in the first place. Why subject yourself to so much debt for such delayed gratification? How can you escape the feelings of exhaustion and inadequacy in a system riddled with barriers to patient care – the very reason you became a physician in the first place?

In these moments, you’ll need to find yourself by remembering your patients. You have earned a training opportunity that many would gladly take, and most of your patients and their families/caretakers are even more stressed than you. Find joy in your ability to learn, care for patients, and work with others. Understand that your colleagues come from different backgrounds, so use their knowledge and experience to further your understanding!

For the more seasoned physicians working with new residents, remember that we were ALL in that position at some point in our careers. Cultivate the training model you wish to see by showing them warmth, instilling confidence, and providing timely, constructive feedback.

Above all else, have fun! 🙂

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