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Tips for Graduating Residents

After more than a decade of undergraduate and postgraduate education, you have finally finished residency! Your "watch has ended" and you are about to be a "real" doctor. Before absolute panic sets in here are some tips to make your transition to practice a little easier.

1) Financial - obtain insurance (life/disability/health/malpractice), and consider if incorporation is right for you.

2) Get your (eg. OHIP) billing number – your billing agents and your consultants will require it.

3) Buy yourself something nice – if it feels like you would have never bought it in residency and it seems like it costs way too much, that’s about the right amount of money to spend*.

4) Be nice to everyone at your new job – especially allied health staff, clerks, security staff, etc. Do not confuse you new level of authority with an excuse to be a jerk. First impressions last a lifetime.

5) It’s ok to get upset sometimes - it will happen, but do it very sparingly and avoid public outbursts (again, see #4: impressions last a lifetime).

6) Regularly read/listen to 1-2 journals/blogs/podcasts - don’t study but learn passively for a period of 1 year. It's time to focus on becoming a stellar clinician.

7) Take some time off – some amount that you would not/could not as a resident. Extra points if it's warm and picturesque.

8) Rely on your colleagues – asks questions before, during and after shifts. We've all been through it and know how it feels.

9) Be ok with saying no – take on projects/committees that interest you but ensure you do not exceed what you can handle.

10) You will screw up – we all do, just no one talks about it.

11) Keep your mentors (or find some) – you will need help navigating work-life balance, difficult cases.

*Bonus tip: Buy your significant other something nice too, believe me they deserve it.

Most of all, congrats new grads on this amazing achievement!!!

(For another post on this topic check out the great infographic from


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