Just Finished Med School? 4 Things You Should Do Before Starting Your Residency

Via Intelligent Video Solutions

Once you’ve finished medical school, it can feel like a monkey is now off your shoulder. In terms of the timeline of becoming a doctor, you’re about halfway there. The next big hurdle for you is your residency.

Your residency may take you to completely new places with completely new people. It can be scary and exciting all at the same time. You’ll be meeting different people and gaining your first experience of working a real job. You’ll also be earning a salary! It won’t be much, but earning some money after paying an arm and a leg for medical school will be somewhat of a relief.

Before you start your residency, there are still a few things to do and things to consider. Check out the list below for ideas on what you can do with your time:

Don’t throw the book away

In high school, it may have been common for you to throw away your notes from your Latin II class after the final exam. Who needs these anymore? You know all the important Latin phrases like carpe diem and quid pro quo anyway.

While the idea may be tempting to get rid of your medical school textbooks or to put your notes away on a forgotten bookshelf, you should think about keeping them. This isn’t to say you should expect a pop quiz from your hospital on a certain subject matter, but they can help you reinforce what you’ve learned or serve as a reference point for something you’re doing.

You will still have lots of chances to learn during your residency, not just about medical issues but inner hospital workings and those “things you can’t learn in school”. So, be prepared to keep learning and keep an open mind.

Pack your bags

Via British Airways

Chances are, your last few years have been pretty packed with notes, study groups, and exams. There’s a chance your social life has suffered a bit, but that was a sacrifice you knew you were going to have to make once you started school.

Not only has your social life been pushed to the back burner, but maybe your “me” time has taken a hit. What perfect way to recover both by planning a vacation?

You can opt for something extravagant, something simple and local or something in between. Whatever you end up doing, enjoy your time as much as you can and don’t think about your next steps. It’s a time to relax and celebrate your recent accomplishment before jumping into your next big career step. Disconnecting is always beneficial, both physically and mentally.

Bring the orange slices

For those of you that played soccer in your youth, it seems that every mom across the country was contractually obligated to bring orange slices to your games. They were a delicious and healthy snack that was pretty easy to prepare.

Before you start your residency,  nail down some healthy habits. If you already feel like you’ve developed a healthy routine, that’s great! If you’ve slipped a little bit, try and get back in the game.

It could be going to the gym three days a week for your aerobics class or running in the park for 30 minutes a day. You should already know that residency doesn’t have the most convenient or conventional schedule and an exact routine may get thrown off once you start.

But once you get into your routine, it’ll be easier to continue once you start the residency. You may not make it to every Tuesday night kickboxing class, but you will still feel like you need to go.

Try to find some healthy snacks as well and incorporate them into your diet. A quick trip to the vending machine may be the easiest, but your body will thank you for opting for nuts and berries or some fruit instead.

Get yourself covered


No one ever wakes up and says, “today will be the day I get into an accident!”. But that’s why they’re called accidents, they weren’t meant to happen.

The same applies to your medical residency. While the hospital may seem like the safest place to get into an accident, an injury or disability could leave you unable to work for a period of time. Do the right thing and make sure you have health coverage.

You’ve worked so hard to get to this point, don’t let it slip away by thinking you’re invincible. You deserve the best for yourself.

Take a look ahead

Before starting, you may already have an idea of what exactly it is you want to do. With matchday having come and gone, you might think your future is set in stone. But, you could go through your residency program and realize the direction you were taking is not exactly the one you want.

Or, you could realize that there are is a speciality you want to pursue or not pursue in the end. That’s why it may be a good idea to start reading up on certain job requirements for different hospitals.

You most definitely know the basic responsibilities and job requirements as a medical professional. But different clinics and hospitals could have completely different demands and methods. What one hospital may be looking for can be completely different to another hospital.

Even though you may be a few years away from officially becoming a doctor, it wouldn’t hurt to start looking ahead. Browse some job description boards and see if there’s anything else you could be doing. Or, if you have a specific route in mind, see what else they’re looking for. Plan ahead instead of reacting.

Organize Your Finances

As mentioned above, medical school is quite expensive. In the end, you’ve likely racked up a lot of debt and will have to start paying it back soon. The question is, when do you want to start paying it back and what’s your plan?

While you will be earning a salary during your medical residency, it’s not going to be much. But, you can meet with a financial adviser and see if you can start paying off some of those loans right away.

Of course, you’ll want to look at the bigger picture and see if there are any other outstanding financial obligations. What is your rent like? Do you have moving costs? Do you need to repair your car? Do you have a wedding coming up or are you expecting a baby? Look at the bigger picture before making any big decisions.

WE SAID THIS: Follow these four simple steps and your medical residency should not only be an easier, but an enjoyable and exciting experience!