Starting Residency Well

Beginning your residency in family medicine is an exciting time, filled with important decisions and life changes that will impact your experience of the next three years and beyond. Here are some points of advice to consider as you look forward to beginning residency.

Key Relationships to Establish

You will have to become familiar with and develop working relationships with many new individuals and teams during your residency experience in family medicine. The knowledge and expertise of many people with whom you will come into contact can benefit you in your education and future practice.

Be intentional about cultivating strong, positive relationships with these key people in your residency program. You'll be glad you did.

family medicine resident

Residency Program Coordinator

This person can make your three years of training wonderful or, well, not so wonderful. Your relationship with your coordinator should be one of mutual respect, in which you strive to meet each other's needs. Pay attention to deadlines. Responding to requests from your coordinator in a timely manner can go a long way toward efficient handling of licensure, credentialing, scheduling, and many other essential aspects of your training.

EHR Superuser

Identify the person who is especially adept at using the electronic health record, and ask for tips and best practices. Find a forum to share tips and tricks with colleagues, for example, when you are working on charts at the same time during lunch; information sharing can save a lot of time and frustration as you learn a new system.

Billing and Coding Expert

Get acquainted with the person who knows all about billing and coding. It's complicated and challenging to learn. His or her knowledge and experience can help you during residency, and when you enter your own practice, you'll know that you're not leaving money on the table because of a lack of coding skills.

Model Physician

Identify the physician who always seems to see patients on time, who keeps charts up to date, and who manages to have a life outside of residency. Use him or her as a role model and ask for mentorship.

Your Medical Team

Your new best friends should include your medical team, both in clinic and in the hospital. Nursing and lab staff, receptionists, and others can be resources that help you provide the best patient care in the most efficient way possible. Having personal relationships makes others more likely to give you a break or to listen to your perspective. It feels safer to give or receive feedback when you have such a relationship.

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

In most residencies, each resident is assigned a faculty advisor. Make the most of that relationship by seeking advice, voicing concerns, finding an advocate, and bringing new ideas to the program. If you think you're too busy to meet with your advisor, rethink your priorities. Regular communication with your faculty advisor can help you avoid unexpected problems and provide needed support.

We're Here to Help You

Take advantage of AAFP resources during residency and beyond.