So I’ve come to realize it’s a false notion to think there will be some long consistent period of days off with a surplus of free time, and I’ll find myself completely caught up and all the pended things on my ‘To Do’ list all done. Instead I think it is going to be more like trying to fit in all my tasks -like updating this blog- amongst a series of short sleeps, long work days, never ending learning and the necessary naps to keep my shit from all coming unwound.
With that, I wanted to put together a list of goals for myself for residency. The idea and my first day were about 43 days ago, but hey better late than never. If anything, the first few weeks have really shown me how difficult this whole residency thing can be. I have quickly learned that it is going to take real effort to be a good resident, good husband, good brother, good son, good person and good to myself amidst this crazy schedule.
Hopefully I can look back on this post over the next few years and keep measure of my efforts. They may sound a little cliche or a little overzealous, but that’s the point of goals eh? Go big or go home.
- Focus. The next 4 years are the opportunity to become a good physician and immerse yourself in the learning experience. Biking, running, climbing, fishing, (insert hobby) are going nowhere, focus on being the best damn ER doc you can be.
- Be an active learner. Try to take something from every patient. Don’t expect the world to spoon feed you knowledge. It will not happen and even if it did, you don’t have the attention span to learn that way. Take responsibility of your own learning.
- Don’t forget to care. You live in the hospital now. You are used to the madness of the ED, of life, of death, of suffering, of chaos. This shit is not normal for the rest of the world. Don’t forget that and make sure you stay relatable and cognizant of the patient experience.
- Be human. Experience your emotions: the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. Don’t just be a robot and try to ignore your feelings. Learn from the bad, let yourself grieve appropriately and remember the saves and hero days.
- Be a better husband. Being married to an EM physician is not easy. The schedule and overall experience’s only constant is change. Don’t be a burden of a partner. Make sure she knows she is still the center of your world and special to you. Don’t forget date night and the for-no-reason-other-than-to-tell-you-i-love-you things. Don’t try to bargain your effort away from your relationship for everything else.
- Embrace failure. The last few weeks have been incredibly humbling and keep that always trying to improve attitude. Never become smart enough or good enough or fast enough or wise enough. Always pursue just a little better.
- Stay fit. No one will fault you for getting a little out of shape with the bad hours general lack of money and the horrible stress. Don’t take the easy way out. Eat better. Exercise even when you’re tired. No excuses. Run that ultra. Don’t put life on hold.
- Be happy. Do the things you love. Keep smiling. Be the person people want to have on shift or in their lives. Residency’s hard, life’s hard, but spreading a smile is an easy, small win every time.