Tips for Welcoming New Residents

Every year, whether you are ready or not, new residents arrive. You are assigned the exciting (and sometimes daunting) task of preparing them to be excellent doctors, leaders, and advocates of health care. But first you must make sure they have the tools to get through the early days of residency. Luckily, a few of our members shared some helpful tips for making their transition from med student to family medicine resident a little easier.

Introductions - When introducing other team members, make sure to mention why this person is important to the resident. New residents are going to meet a lot of new people in their first few weeks, so pointing out why a person will be vital to their overall success is valuable.  

Team building - There won’t be much “extra” time to focus on team building right off the bat but a small gathering or team building event during the first weeks can be beneficial. Working well together to help their patients will be a top priority for residents. In addition, knowing and understanding each other means you may be able to quickly step in and assist when someone is overwhelmed. Sometimes just having someone there to vent to is all a resident needs to get through the rough patches.

Share an experience from your first year of residency - It helps to share an experience from your own early days of residency to illustrate the highs and lows of what it means to be a resident. Sharing a story can also be used as a teaching moment as well as remind your residents that you were once a zealous new doctor.  

Explain the requirements - Help your residents understand the requirements that will need be completed by them as well as by your entire residency, such as ACGME Family Medicine Program Requirements and ABFM requirements. It’s helpful for them to understand requirements early on. Pro Tip: You might also want to provide them with a list of commonly used acronyms!

Encourage residents to have a life outside of work - It’s easy for residents to fall in to the trap of working all day, going home, eating takeout, and going to sleep. This is completely understandable, especially since many of them are in a new city, far away from their social network. Encouraging them to take a little time for themselves, whether it be a quick jog after work, reading a few pages of a book for pleasure, or playtime with their children, a little time for themselves will help them adjust to their new reality.

Finally, amid the chaos of welcoming new residents, don’t forget this final, important tip:

Soak up the enthusiasm - When new residents arrive, they are eager to get started. Take a quick moment to remember how excited (and nervous) you were to start residency and appreciate how wonderful it is that you are tasked with educating the next generation of family doctors!  

-Kathleen Ingraham Marshall, MFA, Online & Emerging Media Specialist