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Your Next Steps After Medical School

When you were younger, school and education may have seemed like a drag. Where was the fun in getting up super early, going to a different place and sitting to learn about equations and the forefathers. Where was the fun in that?

Eight year old you would probably be overjoyed that you finished your college education but would then be shocked that you willfully put yourself into four more years of school. You’re an adult now and you should be eating ice cream whenever you want, why would you go back to school?

Eight year old you would also be shocked that just finishing medical school is one step in many to becoming a doctor. The tales of residency might scare your childhood self but then again, so did the boogie man in the closet.

Here you find yourself out of medical school and ready to start working. What should you be doing? Take a look at the steps below.

Start Doing Your Research

You never want to jump into anything blindly, especially if it’s going to be a multi-year commitment. Matching to the right location is an important step, as it’s going to have a huge impact on your future. You’re going to meet a lot of different professionals, be exposed to different settings and be learning a lot.

These next few years are vital parts of your medical career, so it’s important to come in with a positive attitude. Even though you may be finished with school in the traditional sense, you should still keep your thinking cap on and be ready to learn and grow.

Make Sure You’re Comfortable

People that run marathons are going to buy great shoes. They’re investing a lot of their time running, so why not invest in something to keep your feet secure and safe?

Although you may not be running 26.2 miles every day, you’re going to be on your feet a lot, moving around and being busy. In addition to getting good shoes and staying comfortable, you should also do the following:

  • Have an emergency snack with you. You may not have time to sit down and eat that BLT or leftovers from the night before, so keep something close by that you can quickly snack on while moving.
  • When you have your breakfast/lunch/dinner break, take it! You’ll be no good to anyone if you’re running around on a tank half empty.
  • Drink lots of water. When you’re running around, it can be easy to forget to make a pit stop at the water fountain or drink a bottle of water. If you haven’t gone to the bathroom once over your 12 hour shift, that’s a sign you need to get some fluids ASAP.
  • If you can sleep, get some sleep. Even if it’s just a quick 20 minutes of shut-eye, a little power nap go quickly revitalize you.

Get an Idea of Your Future

Throughout residency, you may or may not have the perfect idea lined up in your head of what you want to do. Some people come in with a certain track but others may need a bit more time. Find out what kind of specialties you may need to pursue or even start looking at future jobs, just to have an idea of what you’re in for.

Even though you may not have the perfect plan, it will pay dividends if you start laying the groundwork for your future. It always pays to be ahead.

Don’t Be Afraid to ask for Help

There’s a lot of pressure coming into a new work environment. Not only do you want to make a good impression on your coworkers, but you want to show that you’re a competent worker who is ready to step in and help. Confidence is a great thing to have, but when it bubbles over into cocky, that’s where things may get bumpy.

Every person you see in a hospital or medical practice had to start somewhere. There is no one there who magically came down from the heavens and was a perfect doctor on day one. There is no shame in asking for help or realizing that you may be over your head in a certain situation. Instead of trying to act like a know-it-all, people will respect you more for coming to them and asking for help. It shows a sign of humility. Good advice or counsel can sometimes come from the least expected places.

Plan Your Finances

You’re the last person to tell that medical school was really expensive. About 75% of students know that all too well as they graduate. It’s smart to start looking at your financial picture now.

You’re not going to be breaking the bank with your residency salary, but you can start to look at your future and see how you will have to pay off those pesky loans. It’s also smart to think about things like where you are going to live, what other purchases you’ll have to make, what will your budget look like and so on. Get ahead now so you’re not trying to play catch up in the years to come.

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