5 tips to overcome challenges for medical students and residents
Being a part of the medical fraternity is a rewarding career choice that requires dedication from the offset. As a medical student and a resident doctor, you will face challenges, but these challenges can be overcome in many ways.
By knowing your own strengths and limitations and showing grit, determination and discipline, you can overcome all challenges and excel in your career.
Gain some tips to help overcome some of the obstacles faced by medical students and residency students.
Tips for overcoming challenges faced by medical students
Every pre-med student should be aware of the challenges that lie ahead in their medical career and it is important to know how to successfully navigate through all of them.
Here are a few important tips that can help you as a medical student.
1. Start with a reasonable study schedule
The curriculum of medical school can be overwhelming at first. There is a lot of information to absorb, assignments to submit and rising stress levels. As a result, students tend to overwork themselves and get caught in tedious study schedules that are impractical and include no breaks.
Therefore, it’s important to make a reasonable study schedule that includes your daily routine. Set a waking up time, eat a healthy meal, fix a slot for self-study and all of your academic assignments. Ensure that you have a dedicated slot for your personal activities as well.
2. Know your study style
Every student learns differently and a learning pattern that works for one, may not be fit for another. If your fellow medical student is good at cramming notes, then don’t blindly follow them. You may not be able to retain large amounts of information as efficiently. Instead, understand what study style suits you well.
If you learn better by making notes, then do that, or if you are a visual learner, then try incorporating diagrams or charts. You can even record notes and listen to them if that helps you absorb information better. The point is, stick to what works for you rather than copying other students' study styles.
3. Work out a method to deal with a heavy workload
A medical student has to be prepared to deal with a heavy workload. Going forward with clinical rotations, medical residency and later working as a practicing doctor, you have to prioritize your time and work efficiently.
So, it’s important to find a method that works for you to deal with the workload. Try to work this out early, so that you don’t get snowed under. Try to apply an 80-20 rule to all your tasks and first focus on high-priority ones. Since they require more time and focus, it's best to wrap them up before you move to the easier or less important things.
You can make this division in your study planner to deal with complex assignments and difficult learning material easily. This way you will avoid stress and be on top of your study schedule.
4. Be aware of burning out
Medical school can be a stressful time if you are undisciplined and unorganized with your studies. Therefore, try to put a schedule in place along with proper segregation of tasks.
Find a support group in your friends, family and even your fellow medical students as they will relate to your busy schedule. Keep in mind that consistent hard work pays off, but make sure you prioritize your mental health and occasionally engage in a hobby to let off some steam.
5. Find your network
Having a good network is important in any field and the medical fraternity is no different. So, try to make friends early on and bond with your fellow medical students. Also, it’s important to get to know your faculty members as they will offer you knowledge that extends beyond any curriculum.
Having supportive people around will make your time at medical school much easier and will help you flourish at medical school.
Tips for Overcoming Challenges faced by Residency Students
After graduating from medical school, students are required to go through training called medical residency. During this time, students gain first-hand experience of working in a hospital and adapt to the work environment.
During medical residency, you’re considered a real doctor- even though you’re still supervised. While exciting, students should be aware of the challenges during this period and how to overcome them.
1. Gain a healthy work-life balance
As a resident doctor, you have just stepped into the workforce, so being in the hospital can feel surreal. You should make sure that you continue to strike a balance between your personal life and work commitments.
Crucial as your job is, you cannot put your own life on hold. It is important to learn how to say no when too much is being expected from you. Being on training, you might want to prove yourself at every opportunity, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of your personal time.
2. Learn the best way to deal with stress
It is important to learn to accept your limitations and ask for help when necessary. As per the American Medical Association (AMA), engaging in mindful meditation, breathing exercises and talking about your issues with your peers helps a lot when dealing with stress.
3. Focus on developing the requisite clinical skills
Your sole purpose at the medical residency is to develop the required skills needed for a medical specialty. This is the time when you are trained by senior doctors and are expected to learn from their expertise. It’s important to have a learner-centered approach during this time as it will help you to pick the essential skills for your medical specialty.
4. Remember to be a team player
The fast-paced environment within a hospital means there is always someone who needs help or support. This can be a patient, a doctor or one of your fellow resident doctors. Therefore, it is very important to be a team player and help out others whenever possible.
Being empathetic and supportive will help you in the long run as patients are more inclined towards attentive doctors who listen well and show patience.
5. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back
While being supervised, the pressure of not making a mistake and being considered a failure can sometimes have an influence on your progress as a doctor in training. It is important to not fear failure and keep a positive mindset while gaining the key skills of being a doctor.
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