Physicians: Make the Most of Your Time with Medical Residents


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Expert advice on how to nurture mutually beneficial attending-resident relationships.

You were a resident once. You know firsthand that new doctors have a critical role to play in patient care. Now you have an important role in their training.

As new medical residents continue to settle into their matches, it’s beneficial to think about making the most of their presence at your practice. And starting early can have long-term benefits.

“It’s no secret that hospitals and health systems with residency programs are really interested in retaining these physicians upon graduation,” says Dr. Ben Davis, program director for the Swedish Family Medicine Residency at Swedish First Hill in Seattle. “These programs are training great physicians who, in turn, become highly skilled practitioners.

“Cultivating a positive relationship within the first two years of a medical resident’s training can help later with recruiting that physician to become part of the organization.”

Dr. Davis says forming a great relationship with medical residents starts by remembering your experiences — good and bad.

“I can vividly recall a time during my own residency when my program leaders took swift action to address a concern raised by my class,” he says. “I was very impressed by how fast that happened and how good of an experience that was. I want new residents to feel as supported as I did at that moment.

“Residents should feel like they can ask questions without being judged or punished.”

Though showing support during significant events is critical, Dr. Davis says there are many other ways to enhance a resident’s experience and create a positive working relationship.

Tips for Working With Medical Residents

1. Be open to giving medical residents learning opportunities

Every medical resident’s goal is to learn, but each one is on a different part of the learning spectrum. This is especially true when it comes to doing procedures.

Regardless, Dr. Davis says, it’s important to get residents involved in patient care to the extent that your patient is comfortable.

“If you regularly work with residents, you’ll find out what they can do and where they need more experience,” he says. “I don’t do many procedures myself anymore, because I’m always trying to get a resident involved.”

Dr. Davis often reaches out to his specialist colleagues, encouraging them to offer residents meaningful learning opportunities.

“Specialists don’t always have the benefit of knowing residents personally,” he says. “I encourage them to take a moment at the beginning of the day to ask residents what procedures they are interested in learning, or what procedures they’ve done that may be similar to those on the schedule.”

He says you can gauge a resident’s comfort level or abilities by asking them to walk you through all or part of a specific procedure.

I’m more apt to let a resident try something as long as they can walk me through it,” Dr. Davis says. “As practicing physicians and teachers, we must extend our own comfort level and help others learn.”

To read more of Dr. Davis’ tips on how providers can maximize their relationships with medical residents, check out the full article. Want to discuss your career options with an expert Recruitment Advisor? We have those on deck at Provider Solutions & Development. We offer holistic, personalized guidance to help you find the right fit, at every step in your career. Start the conversation today.



About Provider Solutions & Development  

Provider Solutions & Development is a community of experts founded within Providence, a purpose-driven, 51-hospital health system, over 20 years ago out of a clear need to change recruitment. Today we support dozens of hospital systems and serve physicians and advanced practice clinicians with heart, from residency to retirement, so they can do the same for their patients. With exclusive access to hundreds of positions across the nation, Provider Solutions & Development offers holistic, personal career guidance and placement that puts physicians and advanced practice clinician’s needs first. 

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