What’s up Doc? What To Think About as You Start Your Medical Career

It’s time to put on your white coat, grab your stethoscope and put on your clogs because you’re starting your first day in your residency! It’s been a long road to reach this point, filled with many ups and downs along the way but it has all been worth it, as you’ve arrived.

Even though you may be walking through the doors of General Hospital X, there are still lots of other factors to consider as you begin the next phase of your career. Even though your first “official” day may still be a few years in the future, it’s always smart to start planning ahead.

Are your finances in order?

With the vast majority of medical students finishing school with nearly $200,000 in debt, it’s wise to start thinking about your financial plan. Many of your early paychecks may be going to paying off that debt instead of putting a down payment down on your dream car.

Take a few steps back and look at the big picture. How quickly would you like to pay off your debt? What sacrifices would have to be made? Are there any other financial circumstances that need your immediate attention? What is your timeline?

It’s better to start thinking about these questions as soon as you can so you can rest easy at night knowing you have a strong plan. You don’t want to be caught off guard or realize you have no strategy for the next few years of your life.

Is a specialty something you want to do?

While the idea of more schooling, studying or training may seem like the last thing on your mind, many professionals pursue a speciality for their career. Some specialities are more in demand than others and you should investigate the requirements for each individual one.

Specialities can require anywhere from an additional one to four years of training and other are classified as fellowships. Additionally, states may have different requirements for each so what may be true for one colleague might be completely different for another.

Adding a speciality does come with a pay raise and there is always a market for each speciality. Check around to see if there is one that could fit your personal and career goals. Use this time in your residency to explore different options and see if it’s something you want to pursue. Just remember that it’s going to mean even more of a commitment before you can breathe easy and become a full medical professional.

Are you covered?

You have auto insurance for you car, property insurance for your house, medical insurance for any sicknesses and a life insurance policy. All of these types of insurance are necessary in today’s day and age. No one is ever expecting a catastrophe, but it’s always better to be prepared than to be caught off guard. Your car insurance will certainly come in handy if you get into an accident.

There are many factors to consider when entering the medical field, from what you want to do and where you want to work, but no matter where you go or what you do it’s important to make sure you’ve got yourself covered and secure.  No one is expecting an injury or disability to send you to the sidelines but in case it does happen you can rest easy knowing you’ll be safe and covered.

Are you taking care of yourself?

With all the hustle and bustle that was medical school, it might be easy to fall even deeper into chaos during your residency.  Exercise plans get pushed back and a nutritious diet may be substituted for easier options from the vending machine.

As hard as it may be, it’s just as important now to make sure you’re feeding your body proper food and staying away from junk food. There will be many stress filled days or sleepless nights and it’s vital to make sure you’re keeping your body healthy.

So just go back to the basics, drink plenty of water and try to pack fruits and vegetables instead of grabbing a bag of chips. You may not be able to fight the fatigue as much as you like, but you can control over what is going into your body.

Additionally, try and schedule out some exercise. Working in the medical field is a physically demanding job and while you don’t have to train for an Ironman, keeping your body in shape will pay you dividends down the line.