Residents: How to find time for professional development

Residency Program Insider, April 5, 2019

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It is no surprise that residents spend much of their time in clinical environments, making any time off from training extremely important to take advantage of. While it is important for residents to use this time off to rest and to pursue activities unrelated to medicine—in order to combat burnout—residents should also consider setting aside some of their time off for growing as physicians. Here are three tips for finding the time for professional development.

  1. Plan ahead: When you only have a set number of days off, it’s important to make each one count. If you want to attend a conference or a meeting, plan in advance. Deciding how you want to use your time beforehand allows you to make better use of it.
  2. Work when others won’t or can’t. Holidays are the most requested vacation days. If you can, work them; this increases the likelihood that when you request other days off, someone will be able to cover for you. If someone asks you to cover a shift and you can, do it. You’re going to need time off eventually, and helping out other colleagues when they need it will encourage them to return the favor.
  3. Emphasize value. Discuss the possibility of presenting what you learned while at a meeting or conference to your colleagues. Some programs may allow this and therefore not consider it as time off. Other programs may count it towards your coursework. It’s important to highlight the value these opportunities offer to your development and that of your peers.

Source: American Medical Association

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