July 1st is here!! As an Academic General Pediatrician, I can’t believe that I will be meeting and working with new Pediatric interns this coming week! While it was bittersweet to say good-bye to our 3rd year residents moving onto fellowship or new jobs, I always look forward to meeting brand new physicians who are ready to dive into learning about Pediatrics. While it is hectic, tiring, frustrating and scary, embarking on this new leg of your very long journey is something you are ready for.  

Last week, one of my 4th year medical students called me from her OB-Gyn residency.  She was in a new city, surrounded by new colleagues and learning an entirely new system (including that pesky EMR).  What I told her is this: You may feel that you know nothing, but that’s not true. Ask for help, from your attendings and senior residents—that’s what we are here for. You are not bothering us.  You are caring for patients, responsible for someone’s heath and well-being. Medicine is collaborative.  Congratulations, DOCTOR! 

Keep reading to get more great advice from our amazing Women in White Coats.

Don’t be afraid to fail big. Success is a personal definition that changes with you. 

-Sujata Gill/General Surgery

Ask questions despite your apprehension because you are likely not the only one with that thought. Use your efficiency skill set to get the work done and take care of your patients well. 

-Charmaine Gregory, EM

Rather than “end of education/training”, consider this to be “the beginning of professional life” so start to make useful connections, ask strategic questions, develop skills and consider what life aspects matter to you as you gravitate towards a subspecialty.
– Uche Njiaju, IM and Hematology/Oncology

Read about your patients everyday. In a textbook, journal article, something. This is how you grow your knowledge base. 

-Candice Evans FM/Hospice

Find your mentors – search for the people doing the work you want to be doing and living life the way you envision. Learn from them, and not just the clinical medicine.

-Adrienne Yourek, Psychiatry

Find a strong female mentor in your field as soon as you can, but also be prepared to ignore their advice and go with your gut. They have invaluable advice, but that doesn’t mean you always have to follow it! 

-Megan Lemay, Internal Medicine

Be super professional at all times. Make being respected as a doctor by support staff and patients your number one priority. Friendships with support staff may come later but this should not be the primary goal.

-Archana Shrestha, EM

Listen to your patients! Hear them! Do not talk over them and don’t Google or text in front or with patients!

-K. Bohm, OBGYN

For interns male or female, especially in the ICU- do not be afraid to learn from the nurses. They are there to help you take care of your patients.

-Jakemia Coleman, Pulm/CCM

It’s ok to be afraid! It’s the first time you are being called a Doctor! Enjoy it because with the title comes burdens no one can prepare you to face. Live in the small moments, love the big moments, cry with patients, cry with staff, pray with whoever asks, and always remind Yourself why you wanted to be ”The Doctor.” 

-Kat Pederson, DO, MS speciality: FM/NMM

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1. Know your patients. Talk to them, listen to them, read about them and their disease processes. 2. Make lists. Check the boxes. Don’t think you’ll just remember….write it down. 3. Learn from the nursing staff, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, etc. many of them have been doing this since before you were born. 4. It’s okay to say I don’t know. You aren’t expected to know everything already. You are expected to tell the truth and look some things up on your own. 5. Your primary goal as an intern is to learn “sick” from “not sick.” You will learn all the nuances as we go, but knowing this one will ensure you know when to call for help. 6. Never be afraid to load the boat. Call for help. People won’t get mad at you for calling too much (annoyed, maybe, mad, no), but they will be mad if you don’t call the one time you should have. 7. It’s okay to stop and eat. Take care of you because there’s only one of you and you can’t care for patients if you are not well. 

-Stepheny Berry, MD, FACS – Trauma/Surgical Critical Care/Acute Care Surgery

At times residency can be fun and other times it can be tough. During the fun times, be sure to enjoy them. Dance a little. Laugh a little. And enjoy the lifelong friendships that you will find. But in those tough times: take things day by day. If you can’t do that, then take things hour by hour. If you can’t do that, then take things minute by minute. And if that’s difficult too, take things second by second. Eventually you will reach the finish line…or at least the next rotation!

-Amber Robins, MD, MBA, Family Medicine

Read our book “The Chronicles of Women In White Coats” because it will make you realize that we all struggle and we all overcome obstacles. And it will help you realize that you are not alone.

To hang out more with the amazing women doctors you hear from on our site, check out the Women in White Coats Doctors’ Lounge, our virtual doctors’ lounge created JUST FOR WOMEN DOCTORS. Its an exclusive membership area meant to empower and support you throughout your career. Inside our Doctors Lounge you will gain access to webinars from experts on topics relevant to women doctors, discounts on our online CME courses and special invitations to member-only events.  To become a member click here.