As graduation day approaches and you get ready to move from residency to your first job as an attending EM or HM physician, you will find that your life is about to change drastically.

A blog post from KevinMD sums up the changes best. In it, they explain the shifts from:

  • Student to clinician;
  • Bread eater to bread winner;
  • “Life on hold” to “life on the go”;
  • No business to KNOW business;
  • An internal focus (lectures, rounds, boards, research, study, call) to an external focus (employer, patient care, malpractice, kids, spouse, financial obligations, house and car);
  • Obligations to yourself and obligations to others.

This is a huge transition in your life. As the mentioned post details, you begin to create your own “curriculum” versus having it created for you. You’re certainly approaching the unknown in this post-residency lifestyle.

The four tips that follow, from Andrew Pacos, MD, Schumacher Clinical Partners Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs, will help ensure that you manage the transition more successfully.

1. Keep Calm and Don’t Get Overwhelmed

As you begin your post-residency career, it is important to realize that the “real world” is an entirely different ball game than residency training. You will now be charged with making your own decisions rather than relying on an attending as back up.

Although you are taking on a big task, refuse to become overwhelmed or frightened. Draw upon your years of training and the knowledge that you retained during medical school and residency, and know that you are equipped to handle any situation that arises.

2. Get to Know Members of the Staff

Building positive relationships with the people you interact with on a daily basis is vital to your career success. Learn more about the attending physicians, nurses, medical directors, administration, office manager, and other staff. Get to know them on a personal level by finding out where they are from and how long they’ve been at the facility.

3. Maintain a Healthy Work-life Balance

The importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance is one of the main keys to success in coming out of residency.

All too often, I see newly graduated residents burn out in their first year of post-residency because they did not maintain a positive balance. It is easy to get caught up in all of the job offers thrown at you and extra shifts that can be picked up on the side. But don’t underestimate the importance of making sure your work life is stable, meeting your needs to make a living, and pay back your student loans.

It goes without saying that personal fitness is also a key to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. So take care of yourself, making sure you get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise regularly.

4. Get to Know the City Where You Live

As a 2016 graduating resident, most likely, you already have your post-residency career lined up. For those of you moving to a city or state other than your training location, I cannot stress highly enough the importance of fully embedding yourself in the community where you will live.

Not only will you have to be happy with your work environment but you and your family will also need to be content with your living environment. If you have (or plan to have) children, get acquainted with the local school systems, and familiarize yourself with local restaurants, attractions, and activities.

For residents graduating in 2017 and beyond, now is a good time to think about this tip. When you begin your job search and start interviewing for positions, visit and learn more about the surrounding communities as well.

If you have some advice for graduating residents, leave a comment below.