What to Expect During Your Residency

Residency is a passage. It is a time of immense personal and professional growth, possibly the most intense learning period of your life. It can be a time of stress, but it can also be a time of great satisfaction.

Residency is the difference between being a medical school graduate and being a doctor. In the right environment, you will acquire more during your residency than just a professional credential. You will gain a new set of close friends, role models, a collection of stories that you will tell for the rest of your life, self-confidence, and competence. And you should not have to sacrifice family or personal interests in the process.

It has been observed that residents are subject to two kinds of stress.1 One is the unpleasant kind that serves no purpose other than to grind you down (also called distress). The other is the good kind that challenges you and provides substrate for growth. The successful residency program must minimize the nonproductive, abrasive kind of stress while providing a challenging, stimulating work environment. Put differently, the balance between service and education must be guarded zealously by the program's leadership. We at UMass Memorial take this responsibility very seriously.

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1 Ziegler JL, Strull WM, Larsen RC, et al. Stress and Medical Training. Western J Med