Stop keeping score. Competition can be healthy, but it’s demoralizing to worry about who got which rotation when.
“It’s easy to feeling like you are doing more of the work than other people,” Dr. Malhotra said. “I’ve seen people feel that way and I remember I did at one point. As I grew and graduated through my years, I realized I was kind of a jerk when I did all that. When people are moved around, it’s dictated by their skill level or ability or what’s requested and sometimes as a junior resident you don’t see that.”
Rely on your fellow residents. You are all trying to succeed together. There’s no harm in asking for a reprieve every once in a while, particularly in the midst of a longer shift.
“As a senior resident it has been easier to get some sleep,” Dr. Malhotra said. “The juniors aren’t quite as lucky. The junior residents who take call with me—I definitely try to make sure that they get at least some sleep. They all know that if they are exhausted that they can absolutely tell me, ‘Hey, I absolutely cannot carry on. Can you please cover for me?’”
Little things do matter. The small stuff can be what makes a unit successful, and that might not be evident early on. One detail that Dr. Malhotra grew to be a stickler for: the patient list.
“When I started in the program, junior residents were responsible for maintaining the list,” she said. “The senior residents never touched the list but they were very particular. As a junior resident, it was like ‘Come on—why does this matter?’”
“[In a graduation dinner] one of the things that [the other residents] roasted about me was how particular I am about the list. But I rely on the list entirely. I trust you to give me the information because the list is all I have as I round with the attending I want to rely on your telling me about the patient. If you don’t give me the accurate information, which is what’s on the list, then I am, in turn, not able to manage appropriately.”