In Applicant Questions, FAQs - Read First, Uncategorized

Applicant Question
What advice do you have for when we start residency (hopefully) at Stanford?

So sorry not to have posted a blog entry in a couple of weeks. I was energized to write an entry by an applicant during our interview today who was nice enough to say she was looking forward to the next posting.

The question above is a great question, and has a lot of possible dimensions, but I chose to focus on the perspective of our housestaff.

I surveyed some of our senior anesthesia residents and asked them, “What advice do you have for new CA1s?”

Here are their their answers:


  1. “The secret to being a good resident is common sense. Show up on time, work hard, do not complain or whine, unless absolutely necessary. Listen to attending because they have much more experience.”
  2. “My advice for first year residents would be: give yourself a lot of space. Realize that you won’t know how to do things, or know things, and don’t beat yourself up about not being fast enough with IVs for example.”
  3. “Everyone will do anesthesia differently so at least for first year put your head down and go with the flow. Take everyone’s nuances about anesthesia as an educational opportunity.”
  4. “Don’t beat yourself if you don’t nail something. Talk to other CA1s because it is likely others are going through what you are experiencing.”
  5. “First 3-4 months of CA1 year the learning curve is steep and you will come home everyday and be tired, completely exhausted which is normal and you will not be able to read (this was biggest surprise for me). But the revamped orientation program really helps.”
  6. Do not be afraid to ask questions since people know you don’t know anything, so expect to ask questions.”
  7. “Use senior residents as resource to ask questions (how to get stuff done).”
  8. “Be patient with yourself and it all comes eventually. Know that people do care about you in the department.”
  9. “It is easy to believe you are staying in OR later (or taking more call) than your classmates but you are not.”
  10. “Keep your eves and ears open, more than you think you need. Work as hard as you can but don’t forget to have fun.”
  11. “Do not be afraid to ask lots of questions, know your limits.”
  12. “Three years goes by fast so take advantage of all the great cases and teachers here.”

Here is my advice to you:

  • When at the hospital dedicate yourself to the care of the patient.
  • Have a good support structure/family/friends at home.
  • Get to know your classmates.
  • Introduce yourself to everyone in the operating room.
  • Have fun! You are beginning a journey toward a long and rewarding career in a well-respected profession. Your training at Stanford will enable you to care for the sickest patients, safely guiding them through some of their most stressful life experiences.

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