Thoughts of my summer vacation are on the back burner now as I prepare to welcome the incoming pediatric residents. July 1st has a special meaning to all of us who have survived the grind of an internship. Fear was probably my main emotion at the start of my residency, while I’m sure for others it was excitement and anticipation. On July 8, I have to give a talk to the newcomers at our institution. I’m expected to focus on the importance of the in-training exam (ITE) and of preparing for the pediatric boards throughout residency. I plan to present evidenced-based information, such as the results of the 2008 study by Althouse and McGuinness, which suggested that the ITE is an important predictor of a resident’s chances of passing the general pediatric certifying exam.
Touching on these matters in my talk is all well and good. However, it seems to me that the most valuable “information” I can give new residents is practical words of wisdom from those who have gone before. Certainly passing the boards is extremely important; still, so much more is needed to become a great pediatrician.
I have a unique opportunity here to solicit words of wisdom from those of you who have made it through residency and emerged successfully on the other side. Any practical tips you may have for making the most of residency, for staying academic even though exhausted, for passing the boards—or anything else you think is pertinent—would be much appreciated . . . and incorporated into my lecture! Here’s an opportunity to influence the next generation of baby docs.