How to excel as a trainee

Excellence is an attribute where one tries to achieve the best possible in whatever he/she does.
Post graduation or residency, is the period during which the trainee is exposed to a new
environment which could be both challenging and stressful.This is the time when a resident
needs to perform clinical work, acquire new skills, study the theory behind the practical work,
perform long hours of duty, manage emergency, prepare and submit a dissertation, make
presentations in the classes, so on and so forth.
With hard work and following certain basic principles, any post graduate can excel.
This is a suggested road map for excellence……….
When you have just joined,
1) Be sure that you are going to continue in the chosen specialty
2) Try to understand the scope of the specialty in terms of syllabus, specific needs of the
specialty and opportunities after the post graduation
3) Understand the system in which you are going to work for the next three years, the
departmental rules, protocols, hierarchy, routines, academic activities and work schedule
4) Understand that the first commitment of the anaesthesiologist is to the patients and
strictly adhere to this principle throughout your career, even in challenging situations
5) Understand that it is neither skill alone nor isolated mastery over the theory that
produces excellence. Rather it is the integrated and comprehensive development of
multiple attributes developed simultaneously . For anaesthesiologist these essential
attributes are skill development, theory knowledge of anaesthesia and related medical
specialties, work ethics, presentation skills, team work, commitment and persistence.
Non technical attributes are together described as Anesthetists non technical skills
6) Be punctual: irrespective of any other work, be punctual. This is an important
prerequisite for excellence
7) Be a good team worker. Being pleasant, respectful to others, ability to listen to others
and sharing the responsibility go a long way for successful teamwork. The impression
what you create, positive as well as negative, about yourself during your residency is
surprisingly carried on for a very long time in your life
8) Go beyond the minimum call of duties. It is important to understand that whatever you
are required to do in your residency as per rules is not the maximum you can do, rather it
is the minimum expected from you. By going beyond this, you are showing your
commitment and will be raising your own standard
9) Do not give excuses for the mistakes and failures, rather accept it and try to rectify
10) Do not use others laziness or lack of commitment as an excuse for you not doing your
work properly
11) Develop good communication skills
12) Attend the teaching programs regularly and with full preparation
13) Use standard text books as your source of knowledge, and not short manuals or
somebody else’s notes
14) Be ready to be corrected when you go wrong.
15) Be polite and courteous with seniors and people around, even if you are senior
16) Start a log book and work diary in which you document all that you do everyday as far as
your professional work is concerned
17) Study the basics first and try to correlate it to clinical situations
18) Learn the concepts and principles of anesthesia as a foundation for further studies
19) Choose a right topic for dissertation
20) Complete your ACLS course. if possible, complete PALS or other life support courses
like Neonatal life support, advanced trauma life support or hazardous material life
support courses etc.
21) Remember that as anaesthesiologist, you must have knowledge and skills related to
resuscitation, pain management, sedation, intensive care and disaster management.
Also, remember that some these areas offer opportunity for you to specialize after your
22) Attend conferences and workshops regularly where you should actively listen to lectures
and discussions, ask questions and make note of all that you have learnt
23) You need to have made significant progress in your second study
As you move on to 2nd year,
24) Review whether you have completed the syllabus for the first year, whether your
knowledge level is on par with the best, whether your skills are satisfactory and the
progress of your dissertation.The best way to do is to audit your own work, so that you
will know objectively about your own work and standards
25) Go through the journal articles regularly and be update with the changes in the field.It
will also help you to automatically be prepared for the examination
26) Study in depth the important clinical topics so that you will understand the different
aspects of the problem
27) Take more responsibility in your work and develop the leadership qualities in you
28) Start teaching your juniors and technicians so that your own interest to study increases,
you will remember better and you will be sharing the knowledge. Teaching is always a
two way affair, with active participation from the taught
29) Think of few areas of the specialty where you feel, you have more interest and try to
become an expert in that area over a period of time
30) Improve your knowledge about the non anaesthesia specialties and subjects
31) Complete the part one of the dissertation
As you enter final year
32) Take more responsibilities and improve your leadership qualities
33) Audit your two years progress and achievements, so that you can introspect and start
preparing for the examination and beyond
34) Begin the second part of your dissertation setting your own deadline well ahead of
official deadline
35) Read more articles from journals, get more familiar with recent advances
As the examination is nearing
36) Organize yourself with all your log books, work dairy completed and study streamlined
37) Prepare in a systematic way with continuity in your study for exams
38) Go through old question papers
39) Focus on case discussions, drugs, equipment, ECG, ABG, CPR, X Ray etc
40) Learn to relax
41) Take mock exams seriously
42) Fill the gaps in your knowledge
43) Have a definitive way of answering questions related to drugs
Theory examinations
44) Be calm and composed
45) Have good sleep on the previous day
46) Read the questions carefully
47) Use the time properly so that all questions are answered
48) Answer as legible as possible
49) Highlight the important points
50) Organize the answers, especially main questions
51) MD Candidates should cover the recent advances and controversies related to the topic.
That creates good impression
Practical examinations
52) Prepare re all the common exam cases, but expect some changes as well.
53) Come to the examination venue at least 15 min before the scheduled time, neatly
dressed, with pen, stethoscope, ID card, wearing apron.
54) When the cases are allotted, don’t classify mentally into difficult and easy cases!
55) Greet the patient, reassure him and proceed in a systematic way; history, clinical
examination, investigations etc.
56) Write your findings neatly
57) Don’t fault in basics
58) While answering, first greet the examiner, maintain a calm and composed status and
answer with clarity
59) When you don’t know the answer, tell that you don’t know it
60) You can try to convince the examiner politely when you are very sure about an answer,
but don’t get into argument
61) You should be able to demonstrate the clinical signs and findings of you are asked for
All the best☺

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