Great Expectations

By Sasmit Sarangi

As residents, we are expected to meet and exceed the requirements of our patients, colleagues, and supervisors. After the completion of the Match, and after the euphoria settles down, we are ultimately left with weight of our own expectations.

There is a mixture of excitement about managing patients independently (almost!) and the trepidation of being stuck in an unfamiliar clinical situation with no help in sight. The long and arduous process of becoming an independent physician is well and truly in full swing. Managing these expectations well is a challenge as they will definitely help you stay motivated throughout residency, but at the same time you don’t want them to be your own personal albatross as well.

It is vital that self-improvement targets are attainable (for you) in the least stressful way without risking professional burn out.

The crux of my argument is this… we are lucky to get this opportunity and perhaps we can learn vital skills for our future careers and enjoy the process at the same time. Of course, it is very easy to be introspective when one has free time, but holding the line in the face of incessant work and personal demands will be the real challenge.

I am a big believer in the fact that, ultimately, we have to be the best residents we can be and not better than someone else. Expectations that are beholden to our coworkers’ performances and that are comparative are bound to be short sighted and unfulfilling in the long term.

Ultimately our performance is based on the standard of patient care that we can provide as a team and no professional or personal goals can be of higher priority. Also, horribly bad jokes are definitely better when shared with the whole team.

It is important to always remember that so many of us have not been able to match this year and will need to go through the entire application and interview process all over again. I am currently knee deep in the trenches of my residency and visa paper work, and I am hoping that all the disparate parts of the process will click together just in time for me to start my residency. I am also trying to study some content every day so as not to be the proverbial deer in the headlights during my first month as an intern.

Then there is Step 3 as well……..

Here’s to our hopes and great expectations! May they always keep our lives fresh, exciting, and enjoyable.


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