How to get through your first days at a new job

March 26, 2019

Don’t let the stress of inadequate preparation tarnish the first time your new colleagues see you in action.

Editor's Note: Welcome to Medical Economics' blog section which features contributions from members of the medical community. These blogs are an opportunity for bloggers to engage with readers about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The opinions expressed here are that of the authors and not UBM / Medical Economics.

Increasing numbers of physicians are choosing to work in more than one hospital or clinic. Aside from this having educational and financial benefits for any doctor, it’s also a great opportunity to refine your medical and professional expertise. The more environments a doctor works in, the more computer systems and work cultures they are able to navigate. And the more diverse patient populations they meet, the better modern physician they will ultimately be. Nevertheless, those first couple of days working in any new facility will always be a challenge, so here’s some advice:

1. Familiarize yourself with as much as possible beforehand

Don’t just walk into a new healthcare facility without doing some solid preparation for what’s about to hit you (a really bad idea!). While attending the orientation sessions is a must, you need to do more. Get to know the layout of the floors and note where everything is (e.g., computer terminals, nursing stations, etc.). Learn as much as you can about the EHR and actually practice using it before your first day.

2. Know all important contact numbers

Whether it’s the paging system or cellphones, know how to quickly get in touch with anyone you need to-don’t just rely on the unit secretary. This applies particularly to your immediate supervisor, as questions or issues are bound to arise initially. When you’ve have patients to see, it will be very frustrating to spend time searching for these numbers.

3. Start early and expect to finish late

You are going to need some extra time to adjust, so be prepared for that. Even the most seasoned doctors cannot just walk into a new hospital or clinic and work at light speed. You will certainly get to your usual pace in a few days but expect the first one or two to be slow going. Don’t plan for a 6 p.m. dinner at that nice nearby restaurant.

Congratulations for being in a profession with high demand. You likely will have your pick of opportunities. Show all the places you work what a stellar physician you are, and how lucky they are to have you! First impressions are always crucial and tough to come back from if you get off on the wrong foot. Don’t let the stress of inadequate preparation tarnish the first time your new colleagues see you in action.

Suneel Dhand, MD, is an internal medicine physician, author and speaker. He is the cofounder at DocsDox, a service that helps physicians find local moonlighting and per diem opportunities, bypassing the expensive middleman.