I Wish I Had Known: How to Make the Most During Residency

Hi! Good morning, I’m Naomi Dolly and I’m currently the fellow in Advanced Medical Dermatology at NYU Medical Center.

I would like to talk to you today a little bit about your journey as a resident and some things that I [feel] that you should probably do or know while doing your residency.

First of all, I know that I should congratulate you on becoming a resident. But just know that your journey to become a very proficient and efficient dermatologist has now begun.

During your journey as a resident

I would say during your first year, second year, and third year— you should really use this time to gather as much information as possible, and this could be very simple. I will always say start off with reading a lot. You don’t need to read every single book that exists. But just pick one book, read it thoroughly. And just go through as many references as you need as you go through that book. I think that it’s very important to go through the entire book. Because I think from there you can now decide what aspects of dermatology you really like and what aspects you don’t like.

So the main subsets of dermatology would be medical dermatology, pediatric dermatology, dermatologic surgery, and cosmetic dermatology. For me, choosing medical dermatology, as I said, usually came from the reading a lot. And also getting very familiar with a lot of patients. This is something that I think you should also pay attention to because, in addition to reading your text, your patients are your main tool that teaches you a lot. From learning from your patients and listening to them, you can get a really good idea as to do I like doing this? Do I like helping this particular group of patients? Or you may just decide that I like to do a little bit of everything and you just do more general dermatology. Then you can more or less incorporate all of these different fields into a practice.

If you’re not sure as to what field or dermatology or if you think you want to get more insight as to what is out there or what certain therapies or treatments or managements or how different diseases are managed, do not think that your residency or what you do within your residency time is beholden and all. There are many resources whereby you can participate in mentorship programs. There’s the Women’s Derm Society, the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Academy of Dermatopathology, the American Society of Dermatopathology. There’s also the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery. All of these have a lot of resources to offer and a lot of mentorships whereby you can now decide if you would like to further understand a particular disease and you can learn from some of the many different [doctors who are] considered giants in these different entities.

Another thing that I think that you should try to do in residency is don’t be afraid to make to make mistakes.

I think as a resident I learned the most from my mistakes. During residency is actually a good time to ask questions and then to be corrected on your mistakes. Because once you’re finished your residency and an attending, you’re now expected to know everything. That may be something that may have a lot of different ramifications for your mistakes that would have been [resolved] in residency.