You may be more than halfway through your residency program or about to graduate residency. And it may feel like you have been through the wringer. Not only have you made it through the call, but you have also studied all the minutia that you need to know to take the core exam. So, can life change that much more when you become an attending? I mean, it’s only a few years or less away. Well, for your education (and entertainment, of course!), we will go through the top ten differences between a senior resident and an attending. Let’s go from least to most noticeable!
Shallower Breadth And Increasing Depth Of Knowledge
Believe it or not, beginning a full-time job still changes what you know. Remember all that detailed information from the case review series and the survey books? And, of course, all that detail you learned from studying for the core examination? Where does it go? Let’s put it this way; your brain begins to trim out what you no longer use. So, that full breadth of knowledge you learned from studying for your core exam? Yes, gone! Instead, one of the biggest differences is that you remember the relevant information you need to know daily for your specific areas of expertise.
You’re Now The Expert
For the first time, you da’ man (or woman!). Regardless of your feelings, your colleagues see you as a guru in your specialty. A very different feel from your previous work as a resident or fellow in training!
Horses First, Then Zebras
As an attending, you know what you see because you have experienced it many times. The zebras only come out when you have exhausted all the horses first. Usually, not the case for residents!
Patients And Doctors Want To See You!
No longer are you an intermediary in the way of your attendings. Patients and doctors ultimately want to hear from the man or woman of final reckoning in the report. And that is you! Feels good to be desired. One of the biggest differences!
Need To Get A Move On!
No longer can you rest on your laurels as you did as a resident during the daytime. You have a job to do, and it must get done. If not you as an attending, then who? A hundred cases? If they do not get read by the end of the day, you hear and see a queue of angry clinicians and patients!
More Vacation But Perhaps Not At The Best Times!
You may notice that you took a vacation during residency, usually at the standard times- Christmas, spring break, or summer. And although the residency required some coverage from one or two of your fellow residents, most could still take off at those times. Well, alas, this is all about to change! And although you may receive more vacation in general, your practice will still need significant coverage during these favorite vacation slots. And who needs to work at these times? You!
In the end, no longer can a senior cover for your mistakes. You are coming onto a shift in the morning and looking at the night resident’s dictations. Well, you own them. His and your mistakes are your problems! Miss cancer, your reputation, license, and nest egg are on the line!
Loans Come Due
You think all the money you earn as an attending is your own, right? Wrong! On day one, as you start your first job, the loan servicers ask for their due. Forbearance of your loans is no longer an option. Thousands of dollars per month only to service your student loan debt. Welcome to the real world.
Imagine rolling along for years at a time, garnering biweekly or monthly paychecks, and coming home with a few thousand dollars a pop. And, then suddenly, Whoosh! You notice that the direct deposit fills your account with something more substantial. Feels good, doesn’t it?
Now for the bad news. The more significant paycheck comes with more considerable account drainage from those expenses. Those larger paychecks suddenly drain rapidly from your bank account with new costs from a new house, car, loan payments, and child care. Where did all that increased pay go?
Final Thoughts About Differences Between A Senior Resident And A Radiology Attending
So, there you go. Perhaps, not what you thought? Or, maybe it was? Regardless, now you know what to expect to change once you graduate!