What I Wish I Knew

Residency Tips

Welcome to What I Wish I Knew!

Residency is a learning experience where the learning never stops, whether you’re a PGY-1 or a PGY-7. What I Wish I Knew is a monthly, themed program where residents are invited to submit anonymous tips on residency following that month’s theme. Residents will receive a $5 Starbucks gift card for their submissions, and the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card on the last weekday of every month.

Submissions will be published anonymously with only the PGY available on this page as they come in.

Are you a resident interested in submitting a tip? Check out the submission guidelines below. If you have any questions, please contact info@residentdoctorsbc.ca.

  • Submission Guidelines

    1. One entry per resident, per month.
    2. The tip must be on theme.
    3. Pease only submit a tip you are comfortable with being published online.
    4. Your personal details, with the exception of your PGY, will be omitted when published online.
    5. You will receive an email confirming your submission, and a copy of your submission.
    6. You will receive a $5 digital Starbucks gift card for your submission.
    7. A draw from all entries that month will be held on the last weekday of each month, for a $100 digital Amazon gift card.

  • Submit a Tip


  • What I Wish I Knew Before Working a Major Holiday

    To create a reminder for myself to submit to payroll, that I worked on the holiday, on UBC RMS!” – PGY2 

    When I started residency, I wish I knew that you can request alternate days off over the winter holidays. For example, Hanukkah instead of Christmas. Read that collective agreement!” – PGY5 

    That the lieu day you earn is good for an entire calendar year!” – PGY4 

    “That you are eligible for a lieu day for being post call on a stat!” – PGY1 

    I wish I knew what coffee shops and lunch places are open nearby when on holiday call.” – PGY5 

    If you need extra money, email your chief resident and ask to be scheduled on call during the major holiday. I didn’t know that the demand for stat shifts was high and you need to ask early!” – PGY2 

    To always remember to check in with patients about their feelings regarding being in hospital during this visit, and making it as special as possible for them if they celebrate” – PGY1 

    Remember to keep track of when you worked holiday shifts, as in most cases, your earned lieu day will generally expire 12 months from that holiday date worked.  Be sure to use those up!” – PGY3 

    Be sure to clarify expectations beforehand with the administration and clinical staff if you are expected to work on statutory holidays.
    If you do, make sure to keep note which days you work to submit on RMS for the extra stat pay!” – PGY1 

    “You will never find a better staffed hospital than on a major holiday.” – PGY1 

    “You are entitled to a lieu day if you work on a major holiday!” – PGY3 

    Lieu days can be used within 12 months and do not need to be used during the block they were acquired!” – PGY2 

    “I have young children, so I try not to work major holidays that are important to my family. However, when I do, the extra pay and lieu day are nice perks!” – PGY2 

    If your post call day lands on a holiday that is a stat day, you’re entitled to a lieu day.” – PGY2 

    “You don’t need to be on call to get stat pay over a holiday. Coming in and rounding on patients qualifies for stat pay, but you need proof (email etc) that you were asked to come in and provide patient care.” – PGY2 

    That you get a lieu day for working a holiday.” – PGY2  

    “keep track of lieu days that you incur by working holidays by keeping a reminder or note on your phone. Make sure to use it within 1 year!” – PGY2 

    “Don’t forget stats get extra pay and you still get a lieu day of your choosing within 12 months!” – PGY1 

    “Make sure you communicate with your team about taking a lieu day if you are working a major holiday or if your vacation includes a stat holiday.” – PGY1 

    “Make sure you submit your workday to RMS to get paid your full amount!” – PGY5 

     “That even though working starts are in high demand, submit those requests anyways! Your chiefs will work hard to distribute them equally and you may even end up working a split shift.” – PGY4 

    “That you are eligible for a day in lieu after working a major holiday (except for Christmas and New Years) to be used within 1 year of working that day!” – PGY3  

    “Lieu days can be used for up to 12 months after the statutory holiday you worked” – PGY3 

    “That you do not get days in lieu for certain stats such as Christmas and New Year’s.” – PGY3 

    “communicate amongst the team members on the day prior to ensure everyone is aware that the holiday is coming up, and anticipated discharges are prepared, to help out the person working on the stat” – PGY1 

    “You’ll be eligible for a lieu day for working a stat!” – PGY1 

    “How important it is to take advantage of the holidays you do have off!” – PGY1 

     “I wish I knew that occasionally there would be lots of goodies waiting for us in the resident lounge for the Christmas and New Year holidays” – PGY5 

    “Make sure to submit the holiday you worked on the RMS!” – PGY5 

    “Holidays in the hospital have their perks! There is usually extra nursing support and depending on the holiday and hospital there might be special activities like halloween treats or holiday songs! Find some joy in it and celebrate extra on your lieu day.” – PGY3 

     “If you’re on call on a stat holiday, try to make alternative arrangements for celebrating with your loved ones! Just because you’re working doesn’t mean that the holiday is lost!” – PGY3 

     “That you can make the workplace feel fun and festive too. There will likely be lots of treats to help with that.” – PGY2 

     “Make sure you log your call on RMS and soon as your finished the shift! And remember that in contrast to flex days, these lieu days expire one year from the date you earned them! So they can be used to add onto a vacation later or create a long weekend.” – PGY2 

    “Major holidays can be one of two extremes.  It could either really quiet or really busy, so be ready for both!” – PGY1 

    “Practically speaking, some rotations will be more resistant towards you taking a lieu day off not earned on their rotation. Check in with them earlier than later if you would like to take that day off. If there is unreasonable push back, consider escalating (we have a right to take lieu days up to 12 months after earning them, as per our contract).” – PGY2 

    “I wish I knew to get the schedule confirmation in an email so I can submit it for stat pay” – PGY2 

    “Many rotations and clinical sites may be on extended breaks as well, so make the most of your time off!” – PGY4 

    “To have some plans set around so I still have some time with family and friends beforehand” – PGY1 

     “You get a lieu day that the program encourages you to use during that block, but you can bank it and use it within 12 months!” – PGY1 

    “You get a lieu day (but no stat pay) if you’re post-call on a holiday” – PGY1 

    “That most coffee shops and restaurants are closed early on Christina’s Eve and Christmas Day, so either order early or pack your own food!” – PGY2 

    “you are eligible for a lieu day if you are post call on the stat, not just on call!” – PGY1 

    “Make sure you submit on the online system to get your stat pay and keep track of your lieu days!” – PGY5 

    “I wish I knew that I am entitled to five consecutive days off over the holiday season and to communicate with my schedulers early about this!” – PGY4 

    “You get additional pay multiplier for the working the stat day as well as can get on call pay.” – PGY5 

    “Holidays are very unpredictable in terms of how busy they might be! Bringing snacks and treats for yourself, as well as something cozy for the call room. This is helps make the experience more comfortable, especially if there ends up being some time to relax.” – PGY3 

    “Hospital restaurants can be closed during holidays, so be sure to bring food/snacks, or risk being stranded without any food options!” – PGY2 

    “That nursing staff levels tend to be fabulous… that is until midnight. While it’s sad to miss out on time with family there are definitely some nice parts about working holidays.” – PGY1 

    “It’s sort of like being on call on the weekend in that there’s less personnel available if you need help. People tend to be a little grumpy because they’re not off enjoying the holiday, especially patients. Remember to be empathetic in those moments when someone is less than pleasant to you. The work you’re doing is equally as important on a holiday as any other day, even if people are less appreciate of you.” – PGY1 

    “Working holidays can be busy since many people are off work. Remember to pack many treats to help keep your spirits up and plan self care time with family/friends to celebrate the holidays when you are off work!” – PGY2 

    “Bring your cheeriest self to shift! The more holiday vibes that go around, come around!” – PGY1 

     “If on elective in another province, you can still submit for stat pay (it may or may not be paid out but worth a shot!)” – PGY5 

    “Wearing costumes or festive wear can be fun and help make the holiday feel like a holiday even at work, but make sure it is easily removable in case of an unexpected acute situation or need for breaking bad news.” – PGY3 

    “If you don’t celebrate Christmas, you may be able to request your days off for the holiday you celebrate instead” – PGY2 

    “Make sure to pick another day to celebrate the occasion with your friends and family!” – PGY2 

    “The hospital cafe and cafeterias are closed!! Bring food/drinks!” – PGY2 

    “Coworkers and patients still make on call holidays feel like holidays” – PGY2 

    “Don’t stress out too much! A lot of the quieter call shifts I’ve had have been on stats/holidays, especially around Christmas. The extra stat pay isn’t so bad either.” – PGY5 

    “paid time and half + lieu day 😊” – PGY2 

    “Check to see if there hospital where you’re working is doing anything fun to celebrate the holiday – sometimes units will have Potluck Parties on the major holidays which makes things even more fun!” – PGY4

    “If you celebrate that holiday, try to organise another time to celebrate with your community. Even if you’re working, marking those important celebrations is still valuable!” – PGY1 

    “If you work Christmas, there are many treats that people will bring in so you will get plenty of snacks. Beware the lure of desserts.” – PGY5 

    “Working a stat holiday means you get both a lieu day and stat pay!” – PGY4 

    “That you earn a lieu day for being post–call on a stat holiday!” – PGY2 

    “Figure out if the food places in the hospital have holiday hours or are closed. You might need to pack food if that’s the case!” – PGY1 

    “I wish I knew that you could ‘trade’ stat days for days that matter to you. For example, if you are Jewish and prefer to take Jewish holidays off (and don’t care to take national/Christian holidays off) you can e–mail your chiefs asking to switch days off ex “I would like to take the first day of passover off and wouldn’t mind to work Xmas instead). This way you won’t have to use personal or vacation days to take time away when you need it for religious reasons.” – PGY1 

    “Plan ahead with your family, and then enjoy the double pay and lieu day!” – PGY2 

    “You get a lieu day if we are post 24hr call on a stat, but you don’t qualify for stat pay. I thought you didn’t get a lieu day for being post call on a stat.” – PGY1 

    “That it’ll be okay! Communicate and let your friends and family know. Ideally, you can celebrate with your loved ones on a different day. Notice in advance can help you plan alternative arrangements and help others understand. If it’s a holiday very important to you and you have to work, try to also carve out some time in the day for yourself.” – PGY1 

    “On holidays, different departments might have little celebrations with free food for their staff. Keep an eye/ear out wherever you are working!” – PGY2 

    “Organize a long weekend with dedicated activities on an alternative weekend – you get a lieu day for working on a holiday and can still enjoy that time if you plan ahead!” – PGY1 

    “Submit your worked stat day to RMS for holiday pay!” – PGY5 

    “Holidays and nursing potlucks go hand in hand (at least pre COVID). Make friends and get some tasty home made snacks!” – PGY5 

    “Remember to bring some books/work to do if you are working a stat. It can be slower than usual with people spending time with their families and not coming to hospital, which can often mean extra sleep and down time. If it is busy, it will usually be interesting cases, so win–win for working the stat!” – PGY5 

    “I wish I knew exactly how much additional money we are entitled to when submitting our stat holiday shift to both UBC RMS and RDBC call stipend portal. It would have helped to keep me going during a busy major holiday shift!” – PGY1 

    “Book flights early (Just buy months in advance at a cheap price, with the option to edit the dates) because some rotations won’t be diligent at sending out call schedules, and by that time the flight tickets will be $$$$” – PGY5 

    For some holidays you not only get a lieu day but also 2.5x pay which can be a sweet bonus!” – PGY2 

    “If you’re on a longer rotation (>4 weeks), you can add lieu days onto your Christmas/New Years holiday to make your holiday vacation longer!” – PGY1 

    “Per the Collective Agreement (Section 22.01, Mileage):

    A Resident, scheduled by the Program Director to be on–call (off site) and who is called back shall receive:
    (A)  an allowance of fifty cents ($0.50) per kilometer; or
    (B)  taxi fare from home to the hospital and return.
    The minimum allowance shall be two dollars ($2.00) per each round trip.” – PGY2 

    “Some holidays can make some rotations (especially emergency) more busy, as people are out and about doing things that get them injured! Be mentally prepared 😊” – PGY2 

    “The hospital can be fun on holidays! Because of kind nurses, I’ve had turkey on Thanksgiving, mashed potatoes on Christmas 🙂
    Home is where the heart is on holidays, but the hospital cheer can be something special too!” PGY5 

    “Every time you work a holiday, you get lieu days. Accumulate enough lieu days  and you can add a mini vacation at some other time!” – PGY1 

    “It can be helpful to keep track of when you work a major holiday to ensure you submit your call stipends to the right place. Before working a holiday, I put a note in my Google calendar to (1) submit stat pay to RMS (2) log lieu day.” – PGY1 

    “You can ask for lieu days when you work a stat!” – PGY1 

    “You are entitled to a lieu day if post-call on a stat holiday – and the lieu day can be taken anytime during the year (doesn’t have to be that block)” – PGY2
    “Submit my holiday worked on RMS immediately after the stat so I don’t forget to claim it and make that extra money!” – PGY3 

    “lieu day earned for the holiday should be used with one year (starts from the date we earned holiday)” – PGY1 

    “Sometimes shifts start later as a weekend day shift might!” – PGY1 

    “That it can be a lot of fun, and a lot of the staff and patients are appreciative that you are there!” – PGY1 

    “What my responsibilities are during a holiday shift.” – PGY1 

    “Not every “major holiday” is a stat holiday.” – PGY2 

    “Don’t be afraid to make your preferences known. If you have family who isn’t local you can at times request a week off in January and couple this with 5 days off over new years.” – PGY5 

    “There will be treats all over the hospital – join the fun at work!” –PGY5 

    “That you can still celebrate the holiday on a different day and it can be just as magical! ✨” – PGY1 

    “There is some flexibility in getting the lieu day, but it’s hard to miss out on family events.” – PGY4 

    “Often allied health professionals will intentionally pick up stats given the significant increase in pay, so staffing is normally awesome on holidays, and look out for treats/snacks around the ward to scrump.” – PGY3 

    “Make your own holiday! My partner and I ask to work the same holidays and use our lieu days to celebrate holidays on our own time.” – PGY1 

    “If you are working a stat holiday, you will get stat pay as well as a lieu day on top of that. You only get stat pay if the shift starts on the holiday. You will receive a lieu day if your shift starts or ends on the holiday!” – PGY1 

    “I wish I knew how nice it can actually be working a holiday because the hospital is so well staffed due to holiday pay!” – PGY2 

    “I wish I knew to pack my fridge full of groceries and meal prep beforehand!” – PGY4 

    “I wish I knew that only working on the stat holiday itself (shift MUST start on the stat) is what gives you the stat pay. So if you don’t mind working that weekend, then better off to ask to work that stat day to get the stat pay. However, under the newer rules you are entitled to a lieu day if you’re postcall on a stat. Try to use your lieu days ASAP since otherwise you may not be able to use them all.” – PGY4 

    “That you are entitled to a lieu day if your call shift ends on a stat holiday! AND you have 12 months to use the lieu day!” – PGY2 

    “Remember to submit for stat pay and take a lieu!” – PGY3 

    “Being called in from home call entitles you to coverage of travel and taxi back to the hospital” – PGY5 

    “When choosing to work Christmas vs. New Years, it is good to consider that the Christmas week shift is usually less busy than the New Years shift. The reason why is unclear. The hypothesis is that sometimes patients with mild to moderate conditions would prefer to stay home over Christmas and only comes to hospital after the holiday break around New Years. 

    Another tip is to volunteer to work Christmas (usually most people want Christmas off). This way you can combined your almost one week off at New Years with one week vacation scheduled after new years for a 2 week off window, which may allow for longer planned trips.” – PGY5 

  • What I Wish I Knew Before My First Call Shift

    “I wish I knew to pack a meal for my first call shift. There may be no time to buy meals during call and when there is, restaurants might be closed!” – PGY3

    “I wish I knew where all the biopsy supplies in the hospital were located on evenings/weekends when the clinics were closed.” – PGY5

    “Nurses are your friends on call. Sometimes they may have an idea of what could be done first when they page you with a question, so just ask them for suggestions :)” – PGY2

    “It’s okay to take food/bathroom breaks on call! It’s a long shift.” – PGY4

    “You really are not on your own. The senior resident and/or staff expect and want to be called to assist you and help you learn!” – PGY3

    “Bring lots of snacks! Opportunities to eat might be limited and you might not be hungry for a full meal at 3am, but eating food throughout helps you feel better!” – PGY1

    “That you may be called to a resuscitation before your staff, even as an early R1, and reviewing NRP steps is essential.” – PGY1

    “Keeping a list of frequently needed hospital extensions handy (ward you are covering, emerg, CT) so that you don’t have to go through switchboard every time. This will save you a surprising amount of time in the long run.” – PGY2

    “I wish I knew that everything would be okay! If you’re stuck, ask for help. The learning curve is steep and everyone starts as a beginner (whether they remember it or not). Also, prepare for your shift with extra food/snacks, portable chargers, extra clothes, hygiene items, and anything else you might need. And don’t forget to take a deep breath!” – PGY1

    “To always know where you can get coffee/snacks at 3am or to plan accordingly if they aren’t available.” – PGY2

    “If you can find time to brush your teeth during the evening/night, you’ll feel totally refreshed!” – PGY1

    “Take time to eat, especially when it is very busy and there are back-to-back consults. Let your senior resident or attending know you’re going to take a 30-minute food break and they will almost always be understanding. You need to take care of yourself so that you can be the best doctor for your patients!” – PGY6

    “Figuring out who you can reach out to for help, and this depends on the rotation you’re on – it can be other coresidents on at the same time, the staff, CCOT (if you’re imminently worried about someone) and the consulting service!” – PGY1

    “Make sure to take lots of snacks and food because the cafeterias usually close early.” – PGY2

    “Back up is always available.” – PGY2

    “Bring granola bars- or any snacks you prefer! Keep a small snack in your pocket. You can eat it quickly if you are super busy during a shift. Nurses are your friends! They are a wealth of information and happy to provide help.” – PGY2

    “That no matter how busy it may seem, there is always enough time to take 10 minutes to yourself and drink some water and eat food. Prioritize that!” – PGY3

    “Bring a change of socks and a warm sweater – sometimes call rooms are freezing.” – PGY2

    “If you forget to bring toothbrush/personal care items on call, ask any nurse on the ward to help you! The wards have toothbrushes, toothpaste, shower wipes, etc. Also the surgical wards have the best leftover crackers/PB because everyone’s NPO :)” – PGY3

    “Brush your teeth and wash your face if you get the chance!” – PGY3

    “It’s always much smoother if you have a phone number of your chief resident or other residents who have done the rotation before you so you can easily text/call with any questions or if you get confused about your role on your first call shift. Support is key!” – PGY5

    “Always pack extra docs and underwear especially if you’re on OB.” – PGY3

    “Have a call bag where you have all your comforts that can really make your call shift so much better. This can include a phone charger and cord, trail mix snacks, hygiene products, a book, etc.” – PGY1

    “To check in with the nursing staff before winding down for the night! You can often sage yourself a number of calls that trickle in over the course of the night and get more sleep!” – PGY1

    “How hard it would be to fall asleep. Not sure if others can relate, but the dread of the pager going off was something I would struggle to adjust to. As a result, when things were quiet I had a lot of difficulties actually getting rest which I would really feel the effects of when I did get called to action. How did I learn to adjust? Meditate on call! Some purposeful meditation with apps like Headspace were really game changing for me.” – PGY1

    “Figure out what you personally need to make your call more palatable- a change of socks, a pillow from home, snacks etc. Also take advantage of any time you have to refresh and recharge eg a 5 PM power nap.” – PGY5

    “Remember to make sure to take care of yourself! Eat dinner, brush your teeth, stay hydrated. Call can be hectic, but carving out a few minutes for yourself makes a big difference.” – PGY3

    “How nice it is to keep a toothbrush, facewash, and a hand towel at the hospital. There’s nothing better than freshening up at 3 am after a long night of seeing consults before going to bed (hopefully) for the rest of the night!” – PGY1

    “It is okay not to know what to do during that first shift! And also, it will get better, you will get into the rhythm after a few shifts.” – PGY1

    “You don’t have to answer a page right away. You can take time to eat and use the washroom first.” – PGY1

    “I wish I knew that I should still get breaks for breakfast, lunch and dinner and that I should ask for them and not just be expected to work straight through the day!” – PGY2

    “That taking breaks for a quick bite to eat is ok (and necessary)!” – PGY1

    “There is always time for a bathroom break.” – PGY2

    “Be sure to ask your friends or seniors who have been there before what the food options are like in your hospital or if you should bring your own – Finding yourself hungry in the middle of the night without anywhere to get something to eat is an easy way to make a call shift a lot worse!” – PGY4

    “Why stand when you can sit, or sit when you can lie down!” – PGY4

    “Bring extra food! You never know how often you’ll have to be up in the middle of the night and there might not always be a place nearby open for food/drink!” – PGY1

    “To bring extra food! Also being ready to sleep when I can.” – PGY1

    “Change your socks in the middle of the night– so under-rated and such a nice change. Also find out where the extra blankets live, call rooms can be cold.” – PGY5

    “Make a table template to print out and keep track of important pages to hand over. It can include patient name, team, issue and action. It helps you both hand over and track to dos in a systematic way. Set alarms for follow up items! Drinking water is just as good as coffee to keep you awake without making you feel jittery. Also, the morning always comes and you will rock it!” – PGY5

    “Make sure you know what time the cafeteria/coffee shop in the hospital closes!” – PGY2

    “I was on OB call and wish I knew that ward call is not as intimidating as I imagined it to be, as I had staff to discuss with if the issue seemed truly significant. I also wish I knew how uncomfortable the pillows were, as I will bring my own for next time!” – PGY1

    “I wish I knew that hospital shift change at 7am and 7pm. Those are the best times to take a half an hour during your shift to grab food and take a break. You will not get paged during those times.” – PGY2

    “I wish I knew that the expectation is not to know everything! There is more support around than you think.” – PGY1

    “Make sure your remote access is all set up! And pack snacks in case you don’t have time for dinner to fuel you overnight.” – PGY4

    “Before my first call shift, pack your toothbrush, face wipes, floss, face cream and overnight snacks/tea. you’ll do great!” – PGY2

    “You often won’t have time to heat up your dinner and eat it right after. Pack something easy to eat like sandwiches or bite sized snacks that you can keep in your pocket to fuel up throughout the night. Stay hydrated!” – PGY2

    “I wish I knew to pack more pocket snacks, and just because it is “24(++) hour call,” doesn’t mean I need to work that whole time – you should go sleep or eat instead of working on a non-urgent task can be done tomorrow.” – PGY3

    “Useful things to bring along on a call shift (e.g. portable battery for charging phone, snacks, mouthwash).” – PGY1

    “Pack a warm sweater to wear – few feelings are worse than your internal thermometer deciding you’re freezing while you’re trying to type up a consult at 0400.” – PGY3

    “Before your first call shift, come up with a system to track ward calls. I like to grab a blank sheet of paper at the beginning of the shift and draw out a table with the headings “Patient name/MRN/call back”, “room”, “time”, “reason for call”, “Px/Ix”, “A/P”, “Follow-up tasks”, “Handover”. This way I can keep track of which patients and issues need to be followed up on and handed over without mixing things up in the middle of the night or while sleep deprived in the morning. It’s very handy to have things like MRN, call back number, and patient location jotted down on the sheet too for quick reference. Of course, the paper goes in the shredder in the morning and you take good care of it, just like a patient list.” – PGY5

    “Have a small bag/pouch packed with your toiletries etc. so that it is ready to go for call and you can add it to your bag easily without having to pack every single time.” – PGY5

    “Being on call often helps you to get to know your patient list better and hone your consulting skills. An iced coffee at 6-7pm will be fine in the fridge later, but a hot coffee is no good cold!” – PGY1

    “Most of the major sites have a coffee machines in the resident lounge, bring a nespresso pod (St Pauls) or kcup (VGH) for backup caffeine overnight.” – PGY2

    “Call staff for help when you need to. Supporting learners and patient care is their job and what they get paid for. Don’t feel guilty or scared to inconvenience them.” – PGY2

    “Get a call shift bag. Toothbrush and floss is game changing. Face wash. Eye Mark’s. Change of underwear and socks really recharges you.” – PGY2

    “It’s ok to answer a (non-emergency) ward question with “I’m not sure what I’d like to do, let me take a look and I’ll get back to you in a few minutes.” – PGY1

    “Bring an extra pair of socks and a facewash on your call shift. The difference a fresh pair of socks and a clean face can make is astronomical.” – PGY5

    “Pack yourself a “please revive me” kit during call: toothbrush, toothbrush, fresh socks, fresh underwear, deodorant. I also set an alarm for morning handover early into my call shift so I don’t get too tired/too busy to forget to set the alarm.” – PGY1

    “I wish I had known that you’re attending has to come in if you request them to assist in person. I was not initially aware that the attending has to come in if requested no exceptions.” – PGY2

    “There are very few things that can’t wait 5 minutes for you to eat something or go to the bathroom. It’s ok for you to take care of yourself!” – PGY4

    “That sometimes the cafeteria and nearby restaurants are closed after 6pm on weekend call shifts, so make sure to back a dinner and lots of snacks to get through the night!” – PGY2

    “Hydration is key! Drinking water throughout a long call shift makes you feel better both during and after.” – PGY2

    “While its tempting to schedule meetings, appointments, and other commitments post-call, I wish I had avoided doing so after my first few shifts at any new site. You never know how busy a new hospital/service may be until starting. If you end up having a very busy night, you’ll be thankful to have the next morning off to catch up on sleep!” – PGY4

    “To rest when you can, eat when you can and pace yourself through the shift.” – PGY3

    “Pack snacks!!! An eye mask can also be helpful if the call rooms aren’t properly dark – if you have time to sleep, you want to be able to take advantage of it!” – PGY2

    “Try to get the phone numbers for the senior(s) you are working with and the on-call staff beforehand – it’s always nice to have an extra way to get in touch with people in case you need it!” – PGY5

    “You can ask senior anything, don’t be shy, they are there to help.” – PGY1

    “Be an opportunist when it comes to sleep. If you get a break and it’s 7pm, go nap! You never know if that will be your only opportunity to sleep that night and 2hrs is very different than no hours 😅.” – PGY1

    “To bring lots of snacks! Protein bars, fruits and veggies, gummies – if it can fit in your pockets then even better.” – PGY5

    “It’s okay to call on your seniors if you are unsure of the answer.” – PGY1

    “Bringing a nice breakfast for post-call morning can make you feel SO much better after a long night.” – PGY2

    “Snag an extra pair of scrubs to stash in your call room. You never know when you may need a quick change.” – PGY3

    “How handover works beforehand, especially on the weekends. Whether it’s calling or texting staff to get handover, or formally meeting, it’s really good to understand expectations to set you up for success!” – PGY1

    “At most tertiary sites, you can dial 0 from a landline phone to get to switchboard.” – PGY2

    “Try to go into call with a good mindset. I used to go in praying that it’s a light call and being really tired and upset when it became busy. Instead go into it thinking “no matter what happens, if it’s light or busy, it’ll be ok”.” – PGY1

    “Take a break whenever you can! I know it feels like you have to constantly be working, on your feet, or ready to answer a page at any given moment, but you also need to give yourself a mental and physical break when the opportunity arises. Put your feet up, grab some food/coffee, and get sleep once you’ve wrapped up your work for the moment.” – PGY1

    “There are helpful “on-call” apps that can help you answer common on-call issues.” – PGY4

    “I wish I knew the extension for the nursing station of the ward that I was on call for. This would have saved me so much time having to either call through switchboard and wait or going to the ward to answer questions.” – PGY2

    “Call sucks. Plain and simple. People say it’s not so bad but I think that’s a bit of Stockholm syndrome. I wish I realized that going in, so I could accept it for what it was – knowing it’s horrible but each call shift is temporary makes it easier to make it through.” – PGY2

    “To have a bag prepared separately for call shifts with all necessary things like toothbrush,  protein bars & earphones.” – PGY1

    “You will not regret getting out of bed to assess that patient at 3:00am. Your in-person assessment could significantly impact their care and you will learn from the experience either way.” – PGY2

    “Don’t ever be the only person in the hospital that knows something bad is happening or if a patient is getting really sick. Talk to colleagues in the hospital overnight if you need help or feel out of your depth. You will be surprised how helpful others can be. We are all in it together overnight!” – PGY5

    “Pack LOTS of snacks. It is always better to have extra food on hand for you and your friends. Bring extra layers also…difficult to regulate body temperature at 3 am.” – PGY2

    “Bringing lots and lots of food!” – PGY1

    “That it makes such a big difference to bring things from home that help make you feel comfortable—I always make sure I have a sweater, toothbrush/toothpaste, face wipes and moisturizer, and lots of snacks/tea/coffee!” – PGY1

    “Do not be afraid to ask your senior or staff for help, that’s why they are there! And it is important to take a break to eat, even if there is still more consults to see.” – PGY2

    “Who the unit clerk and charge nurses are and how useful they can be in helping you do your consult.” – PGY2

    “Don’t be afraid to take your time with your first consult! Staff/residents all remember how long they used to take, and how many questions you forget and have to go back and ask. No one is expecting you to blast out a consult in record time.” – PGY5

    “Sleep as EARLY as you can when you get the chance.” – PGY1

    “If you have a nagging feeling don’t be scared to speak up and investigate. Tell a staff or senior!” – PGY2

    “Pack plenty of snacks (and maybe a source of caffeine)! Call can get quite busy, and it can be hard to step away to get food. Plus, there are virtually no food options open past midnight, except for Breka if you’re at St. Paul’s Hospital.” – PGY1

    “Wish I knew how much of a difference a white noise machine can help with sleep.” – PGY5

    “That preceptors (most of them, anyway) really do care about what I want to learn, even if they seem too busy!  If I take a chance and state what I want to learn, they have often been quite receptive.” – PGY2

    “Bring lots of snacks and caffeine! And have a picture of the extensions of the ward that you are covering so that you don’t have to go through switchboard.” – PGY1

    “Bring earplugs if you’re a light sleeper (you may be right beside the heavy entrance to the resident area). Bring snacks. Ask for nurses’ opinions/help. If it’s a non-essential task, it can wait for the day team and it’s okay to set those boundaries if you think the issue being raised at 4AM is not an overnight issue (sometimes the nurses are also early in their career too and still learning what’s appropriate)- they are valid in calling because they’re concerned but taking that extra time to explain may help save you from that same call another time (eg. we can’t request an MRI overnight so that unfilled req can/should wait). That being said, #1 rule: Always remind yourself to be patient, everyone is tired overnight and things can be misinterpreted.” – PGY4

    “To bring a special bag just for call that has things like tea, coffee, a sleeping mask, toothbrush, face wash, and some nice essentials to make the call shift more comfortable. Also a charger!” – PGY1

    “Fresh scrubs, socks and undies before rounding the next morning are life changing irrespective of whether you slept or not! And Starbucks Vias are a game changer for stashing in your pocket – there are kettles on every ward, so a cup of coffee is always close at hand!” – PGY2

    “Eat and sleep whenever you get the chance; if the shift is quiet at the start of the shift at 5PM, then lie down and rest your eyes even if you can’t fall asleep, rather than expecting to sleep later in the day because this might or might not happen. Also call shifts should not be catching up and finishing up work from the day. Treat them as separate entities to minimize burnout.” – PGY1

    “Check the closing time of the cafes and cafeterias early in the daytime. Hospitals often become a food desert overnight so you may want to grab a sandwich while you can!” – PGY3

    “I wish I knew how much better I would feel the next day if I stayed hydrated! Especially on those nights you are up all night, continue to drink water (or get a gatorade from the vending machine, my new go-to!) Your post-call self will thank you!” – PGY3

    “Trade cell phone numbers with your staff. The reception for Vocera can get spotty in certain parts of BCCH/BCWH, so you definitely want a back up method of contact!” – PGY1

    “I am the MD and the buck stops with me so do not fear saying no to pressure from another allied health professional. Consult others and be kind, but make your own decision. You don’t have to give that medication or do this procedure if you’re not sure. You can check with your backup.” – PGY1

    “That being alone in-house is scary, but you’re not alone and your staff is truly there to support you.” – PGY2

    “No one knows everything! It’s OK and expected for you to look a ton of things up, and you have your seniors/colleagues to help you through it. You will be fine :)” – PGY5

    “Bring a toothbrush, toothpaste or mouthwash, and something to wash your face with. Also clean socks. It makes a big difference!!” – PGY2

    “Try to take advantage of moments on call to rest, eat, and get some shut eye. Also, often there is intrinsic pressure to try to be productive on your post call day but definitely use the day for wellness and rest and if you end up being productive that’s just a bonus!” – PGY1

    “Reserve a call room early! Some sites have limited call rooms and it’s best to double check this info ahead of time and reserve one early in the day. Nothing is worse than not having a bed to sleep in at 3am!” – PGY2

    “I wish I knew that the coffee shop was not open over night for drinks and snacks. Always plan ahead with extra snacks for when on call, especially ones that fit in your pocket when it’s a busy night!” – PGY3

    “If at BCCH, check if your call room is cleaned early on during your call – if not, make sure it gets cleaned!  Very little feels worse than coming to your call room in the middle of the night to rest and to find it not cleaned up.” – PGY3

    “Eat when you can, even if that means having dinner at 5 pm! There often isn’t always time to eat and when things get busy, it’s hard to step out and grab a bite.” – PGY1

    “Before my first call shift, I wish I knew that I won’t be alone. The staff, senior residents, nurses, and other allied staff are all there to help. You’re expected to not know anything! After all, it’s your first call shift!” – PGY3

    “Eat before the shift starts! You never know what’s ahead. And take any downtime to rest. Extra socks/underwear/toiletries also go a long way to make the night better!” – PGY1

    “It’s okay to triage the case when you’re first paged, you don’t have to leave your half eaten meal and run to the hospital!” – PGY1

    “The MD on call app is amazing to use as a quick reference for urgent consults or ward calls!” – PGY1

    “That it’s okay to ask for help from the nursing staff, co-residents and/or your attending, especially on your first call shift! I felt especially nervous calling my attending in the middle of the night but it’s important to remember that they are also on calling & are there for this reason!” – PGY1

    “I wish I knew to bring an extra pillow! The pillows in call rooms are super flat and uncomfortable. You want to be able to actually get some sleep in the down time, and having a decent pillow helped a lot.” – PGY1

    “If you get a chance to use the call rooms, bringing some warm blankets from the blanket warmer with you to the call room is so nice because the one blanket is usually not warm enough!” – PGY2

    “It can be daunting and exhausting to be first call, especially each time on a new service and early in residency when you are constantly worried you are missing something. Something I wish I’d know earlier would be to always be kind to the nurse who calls you, always gently ask what specifically the nurse is concerned about when they call and tell you about a patient and also always use caution when trusting the gestalt of the nurse calling you over the phone, depending on their level of training/experience. Trust your gut and go lay eyes on them if they don’t sound 100% well.” – PGY2

    “I wish I knew that it was okay to say I needed security before seeing an acutely agitated patient alone!” – PGY2

    “There’s always someone to turn to and ask for help, even if you feel alone in that moment.” – PGY1

    “I wish I knew that I can take a break! Even 5 minutes to mindfully eat a snack or get coffee makes a world of difference to your ability to be grounded and present, and ultimately make better decisions.” – PGY2

    “To bring lots of snacks” – PGY2

  • What I Wish I Knew About Switching to a New Site

    “Don’t be afraid to reach out for support on and even before your first day! Asking about how to set up EMR access, parking, schedule, etc. in advance of the rotation takes off a lot of stress for the first day. And if you don’t automatically get an orientation/tour, ask for one – it makes navigating the hospital much easier.” – PGY1

    “I wish I knew where the scrubs were and parking situation was at the new site ahead of time.” – PGY5

    “Where the scrubs are! Fastest way to get from one building to another, where the printer is… ask current residents or other staff, knowing these things are super helpful.” – PGY5

    “I wish I knew where to find the hospital staff lounge at a new hospital site. Often the lounge will be open to all hospital employees or physicians (including residents) and usually have stocked coffee machines that come in handy during on call shifts. If you’re going somewhere new ask a buddy who has been there before for key tips!” – PGY5

    “Staff are generally understanding if it’s your first few days at a new site, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.” – PGY2

    “What certain specialities do and don’t do at various sites! There tends to be a lot of overlap between certain surgical specialities, and I found I’d be calling or consulting the incorrect service at a given hospital because that’s how it was at the other hospital! Ask your friends if you’re in a speciality that frequently consults neurosurg, ortho, plastics, ent, etc :)” – PGY2

    “Ask residents who’ve been there before you- sometimes admin don’t know details of basic things like parking and will give you incorrect advice.” – PGY5

    “What I wish I knew about switching to a new site is to always ask for a site orientation! Where are the lockers? Where are the washrooms? What’s the password to the kitchen? Having that orientation early on allows you to focus on your clinical stuff instead of desperately trying to find the staff washroom between consults!” – PGY3

    “Approach your first day like a trial run. Things will take longer, you will get lost, your passwords may not work and you’ll have tons of questions. This is all normal and happens to everyone. Keep your head up and remember that you will get into the swing of things!” – PGY3

    “When I moved to a new site, I wish I knew to keep all my moving receipts in a folder for when you certainly will be audited by the CRA!” – PGY5

    “Seeking help from your directors of new programs, other residents, and taking time off to reflect have been helpful for my consideration for switching to a new site.” – PGY1

    “Making sure you have your electronic medical records access set up ahead of time. Also, ask your colleagues and fellow residents for tips about the new site.” – PGY2

    “For Royal Columbian Hospital – wish I knew earlier about the resident lounge that houses free yogurt, bananas, cheese, and ice cream.” – PGY5

    “That we are entitled to lockers to store our belongings at each site.” – PGY2

    “Connect with upper year residents early about housing, things to do in the area, and tips for each rotation. Also get to know the community!” – PGY1

    “Save the phone number for IT! You’ll need it for the inevitable password resets and login troubleshooting.” – PGY3

    “Before starting a rotation at a new site, don’t be shy to ask your co-residents/colleagues about logistical information i.e. where to park, how to dictate, which EMR is used/what is done for documentation, where to put your personal items, etc. They will be happy to help, and that way you can try to set things up as much as you can beforehand, so you can be as efficient as possible when the rotation starts.” – PGY5

    “Check out the docs lounge! At most community sites, they have food and coffee (a must).” – PGY4

    “Where to find scrubs and the student lounge! Don’t be afraid to reach out to others around you who have been to the new site before, so it’s not as stressful on your first day!” – PGY1

    “Try doing an elective at the site/school you want to switch to, you may meet someone who wants to laterally transfer and swap seats with you.” – PGY2

    “That preparation makes a world of difference – if you can, give yourself a day or two to settle in before starting at a new site. Check out your hospital and bring items that you may need (like a lock for hospital lockers, items to stock your locker, a pdf map of the hospital on your phone, etc). This really helped me beat the rush when Orientation day started.” – PGY1

    “Ask previous residents about parking, lounges and hospital access before you go and see if you can even get a tour of the hospital before you start. So many insider tips about where the staff/resident lounge, free parking on the streets, etc. Makes the first day so much easier when you’re already a bit familiar with the site.” – PGY3

    “Key things to find out at every new site: where to find snacks, what time the coffee shop is open, where there are quiet work stations, where to get scrubs if your one spot is out, and tips on parking.” – PGY2

    “I wish I knew that unit clerks all keep their own list of commonly used extensions – take a photo and keep it handy and it’ll save time from waiting on the operator!” – PGY2

    “For me, I wish I knew whether a car was needed for a more rural rotation. Fortunately, a great staff doctor had a spare bike, but knowing what to expect for travel/transport, especially in more remote places, can save you a lot of headache!” – PGY1

    “Reach out early to admin staff! Sometimes in the hectic transition of many new learners coming to a site, things can get lost in the shuffle. If you don’t get an email a few weeks in advance of your new site, reach out to admin staff to make sure you have all your login and ID sorted.” – PGY1

    “If your co-residents are from that site then don’t be afraid to ask them a million questions! We genuinely don’t mind showing you tips and tricks to make things like a new EMR run more smooth!” – PGY5

    “Even if you miss orientation on day 1 of a rotation (like I did because I was on vacation), don’t sweat it — arrive 30 minutes early on your first day and ask around until you find someone friendly enough to give you a more informal walkaround.” – PGY2

    “Continue asking staff for help if you need it even if they decline initially. You need to learn how to do things safely before trying to impress anyone.” – PGY2

    “It’s ok to spend a lot of time on the first day or even first week getting familiar with the site, logins, and location of the five star washrooms.” – PGY1

    “That everyone gets/feels lost the first couple days. Asking friends or other residents who have been to the site before for maps/directions to find scrubs and lounges is super helpful. Also getting codes you need to open washrooms or fridges can be super great too!” – PGY1

    “Where there is a quiet space to sit when you have a break. It often takes a bit of time to find out where that is at each site!”- PGY1

    “That it can take weeks for EMR and badge access to be set up! It helps to be proactive with this before the start of a rotation.” – PGY4

    “There is a whole section on the Resident Doctors of BC website dedicated to sharing details about most of the hospitals through which we rotate! Information about parking, key locations, food, and past resident tips can all be found here, in addition to any info you may receive from past residents/the hospital itself.” – PGY4

    “Speak with your upper year residents about areas for free parking at each hospital to save money!” – PGY1

    “Always confirm your IT information for the new block has been confirmed and is functional prior to starting – you will save yourself a lot of headaches.” – PGY3

    “Talk to friends who have rotated through this new site for help in figuring out logistics (e.g. parking, coffee shops nearby, cafeteria location, lockers, resident/learner lounges) so that your first day can go as smooth as possible.”- PGY1

    “How important it is to check in with the unit clerk or PCC when you’re going to a new site to figure out how their ward operates! PCC is especially great liaison with all the allied health.” – PGY3

    “It’s actually possible if you reach out to your program directors and have a compelling reason! (Ie. Your partner/supports are at your preferred site).” – PGY4

    “Ask your colleagues at the new site for assistance and a tour, they will often give you tips that aren’t covered by learning modules.” – PGY1

    “Keep a list of all of the door codes, computer logins, and useful phone extensions on your phone, even after you finish the rotation. You never know when you will go back for another rotation or even to work.” – PGY6

    “Is that the BCY handbooks given out by administration have many good maps and directions to find most areas (lockers, parking, etc.!).” – PGY1

    “I wish I knew to ask for certain ‘admin’ things on the very first day: where the call rooms are, where to park, where the cafeteria and washrooms are. They are little things that I used to try and ‘figure it out myself’. Take off whatever you can from your cognitive load, especially when starting at a new site.” – PGY1

    “At Royal Columbian Hospital you can call the medical education  office in advance to pay for monthly parking by phone so that it’s already set up for your first day!” – PGY2

    “Familiarize yourself with the EMR before starting at a new site and speak with fellow residents on tips to effectively use the system before showing up on first day. Will make the transition that much easier.” – PGY4

    “Ask for help and invest your time learning the new system early. Learning the system flow, tips/tricks of an EMR, and spending some time making templates will save you lots of time in the long run.” – PGY2

    “How useful the multidisciplinary team is for learning about the specific resources in that geographic area!” – PGY1

    “I make a “pre-rotation checklist” of all the things I need to organize prior to day 1 of a rotation. I put a reminder in my calendar 1-2 weeks before each rotation so I don’t forget. Checklist items include: organizing EMR, figuring out where call rooms/scrubs are, ID badge, having a “first day contact” number, organizing parking passes etc. Organizing these small tasks helps me better focus on “the medicine”/learning of a rotation rather than the stress of logistics.” – PGY1

    “That the trainees who were here before me are usually happy to share their experiences and provide helpful tips.” – PGY1

    “Lead residents are a great resource when switching to a new hospital site – you can always ask them to help connect you to an upper year who can show you around the first day.” – PGY2

    “Getting EMR training and checking that all your log-ins work before starting is very helpful! In smaller rural sites finding out how lab and imaging works is also useful (what hours is lab on site vs when do you have to call them in, what imaging modalities are available, etc).” – PGY1

    “When switching to a new site, you should ask ahead of time about access cards, passcodes, and EMR access especially if you haven’t received any orientation email. Also inquire about doctors lounge, lockers, and call rooms.  Saves a lot of trouble the first day.” – PGY3

    “Ask other residents about what online training needs to be done before starting at the new site to ensure that you have access to the EMR! Also for UBC students, you sometimes needs to do resident-specific training so don’t assume your medical school training for EMRs automatically transfer.” – PGY2

    “There are templates for history taking, physical exams specific to each rotation, like Obs, IM. Having those templates help to go through rotation especially when we just start.” – PGY1

    “Where the lockers, change rooms, snacks, lounge, and meeting areas are.” – PGY1

    “An orientation to helpful CST tips before we started – i.e. the fact that everyone updates hospital course to make it easier for discharge.” – PGY1

    “Noting down all of the change room and lounge codes! And getting free coffee in the doctor’s lounge :)” – PGY1

    “If you have designated call rooms and your co-residents are okay with it – leave a little call bag, sweater, shoes etc. in the call room. So nice to not carry everything back and forth!” – PGY3

    “I wish I knew that many hospitals have parking and campus maps available to view online, which can be an invaluable resource to help find your way around on the first day of a rotation!” – PGY4

    “When switching to a new site, take your time the first day figure out the layabouts of the hospital, where the caf, prayer space and the call rooms :)” – PGY2

    “No answer is a stupid one, everyone has been there and are very willing to help. Lean into the ups and downs of starting into a new site with the knowledge that it will be much better in a week or two.” – PGY4

    “Ask for all the bathroom locations and door codes!” – PGY4

    “That it is okay to ask for help!! I have learned the more senior that I become that it is okay to not know everything. When new to a rotation/site now I am now more clear about things I don’t know and ask for clarification for example, on how to enter something in the EMR or resources. Staff, nursing, etc. are usually more then happy to help!” – PGY4

    “Asking about what food options are around (in hospital, walking distance, late night, delivery, etc).” – PGY1

    “Don’t worry about not knowing everything on day 1 or even week 1. It takes time to get used to a new place! Ask the residents- don’t be shy! Ask about emr access, where scrubs are, where the doctor’s lounge is, parking before the rotation to make first day easier. Ask residents who have gone through that rotation for templates/resources they found helpful.” – PGY2

    “I wish I knew at the beginning that it’s always hard the first few days of a new rotation at a new site – and that that is OK! I’ve come to accept that I’m not going to know the system very well and will inevitably get lost for a few days before I get into a groove. I try not to put too much pressure on myself for the first few days of a new rotation at a new site, because I understand that both doing a totally new rotation in a new place is a lot for anyone. Be compassionate to yourself!” – PGY5

    “I wish I knew to review my schedule to see if I was above my work expectations especially when it was a new site that only recently took on residents. For example that they could not schedule us for evening call only on weekends.” – PGY2

    “Ask the resident(s) who went before you for tips, get all the onboarding paperwork done in advance, and go out to explore the new city/town more!” – PGY3

    “The amount of disorientation a new hospital site is! Trying to find the charts, vitals, using the EMR system is definitely an added challenge.” – PGY1

    “I wish I knew to look up the coffee situation when switching sites! Going from hospitals with 24 hr Tim Hortons to one with only cafeteria coffee open only 8 to 2 pm is quite a shock!! Stay caffeinated, friends!” – PGY1

    “I wish I knew that you can find information about each site on the RDBC website!” – PGY2

    “Essential things like where the call rooms are, changing rooms, clean bathrooms (yes they are essential lol), parking, and where to find a quiet place if you need 10 minutes to relax. Get to know the coffee shops in the area or places to grab a quick bite. Knowing all of these things beforehand makes the transition to a new site so much smoother!” – PGY2

    “Clinical pharmacists are friendly people and fantastic resources for drug questions.” – PGY1

    “I wish I knew 1. who my resources were: the clinical pharmacist on some teams or that the CNL can be great for answering logistical questions in most instances. 2. Ask the resident who just finished there for the most up to date information on how the rotation has been running/where to show up and when!” – PGY4

    “Every time you work in a new site/hospital, try to find a friend to orient you. Keep notes on your phone about key room numbers, room codes, and even washroom locations haha!” – PGY5

    “I wish I knew that most sites keep a list of previous residents so that new residents can contact them regarding accommodations, tips for the rotation, ways to get involved with the community etc. while the method for connecting with previous residents can vary by site most locations have some sort of informal system for passing on important information.” – PGY2

    “I would ask in my social circles to see what people thought about the site, and for any tips they had. Especially the EMR!” – PGY1

    “Most sites have secure bike cages- you just have to set this up a few days in advance so reach out early.” – PGY5

    “Figure out how to navigate the computer system from other residents or students! Don’t be afraid to ask all the silly basic questions right off the bat, it’ll save you so much trouble when on call overnight.” – PGY1

  • What I Wish I Knew About Taking Care of Myself in Residency

    “I wish I knew about the resident wellness counselling team earlier in residency in year 1 so I could take care of my mental health.” – PGY5

    “I wish I knew how important it would be to schedule in activities/time at the gym in advance. If you try to leave it last minute, or on the fly, you find you just run out of time.” – PGY2

    “When you’re in crisis, there are anonymous resources outside of your program to help you: www.physicianhealth.com (via doctors of BC) is a great place to start.” – PGY2

    “Our Blue Cross insurance gives us access to life works which allows for personal, financial and relationship counselling/courses. It’s not intuitive to access and you need a lifeworks code but worth the effort! You’ll never have these benefits again.” – PGY5

    “Sleep is so important for overall wellness and getting through the workday. Prioritize it when you can. Sometimes it’s just not worth it to stay out at night with friends that extra hour. And then, other times it is.” – PGY5

    “That we have free counselling (up to 10 sessions per year) available to us through the UBC Resident Wellness Office.” – PGY3

    “I wish I knew I was entitled to use my half days for self care instead of continued clinical work even if no academic lectures are scheduled.” – PGY3

    “It’s nice to have a good self-care routine after a chaotic day/shift, be it buying yourself flowers or ordering some comforting takeout or calling a friend.” – PGY3

    “In the beginning of residency I found it hard to develop a work life balance. My suggestion is to make sure on days off you avoid logging on to the EMR system to check on patients. Instead spend that time doing something you enjoy!” – PGY5

    “That taking time for yourself isn’t a bad thing.” – PGY1

    “We are responsible for our own wellness and need to look after ourselves first. There is never enough time in a day, but if something is important enough to us, then we can make time for it – so make time for wellness.” – PGY5

    “That massage therapy sessions are 80% covered up to $1000/year, and 100% covered after that!” – PGY4

    “Make a point to schedule in exercise regularly – you always feel so much better after a workout, physically and mentally!” – PGY5

    “In terms of what I wish I knew about taking care of myself in residency: use your sick days! If you’re sick, take the time to recover. We’ve been trained through medical school to work through anything. Staff around us brag about working 24 hour shifts when they were septic, but that’s not healthy!” – PGY3

    “You can book a massage after every call shift and have almost all of it covered by our PBC insurance!” – PGY1

    “I wish I knew that it is okay, and encouraged even sometimes, to prioritize my own well being and to say no to more work and to taking on more roles.” – PGY4

    “Our health plan has great coverage for RMT and physiotherapy (with no limit). Likewise, 80% coverage for 2 pairs of compression stockings per calendar year. Take advantage of it!” – PGY4

    “Lieu days don’t need to be used right away (or even in the same academic year)— you’ve got 12 months to use them, just don’t forget about it!” – PGY5

    “Rotating every 2-4 weeks, sometimes to different cities, and sometimes having different preceptors every day will be EXHAUSTING. And that’s okay. Don’t be surprised if you’re tired ‘for no good reason’ after essentially moving house 3 times in six months.” – PGY2

    “We all deserve breaks, and I should never feel bad to rest and recharge.” – PGY1

    “The Resident Wellness Office is very accessible and provides excellent counselling services and supports.” – PGY4

    “Underestimating the importance of regular physical activity. I let things go a bit in early PGY years and my mental health suffered. I picked up tennis during COVID and committing to play at least once a week has done so much to maintain my work/life balance!” – PGY5

    “”Taking care of yourself” can take so many different forms. One way that may work for your co-resident may not for you. Finding the balance does take time, but what worked for me (and for many in my program) was to schedule specific “me” time, whether it be physical activity, massages/self-care appointments, date night, get-togethers, or any other, it 100% helped to set time aside every week. I’ve tried the 30 minutes/day model, and I’ve also tried the 2-hour blocks a few times a week, and depending on the time of the year, both worked amazing.” – PGY4

    “To use the RMT and other benefits! Good to take advantage of these.” – PGY3

    “I wish I knew what importance in debriefing with your friends is in taking care of myself particularly after encountering difficult situations. It’s easy to blame yourself for things you did or didn’t do, and talking through it with someone is much better than keeping silent.” – PGY2

    “That you’re allowed (and it is quite normal, even common) to take unpaid leave at times for personal reasons. Very few people in my (intense, hospital service-based) program actually finish the program precisely on time, and it’s because many of us take a block (or more) off at some point or other during residency to recover or spend time with family or travel. Nobody talks about it and very few of us were aware early on that it was something we could do. But it’s a viable and healthy way to step away for a time to take care of yourself!” – PGY3

    “You don’t need a prescription for massages!” – PGY1

    “Bringing a bag of your favourite evening tea in your on-call bag helps you stay hydrated and also feel more like yourself after a long day and before a long night!” – PGY1

    “Schedule guilt free time off! When I don’t schedule time off I try to work all the time, or feel guilty if I take a break. I end up less productive than if I had just taken a break in the first place. When I plan time off for myself I get to enjoy a real break, and come back to work/studying refreshed.” – PGY2

    “There is no shame in daytime naps.” – PGY2

    “Set realistic study goals rather than being overly optimistic about how much you can do. Set aside time each day to rest and spend time doing what you enjoy. Burnout is real, and you will be a better resident if you take care of yourself first.” – PGY2

    “That the fate of your patients and the world does not rest solely on your shoulders and you are not responsible for every single person or patient outcome. We work as a team and putting pressure solely on ourselves is not productive, helpful, or healthy.” – PGY2

    “I wish I advocated more for wellness days and took advantage or knew how to take advantage of massages/deals through Doctors of BC.” – PGY2

    “For massage and Physio, there’s a minimum spend of $1,000 where sessions are covered at 80% but thereafter are fully covered. For example, if a massage is $100, you’d be paying 20$/session for 10 sessions and then it’s free thereafter! If you have someone else on your plan, their sessions also contribute to the minimum spend!” – PGY2

    “Advice that was passed on to me by other residents – use up all of your benefits for the year! They are free (or very cheap) and can make a huge impact on your overall wellness and mental health.” – PGY1

    “Wish I knew to use the health benefits on the resident medical plan. Self care is now once weekly physiotherapy for my shoulders and back.” – PGY1

    “Having a supportive spouse sharing parenting duties is important, especially if you have children.” – PGY2

    “One of the best ways to be a better doctor for your patients is to take care of yourself! And our benefits through PBC are a great way to do that. Weekly massages!” – PGY2

    “The Resident Wellness Office and Physician Health Program are there for residents and are not connected with your residency program. (If you work with one of the doctors at PHP, you can ask to see a different doctor.) If you are feeling overworked or a bit burned out, I highly recommend booking an appointment right now. Don’t wait until you are at your breaking point!” – PGY6

    “That taking the time to take care of myself while on rotation would actually allow me to perform better, rather than the converse.” – PGY2

    “That my senior residents have a wealth of knowledge about keeping yourself well during difficult rotations!” – PGY1

    “Massage Therapy sessions are (mostly) covered through our Pacific Blue Cross extended health benefits – these sessions have been a lifesaver for me! It’s worth looking into all the extended health benefits we are privileged to have, and to take advantage of our coverage to maintain our wellness.” – PGY4

    “Schedule time to take care of yourself into your calendar!” – PGY1

    “I wish I knew that taking time to get to know your fellow residents would be so valuable and fun. That I had attended some of the earlier informal orientation events.” – PGY1

    “Don’t stay post-call. There will always be ‘more work to do’ and no one will remember it (except you when you’re feeling burnt out and unappreciated).” – PGY3

    “Mental health is just as important as physical health! And treating yourself well pays dividends in the long term!” – PGY1

    “I wish I had consistently scheduled social time in my calendar during my R1 year. It’s about as important as scheduling in exercise, studying, and meal prep! Whether you’re introverted, extroverted, or somewhere in between, we all need dedicated and regular time to re-charge with friends and loved ones, and scheduling this in gives us something to look forward to.” – PGY2

    “I wish I knew how to unplug from work and help quiet my brain, especially post call. Using remote access to check on patients during time off can really minimize the restorative and little time you have away from work for self care. Setting boundaries with this will make you a better resident overall.” – PGY5

    “Daily meditation will be the single best thing you can do for managing stress and anxiety at work and improving interpersonal interactions. In fact, I would say it turned around residency for me. It won’t make a difference right away, the same way that running 5K one time won’t give you abs – but starting easy, with even just 3 minutes every day (set a timer) focusing on your breathing will add up. Headspace guide to meditation on Netflix is a great starter resource also.” – PGY5

    “Is that I should not feel guilty at all for only napping and self-care on my post-call days! Recovery is so important for getting through the rest of the week.” – PGY2

    “I wish that I had known that I did not need to carry the entire service. Love it or hate it you are not the linchpin holding the hospital together. Saying no to additional work is not laziness… it’s creating space for your wellness. You need time for yourself. Whether it’s cooking, cleaning, exercising, reading a book, visiting friends or whatever, you cannot fill another’s cup while yours is empty.” – PGY2

    “Take all of your lieu days for stat holidays, even when they occur during vacations. Use this time to recharge!” – PGY2

    “Book massages earlier on in the year, otherwise you’ll scramble to use these benefits up at the end of the calendar year when a lot of RMTs are booked up!” – PGY3

    “Give yourself permission to have days off! It’s better for you (and even your studying and patients) in the long term if you are well rested and have time to recover.” – PGY5

    “Even a short run is still a run. Get out there even for 10 minutes.” – PGY1

    “Exercise is super key for helping with my wellness and I find it hard to make time for it after a long shift at the hospital. I started trying to sneak it in by doing things like running to work instead of driving/bussing which has really helped!” – PGY1

    “I wish I knew about Physician Help Program! It’s a great resource with great people that will be open to talking about anything that will help support you!” – PGY1

    “Taking time for sleep, friendships, and activities I enjoy makes me a happier and more engaged trainee.” – PGY1

    “It’s ok to take some evenings just to hang out with yourself! Starting a new program, meeting your new cohort and settling into a new city is exhausting.” – PGY1

    “Spending time with family and friends help my mental health which allows me to become a better resident. Time away from medicine doesn’t mean you aren’t improving yourself as a resident.” – PGY1

    “Have a tool box of activities that you can turn to that give you joy and pull one out every time you feel stressed or overwhelmed.” – PGY1

    “What I wish I knew about taking care of myself in residency is the importance of staying active even with a busy schedule. For example, walking 30 minutes to get home after work rather than taking transit because I find that the walk improves my overall mood and well-being.” – PGY1

    “It’s worth spending money on a gym membership to maintain my physical health! As physical health is so intimately linked to mental health, taking care of my body helps keep my mind sharp and ready for the wards.” – PGY1

    “What I wish I knew “About Taking Care of Myself in Residency” in my first year, to make a point to schedule a massage or carve out a minimum of 1 hr for just yourself on every post call day.” – PGY2

    “It is possible to join an organized sports team and serves an an excellent mid-week brain break!” – PGY2

    “I wish I knew that it was ok to block time off for myself earlier in residency. It’s so important to make space for yourself. In the long run you will thank yourself for it!” – PGY5

    “Book all your vacation at the beginning of the year, you’ll really look forward to it.” – PGY2

    “If somebody allows you to go home early, go, don’t ask questions.” – PGY2

    “It’s okay to take the time to adjust to residency and be slow when doing everything at first!” – PGY1

    “I wish I knew that resident wellness office offers 10 free therapy sessions.” – PGY2

    “Prioritizing routine beginning of rotation that’s realistic. Exercise, diet, and sleep are crucial.” – PGY1

    “How to manage time after working hours, dividing work and self care time.” – PGY1

    “That getting involved in committees and leadership actually helps me learn more about my wellbeing, by connecting me with other physicians and seeing how they manage their life balance.” – PGY2

    “Sometimes, people ask “how are you?” because they actually care about you! Embrace it.” – PGY1

    “Take care of yourself! It’s okay to pause and take time for yourself to recharge after a busy day.” – PGY1

    “I wish I knew of a good way to meal prep efficiently to have healthy meals.” – PGY1

    “It is best to expect that no one else will advocate for you, so that you learn to advocate for yourself! Advocating for your personal days, lieu days, or for your call schedule to line up with the Collective Agreement is not selfish as it not only ensures you can be your best self at the hospital and at home, but it also helps your co-residents to advocate for themselves!”- PGY2

    “Plan your days off with your rotations so you can utilize your flex days and vacation days to the max! I did not plan in PGY1 and ended up having left over vacation days and flex days that could not be carried over.” – PGY2

    “Stay connected with friends that aren’t in healthcare so they can keep you grounded and support you differently.” – PGY1

    “I wish I knew to pay attention to RDoBC emails earlier in residency so as not to miss out on all the wonderful wellness initiatives they organize!” – PGY4

    “I wish I had learned about the City of Vancouver Recreation passes that grants to admission to all the city’s community centers, kits pool, aquatic center, and more. You can purchase passes by the #, or time (30 days, few months, year), etc. This is a more financially economic way to get your workouts in compared to purchasing gym memberships through private gyms. Also, don’t forget about out employee perks through VCH and Doctors of BC!” – PGY5

    “It’s ok to be completely unproductive and do nothing on post-call days!” – PGY2

    “Taking brief breaks during the day to grab a snack and recharge is extremely important.” – PGY1

    “I wish I knew that the advice of those above me would ring so true. I’ve quickly realized that achieving balance in my life is important to my physical and emotional well being. As hard as it can be, making sure that I stay active, invest in my relationships, and get enough sleep, all while focusing on medicine is something that will take time to work at, and there is no better time to start than now.” – PGY1

    “That the basics are so important. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I have started do a check in of the basics ‘have I eaten? have I exercised? have I slept?’ if the answer to any of these is ‘not enough’ then I will make that my top priority and only once all three have been satisfied to I move on and think about the other things at hand.” – PGY3

    “I wish I knew more about the recreation discounts that RDBC/UBC alum offer.” – PGY1

    “More about the discounts on RDocs!” – PGY1

    “I wish I had stronger boundaries about leaving events early to prioritize my sleep the night before a long shift, because working long shifts 12 hours + are dreadful without enough sleep.” – PGY2

    “I wish I had known about the 2 flex days a year at the start of residency. These would have been very helpful for getting tasks done during business hours for Banking, etc during first year with all the off service rotations as well.” – PGY2

  • What I Wish I Knew About My Rights as a Resident
    • “Sometimes it’s not worth fighting disposition in the emerg. Get staff involved early.” – PGY2
    • “I wish that I knew all of the ways that our Collective Agreement protects us! It wasn’t until an issue come up later in my residency that I actually took the time to read through our CA. I wish that I had informed myself early in residency so that I was aware of our many rights. Also, I learned that RDBC is always there for us, to help make sense of the CA and also advocate that it is followed.” – PGY4
    • “I wish I knew to create protected time for my hobbies and interests and to connect with the Resident Wellness Office earlier!” – PGY5
    • “Plan your massage sessions early in advance as soon as you get your call schedule; book massages on post call days. Our benefits are very generous allowing us to benefit from unlimited massage sessions, which is paramount as a surgical resident, or any for that matter.” – PGY1
    • “I wish I knew that I was entitled to support from the union representative at Resident Doctors of BC in discussions involving my program directors and /or my standing in the program.” – PGY1
    • “I wish I had read the full residency employment agreement. It’s very valuable knowing your rights and privileges.” – PGY1
    • “Rules for call scheduling around vacation blocks.” – PGY5
    • “Be aware that Resident Doctors of B.C. has an easily navigated copy of the Collective Agreement on their website in case you ever need to consult it around a particular issue before speaking to your site administration, and know that should you be encountering difficult situations, you can always reach out RDBC for assistance.” – PGY2
    • “Scheduling is super important. Your program should be arranging schedules with a good amount of notice, and working with you to accommodate vacation, etc. You shouldn’t be waiting until the last minute to know your schedule for the block!” – PGY5
    • “I wish I knew that writing even the American board exams was a protected time that I did not have to take a flex day to write.” – PGY4
    • “That call requirement is based on time on service and doesn’t include vacation.” – PGY1
    • “Requirements for call room safety, maintenance, and upkeep!” – PGY1
    • “I wish I knew I had the right to take a leave of absence for reasons other than medical.” – PGY5
    • “I wish I knew my rights to be a part of meetings held after adverse events.  After being involved in situations with adverse events, I didn’t go to the meetings afterward, in fact I wasn’t even invited. As a health care worker involved, I should have been invited and missed out on potential learning opportunities. Now as I am approaching my final year of residency, I wish I had more exposure to these meetings as the stakes around adverse events seem higher as a staff physician.” – PGY4
    • “Use all your allocated flex, holiday and lieu days!” – PGY1
    • “I wish I knew the rules surrounding call scheduling and maximum call requirements.” – PGY1
    • “That parking is covered when called back to hospital or when on cross coverage shifts.” – PGY1
    • “I wish I knew that it is our right to take a post call day.” – PGY5
    • “Family Medicine Residents can get more than $4000 per month of rural rotation for both BC student loan forgiveness and Canada student loan forgiveness.” (BC loans only, source 1, 2) – PGY1
    • “I wish I read the call scheduling in the Collective Agreement early on to understand maximum number of call shifts based on rotation duration and when I am entitled to a post-call day if working home call.” – PGY2
    • “I can submit a contract violation through the Resident Doctors of BC website.” – PGY2
    • “The Resident Doctors of BC website has a detailed outline of the rules surrounding call scheduling. If you unsure about whether you have been scheduled according to the rules and cannot find an answer on the website, they are very responsive to emails. Call scheduling mistakes and rule violations do happen!” – PGY1
    • “You get a lieu day if a stat holiday falls on your vacation week.” – PGY3
    • “I wish I knew that you have a right to have the weekend before your vacation off and free from call (if your vacation starts on a Monday).” – PGY1
    • “Consequences for programs if they don’t provide their call schedule in advance.” – PGY5
    • “Read into the insurance coverage — we have good coverage for prescription sunglasses, orthodontic treatment and more.” – PGY1
    • “You have the right and ability to make time to look after yourself. Burnout is real, and residency is a marathon, not a sprint. Book weekly massages, which are covered by your benefits, and recognize when you should take a leave of absence or switch to part-time, both of which you are able to do.” – PGY4
    • “The lieu days that we earn for working on a statutory holiday are valid for one calendar year (12 months)!” – PGY1
    • “You are only allowed to work 2 weekend dates in a block as per the RDBC Collective Agreement! (FYI Friday’s are considered weekdays).” – PGY2
    • “I wish I knew that accommodations were available in residency and that the programs have a duty to accommodate up to the legal threshold of undue hardship. Residents, as all Canadians, are covered by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” – PGY1
    • “That we’re entitled to 2 x 24 hour periods of rest every 2 weeks!” – PGY3
    • “It wasn’t until later on in residency that I reviewed the Call Scheduling rule as part of our Collective Agreement. This outlines the max number of call shifts that you can be scheduled for during a block, depending on the type of call shift and the days that you are on service. This is particularly pertinent for shorter blocks when you have vacation!!” – PGY4
    • “Speak up if call scheduling doesn’t follow RDBC guidelines!” – PGY2
    • “Read the contract back to back! It’s important to know your rights, especially because schedulers may not. For example, if you take vacation over a stat holiday you can then take that holiday as a lieu day. Residency is long so take advantage of days off where you can.” – PGY4
    • “You can submit emerg shifts for holiday pay! It doesn’t only apply to call shifts.” – PGY4
    • “That you’re entitled to a lieu day if your vacation falls on a stat holiday.” – PGY1
    • “PGME has a process for requesting exceptions to the $1400/month rental reimbursement while away on rural rotation, so they don’t need to stress if they can’t find suitable housing for that amount.” – PGY1
    • “I wish I knew that there is a designated number of hours that I was supposed to work in a week in order to be fresh for my shifts and to function like a proper human being.” – PGY2
    • “While on home call, if I have to return to site to see a patient, then the parking is covered!” – PGY1
    • “I could easily contact Resident Doctors of BC about concerns regarding the call schedule.” – PGY3
    • “If I felt discriminated against, harassed, bullied or mistreated by a preceptor, I can file an anonymous report with the Respectful Environments, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) office to log the preceptor’s actions. I can also choose to include my contact information to receive confidential advice about my options. (The REDI website is https://redi.med.ubc.ca).” – PGY6
    • “That completing required courses such as PALS and NRP are protected time from rotations.” – PGY2
    • “When doing home call, it’s your right to claim milage or a return trip taxi fair if you need to go in!” – PGY4
    • “That there are great mental health resources for residents that are low barrier and easy to access!” – PGY3
    • “That there is an incredible team at RDBC dedicated to improving the working conditions of residents, including by negotiating our collective agreement (CA) — meaning: read the CA, reach out and speak up if you’re experiencing contract violations as we can all play a role in this!” – PGY4
    • “That the Contract Violation Form exists!” – PGY2
    • “You have the right to speak up when rules regarding call maximums are not being followed.” – PGY5
    • “No one will care if you take your deserved time off, use all of the vacation and lieu days you have!” – PGY2
    • “The ins and outs of call scheduling – specifically, that every resident must have at least two 24-hour periods of non-working time per two week period.” – PGY3
    • “We have the right to two days off prior to examinations for travel, the exam time and one travel day home. This is not vacation, it’s educational leave.” – PGY4
    • “You get a lieu day for being post call on a stat holiday.” – PGY1
    • “I wish I knew that programs were not allowed to have you round on weekends when you are not on call.  If this is happening, you can report to Resident Doctors of BC.” – PGY3
    • “You can submit a request for extended coverage for accommodation and travel expenses for your rural placements and selective rotations. This will allow you additional funding for longer travel distances or high cost of living areas, however you need to request this prior to the rotation.” – PGY2
    • “You can have parking paid for when you are on home call!” – PGY2
    • “You can take your lieu day within 12 months of earning it (not just on that block or academic year).” – PGY2
    • “Rules around vacation scheduling and flex days (that are often not advertised).” – PGY3
    • “I wish I knew that you are entitled to a lieu day if your post-call day falls on a STAT day.” – PGY1
    • “That you can take medical leave before maternity leave if you need to stop working early and then you don’t use up the hours for maternity leave before baby arrives and you get the full pay while on medical leave in the meantime.” – PGY2
    • “I wish I knew that I could take single days off for vacation instead of taking weeks off.” – PGY1
    • “I wish I had known that there are supports available from RDBC (and program) if we are forced to do call beyond the contract allotted amount, especially as a junior resident.” – PGY3
    • “If a stat holiday falls on one of your vacations, you are entitled to a lieu day! Don’t forget to let your program know and take advantage of this valuable time off.” – PGY2
    • “I wish I had known that I was entitled to both weekends around a vacation week. And that additional weeks are factored in for exam prep around the RCC and you don’t have to use vacation days for that.” – PGY6
    • “I wish I knew that I had the right to fair treatment in the operating room. When I first started residency, I thought it was normal to be belittled by my colleagues because I was junior. I realize now that the OR should be an inclusive environment for everyone, regardless of training level.” – PGY4
    • “That post-call days are guaranteed within our agreement! No matter how much your staff may pressure you to not take that post-call day, even if they use guilt-tripping, you are within your rights to take that time off to recover and maintain wellness.” – PGY2
    • “I wish I knew about our Collective Agreement rights in regard to call scheduling rules and post call days.” – PGY4
    • “I wish I knew that I could take conference days – make sure you plan accordingly. Take time for your learning and wellness.” – PGY1
    • “I wish I knew I had the right to reach out to the Resident Wellness Office earlier, they provide amazing support!” – PGY4
    • “During pregnancy, residents are not required to work more than 12 continuous hours after 24 weeks gestation.” – PGY1
    • “Lieu days can be used within one year; flex days must be used by the end of the residency year.” – PGY2
    • “Parking and mileage / cab fare are reimbursed when called back in on-call – it adds up over the years if you take the time to claim it!” – PGY5
    • “I think there is a common misconception that you have to use a lieu day on the same block you earned it. In fact, as per Article 19.02, you can use a lieu day up to 12 months after earning it!” – PGY2
    • “That I was eligible for reimbursement for parking when I had to come into the hospital on home call.” – PGY2
    • “You can get funding through REAP (Rural Education Action Plan (REAP)) for rural electives! Their website has a lot of information for anyone hoping to practice or gain experience in rural BC.” – PGY2
    • “The maximum call limits (days of call per block) based on the amount of days in a block you are working!” – PGY1
    • “I wish I knew my rights to use my FLEX days on core rotations and not just elective ones.” – PGY2
    • “That extended commuting mileage for mandatory rotations is reimbursable at 50c/km!” – PGY2
    • “That RMT massages were covered as part of our medical benefits.” – PGY1
    • “UBC PGME partially covers travel to and from mandatory rotations! So round trip from VGH to Kelowna would be like $400!” – PGY3
    • “That I’m entitled to 2x 24hrs off in every 2 week period.” – PGY2
    • “If you are on vacation on a stat holiday you get a lieu day!” – PGY2
    • “That you have the right to take 3 days of paid compassionate leave and are also granted 2 additional days of paid leave if you need to travel as well.” – PGY2
    • “You can work essentially a maximum of two in-house weekends per month. If you’re scheduled for 3 in-house weekends, then the average of 3 months can be taken to determine your call volume (ie maximum 6 in-house weekends spread over 3 months).” – PGY 1.5