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.

The theme for June, 2022 is:

What I Wish I Knew About My Rights as a Resident

  • 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


    • June 2022
      • “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