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Pearls for New Residents and New Dermatologists

Between learning dermatologic disease states and developing clinical skills, professional development oftentimes gets deprioritized during residency. Arash Izadpanah, MD, FAAD, offered several pieces of advice for young clinicians looking to grow their practice. Dr Izadpanah is chairman of the division of dermatology for Scripps Clinic Medical Group in San Diego, CA. He shared insights at the inaugural San Diego Dermatology Symposium.

He shared several pearls with attendees, including:

1. Learn practical things. Dr Izadpanah recommended learning what nurses and staff typically perform: surgical tray setup, wound dressings, how to call patients back, etc. “All of these things might seem like scut work to you, but the best case scenario is you teach someone else to do this in the future, and the worst case scenario is you’ll be doing it yourself,” he said.

2. Take advantage of resident-only opportunities. Dermatology offers numerous resources to its residents, he explained. There are free or discounted society memberships, such as to the American Academy of Dermatology or American Medical Association, as well as meeting scholarships, research grants, volunteer trips, workshops and conferences, and more. All of these resources can help with skill development as well as networking.

3. Don’t be afraid of complex cases. While it can be daunting to see certain diseases that may be rare or treat patients with several comorbidities, approaching these situations can be incredibly useful during residency. When you’re out on your own, you’ll have to manage them on your own, and you will have no problem doing that with your experience during residency, said Dr Izadpanah.

4. Keep a healthy work-life balance. Dermatology certainly has one of the most attractive work-life balances in all of medicine, but the demands of residency may not seem so. Dr Izadpanah said to remember that there will never be a perfect time to get married, start a family, or have other major milestones, so continuing to live life outside of your career can make residents a happier person and better doctor.

5. Plan career goals and retirement early. Career and financial planning at the beginning of residency can go a long way. Have goals to work towards and begin to take into account those accomplishments and how to achieve them.

Reference
Izadpanah A. Advice for residents and new dermatologists. Presented at:  San Diego Dermatology Symposium; September 11-13, 2020; virtual.

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