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6 tips to help you survive your first on-call shift

Many physicians will have to work shifts where they’re on call. But many newly qualified doctors feel unprepared to take on this responsibility. So, we asked our community to share their tips to help new physicians prepare and thrive in their first shift on-call;

1. Come prepared
2. Keep it simple
3. Stay calm
4. Ask for help
5. Know your limits
6. Believe in yourself

1. Come prepared

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Making sure you are physically and mentally ready will put you in a strong starting position.

take a good sleep before the shift , eat and drink well , be ready with your coffee ☕️ , be confident and always go back to basics , ask for help when you need, keep respect the rule with your team .

— Reem Hasan,MD (@DrReemhasan82) May 2, 2022

2. Keep it simple

Don’t overcomplicate things. Keep it simple and your confidence will grow over time.

Keep it simple and stick to the basics
– ABC approach.. correct and time to think . Ask for help and bounce ideas!

— sunita (@sunita57347943) May 1, 2022

3. Stay calm

High levels of stress, anxiety, frustration, and fear around on-call shifts in student doctors has been shown to negatively impact performance. Try to keep calm and take a step away if you start to feel overwhelmed.

Keep kalm and before doing anything just take a deep breath and think…you will have always time to think (unless is cardiac arrest and in this case you know what to do )

— Doralisa Morrone (@DoryMD) May 2, 2022

4. Ask for help

Nobody knows it all. More senior and experienced colleagues are there to help you. One study showed that when students called their senior for support, it enabled them to step back and better identify the clinical presentation.

Have a very low threshold to ask questions/help from your attendings (it’s part of their job to help you grow) and your co-residents/fellows. You’re part of a team, not all by yourself. @uabmedicine @UABCardiology

— Effie Andrikopoulou, MD MBA FACC (@DrA_FACC) May 3, 2022

5. Respect your team

No one person knows or can do it all. Many of your colleagues will have substantial experience and wisdom that they can share. Respect them, listen to them, and you won’t go wrong.

Know your limits but try not to second guess yourself at every turn. Nurses are your true allies and frequently have more more actionable knowledge than any young physician so treat them with respect right out of the gates and your life will be 1000X better.

— Patrick Flaherty, DO, FACC (@drflaherty) May 1, 2022

6. Believe in yourself

Student doctors with very high levels of negative emotion and low levels of confidence found that this negatively impacted their performance. Try to keep a positive mindset. Believe that your years of training mean you are more than capable of succeeding.

Keep calm. You’ve got this. There’s always someone you can ask for help. Most importantly believe in yourself…

— Dr Shrilla Banerjee MD FRCP (@ShrillaB) May 1, 2022


Want to participate in the conversation? Read more tips to help survive an on-call shift and send in your own by clicking on “Read replies” below

What advice would you give to someone before their first shift on-call?#MedTwitter #CardioTwitter #WomenInMedicine

— Women as One (@WomenAs1) May 1, 2022