Some Survival Tips for Residents

Things to Consider When You Start a Rotation

  • Plan ahead so that you know where you will be going and what you will be doing when you start your rotation.
  • Familiarize yourself with the rotation site and the people that you will be working with.
  • Find out if there are any other students or residents at your rotation site and plan to meet-up for lunch or coffee.
  • Ask about other interesting learning opportunities that may be available at your rotation site, like educational rounds (e.g. Grand Rounds).
  • Ask about interesting things to do and see on the weekends while you are on rotation. 

The Four Stages of Learning

Adapted from The Four Stages of Learning, The Process Coaching Centre.

It has been demonstrated that there are four stages of learning that an adult goes through when learning a new skill.  It is useful to use these four stages when thinking about your learning and development during your residency year and also during your rotations.  Think about these stages when you are on your rotations, as they may help you realize that what you are feeling is normal and all part of the learning process!  

Stage 1: Unconscious Incompetence

"I don't know that I don't know how to do this."  This is the stage of blissful ignorance before learning begins.  You may feel like this at the beginning of your residency year and at the beginning of your rotations.

Stage 2: Conscious Incompetence

"I know that I don't know how to do this, yet."  This is the most difficult stage, where learning begins, and where the most judgments are made against yourself.  You may feel this way in the first few weeks of your residency year and also during weeks one and two of your rotations.

Stage 3: Conscious Competence

"I know that I know how to do this."  This stage of learning is much easier than the second stage, but it is still a bit uncomfortable and self-conscious.  You may feel this way towards the end of your residency year and in weeks three and four of your rotations.

Stage 4: Unconscious Competence

"What, you say I did something well?"  The final stage of learning a skill is when it has become a natural part of us; we don't have to think about it.  You may not feel this way during your residency, as this typically can take a while to happen (e.g. a couple of years of work as a Clinical Pharmacist).

Some of the People You Can Talk to Throughout Your Residency Year

Over the course of the residency year, you will be learning lots of new things and will be exposed to lots of new experiences.  At times you may find this challenging and you may find that you need someone to talk to for support.  Here is a snapshot of some the people in our Program who care about you and are available to talk to when needed.  We are very familiar with the challenges that residents can face and are here to help.

  • Program Coordinator, Dr. Nicole Bruchet, always available, if you need to talk.
  • Your fellow residents
  • Your preceptors
  • Your mentors
  • Program Director, Dr. Richard Slavik
  • Clinical/Professional Practice Leaders at your rotation sites
  • Pharmacists, technicians, assistants and staff at your rotation sites
  • IH Chief Resident
  • Residency Program Ombudsperson
  • The other BC pharmacy practice residents

Role of the Residency Program Ombudsperson

The role of the ombudsperson is to act as an independent advocate for the residents enrolled in the Program.  The ombudsperson will act on behalf of the residents as a group or individually in circumstances where a satisfactory conclusion to an identified problem has not been reached.  Residents will meet with the ombudsperson during the Evidence Based Medicine Rotation.  More information on the role of the ombudsperson can be found in the Standards of BC Pharmacy Practice Residency Program document.  

Managing Literature and Information During Your Residency Year

Over the course of the residency year, you will collect lots of articles and other reading material during your rotations, academic half day sessions and during your own research for case presentations, your project, ect.  Given all this new information that you will be receiving, it is important that you stay organized. 

Consider creating an electronic library of literature.  This will help you stay organized and find things quickly when you need them.  Also, as you transition from a resident to a Clinical Pharmacist, this will also help you to manage all the information that as health professionals, we are required to read, synthesize and use in our practices.  

Employee and Family Assistance Program

Confidential service available to Interior Health employees, including residents.  Provides assess to counselling services.  You can access the program by going onto the InsideNet, clicking Employee Health and Safety, then clicking Employee Wellness, then clicking Employee and Family Assistance Program under Programs on the main page.    


 -Last updated June 7, 2018