RP401 – Session 3.4: The Road Ahead

Session Readings


The transition from graduating residency to successfully practicing as a board-certified physician is often a challenging endeavor and there is a paucity of information in the medical literature on how to excel in this transition. While there are some inherent benefits to the military PCS system, the transition period remains fraught with uncertainties to include changes to work and family routines, financial stresses, military promotion, and learning to live a new community.

There are some tools and strategies that can help make the transition more manageable. In this session, through a review of resources designed to provide guidance in both professional and military-specific topics, students should be able to formulate a personalized plan of action to successfully navigate their upcoming transition to becoming independently practicing physicians.


  1. Consider the challenges of your upcoming transition after graduation from residency.
    1. Make a list of both your personal and professional priorities associated with your upcoming move. Examples may include; establishing new home, spending more time with family, integrating into new workspace, mastering a particular medical procedure, etc…
    2. Reflect on and provide a written plan to successfully accomplish at least one of the priorities above.
  2. Knowing that having appropriate support can make the transition to from residency to independent practice easier consider your individual strengths and weaknesses from prior life transitions.
    1. Identify your individual strengths which will help provide resilience during times of uncertainty.
    2. Identify your individual weaknesses and at least one resource to help you overcome them.
    3. Reach out to your identified sponsor at your new command, or request one if you have not yet been assigned one, to begin preparing for your transition.


  1. Westerman M, et.al. Understanding the Transition From Resident to Attending Physician: A Transdiciplinary, Qualitative Study. Academic Medicine, 2010.
  2. Block D. Easing Into Your New Practice After Residency: Tips for Success. Family Practice Management, 2013.
  3. Navy Medical Corps Career Blog (mccareer.org)
association-of-american-medical-collegesUnderstanding the Transition from Resident to Attending Physician Are new attending physicians adequately prepared and trained to perform the tasks and duties of their new position? This Transdisciplinary, Qualitative study aims to figure this out. The authors also provide some insight into easing the transition from resident and attending physicians.
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aafp-capital-rgb2_1024x512bEasing Into Your New Practice After Residency Dr. Block outlines 6 tips for a successful transition into practicing after residency.
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navy-medical-corps1Navy Medical Corps Career Blog CDR Schofer's blog is geared towards providing important career planning advice and information for Navy physicians and Medical Corps officers. His blog offers literature to read, resourceful links, an interactive chat and Podcast.
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Session originally created by: Adam Saperstein | | |