Subscribe Here!

    | 2 min read

    Tips for Aspiring Chief Residents

    Curious about how to become a chief resident? Look no further!

    We tapped our community of physician educators to compile this advice for you. Along with working (and studying!) hard, these current Chiefs and Program Directors share some wise words. 

    Arise as a leader as soon as you can

    “I would say: Anyone who is interested in being a Chief should seek out as many leadership activities as possible. The goal should be to arise as a leader in your class as soon as you can. Dedicate yourself to helping the program and energizing your class!” -Joann Carlson MD, Program Director of the Pediatrics Residency Program, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Pediatrics Residency Program

    Know your fellow residents

    "For those interested in being a chief resident, I would say knowing your fellow residents is important. You may not always have the time to be spending time outside of work together, but even time at work spent getting to know each other helps develop those professional relationships. Going forward as a chief resident, you are an advocate for your colleagues, and having those connections is important.

    "I would also suggest thinking about your own goals for your chief year. What are the areas you want to work on for self-growth? Are you applying for a fellowship? Do you want to improve your teaching skills? Are there ways you want to help or improve your residency program? Having an intentional plan for what you do with your chief year shows commitment to the program." -Evan Symons, DO, 2021-2022 Med-Peds Chief Resident, University of Nebraska Medical Center

    Ask not what your program can do for you

    "Here’s my two cents! 

    • Love the program you’re part of, and think of ways you can help improve it, or ways you want to carry on traditions. Be open to change, and be firm in your values

    • Ask not what your program can do for you, but what you can do for your program  :)

    • Be interested in learning all aspects of your job, not just the medical part. Everyone plays an important role to helping care for our patients

    • Talk to your current chiefs! Ask them about their work, what they do, etc. Get a feel for what their job is so you know if it’s something you’re interested in!

    • Realize it’s so much more than just a stepping stone for fellowship or future jobs. You are the resident liaison, and you are there to serve your residents and your program." 

    -Brittany Chow, Loma Linda University Pediatric Chief Resident

    Discuss this career option with your PD early

    "Regarding chiefdom, I'd advise this: Being a chief resident is a unique and fulfilling opportunity! If you aspire to make a profound impact in the lives of your colleagues, both professionally and personally, strongly consider discussing this career option with your program director soon!" -Marcus Germany, 2021-2022 Peds Chief Resident, Case Western Reserve University (MetroHealth)


    If you become a chief resident and are hunting for ways to increase pass rates, keep MedStudy in mind! We're here to help you and your program. Email Marisa Giggey for more info!

    Related Categories

    Residency life

    You may also like:

    Pediatrics Board prep Residency life

    Everything You Need to Know About the Day of Your ABP Exam

    Exams are quickly approaching. We know that by now, you’re all studied up and feeling confident for your ABP General Ped...

    Med school Residency life

    6 Tips to Nail Your Residency Interviews

    If you’re a medical student, just thinking about your upcoming residency interviews probably sends a shiver down your sp...

    Internal Medicine Board prep Residency life

    The Complete Guide to the Internal Medicine Board Exam

    Updated on 11/20/23