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How Psychiatry Residents can Prepare for Practice After Graduation

Helpful tips for navigating life, finances, and practice after graduating psychiatry residency.



You've worked hard to do well in medical school and psychiatry residency and as you're thinking about 'what next?', it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Psychiatry residency is great for teaching you the skills you need to be a clinically sound psychiatrist. Residents get exposed to various practice settings and psychiatric specialities within the walls of academic centers and community health care systems. It's likely that most - if not all- of the psychiatrists you have met are employed by large health care systems.


Most, if not all, residencies will not adequately prepare you to start or run your own practice. Most residencies also don't provide any training in contract negotiation, billing, or burgeoning and innovative treatments such as TMS or psychedelic medicine.



Get interested in other aspects of psychiatry not offered within the walls of your training

Reach out to psychiatrists who are practicing in other environments - private practice, independent contract work, and locum tenens. Consider it to be an informational interview and prepare some questions you'd like to ask them over the phone or zoom.


Even in residency, you can possibly do "away rotations". These are opportunities to obtain additional training outside of what your residency can offer. If you are really interested in doing TMS after residency, obtain additional training now. I have always been interested in integrative psychiatry and during my fourth year, I was able to complete a rotation at the University of Arizona, learning Integrative Psychiatry in their residency clinic. I also completed Accelerated Resolution Therapy training over a weekend and obtained certification in Sports Psychiatry through an online curriculum.


Request didactics on contract negotiation and financial health

This doesn't mean having a financial advisor come in and talk about finances (with a clear secondary gain) or a disability insurance salesperson come in to talk about disability insurance and why its necessary. Oftentimes, attendings will have lots of valuable insight and experiences, if they are comfortable sharing.


Lean on your co-residents

Start conversations with your co-residents - what positions are they interviewing for and what is the salary/benefits/work week? It can really helpful to hear what types of positions are available and what salary they are being offered. This can help reduce gender and race salary inequities and provide a more solid foundation for negotiating.


Don't buy the big house

Don't buy the big house! Live under your means and keep enough money (at least 6 months) set aside to walk away from a job or position if you need to. Learn how to invest. Ask yourself frequently if money is more important to you than time.



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