How Interns Can Earn The Trust Of Residents

Intern Resident Trust

While many factors go into the formation of trust, the results of a recent test published by Academic Medicine reveals what actually leads to resident trust in an intern. The model used to perform the surveys was created through preliminary interviews with residents at the University of California, San Francisco. Of 478 residents, 376 (78.7%) completed the survey.

Here are the top 3 characteristics that form trust  in residents:


#1 Reliability     

“Residents appear to consider trust in a way that prioritizes interns’ execution of essential patient care tasks safely within the complexities and constraints of the hospital environment,” the authors wrote.                                                                   

Consistency will always be the best metric for ability and developmental growth. Build trust over time by earning: task by task. How resourceful are you? Can you devise all-encompassing medical plans to impact patient outcomes? Make the most of your time beforehand to enhance your presentation value. Carve out your confidence by being astute and a fast learner of this new culture and it’s expectations of you.

You’ve come this far… now it’s game time. Adapt!

#2 Competence

“Residents said that interns show their competence by devising and implementing plans of care, responding to new and acute issues, and demonstrating knowledge.” the authors wrote

There is a big difference between a detailed workup vs. a messy pile of arbitrary patient data that is void of any real medical direction, thought, or planning. Be committed to the case to become better at quickly keying in on relevant factors, and knowing what is vital to patient care, adding a ton of value to your patient workups and residents’ opinion of you.

#3  Propensity to make errors

“Interviewees also indicated that interns build trust by responding to feedback and cutting down on errors.” the authors wrote

There is nothing worse than an intern who, when called to present, aimlessly rambles on and on about a case that lacks any medical direction or insight. Don’t be “that guy”.

Be committed to the case, don’t miss anything, and push further into your differential diagnoses. An in-depth knowledge of history and a few well thought out arguments provide the necessary reasoning behind a solid plan.  

Address resident concerns head-on, further separating you from the pack of bewildered interns, and gaining the necessary confidence in your patient case evaluations, planning, and presentations. Show your ability to think like a doctor who cares about positive health outcomes, not of an intern who thinks they know how to impress residents.

Joseph Bryant
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