The Graduating Resident Series

Author: Meaghan Mercer, DO
Emergency Medicine Resident
University of Nevada School of Medicine
AAEM/RSA President

The following blog post appeared initially at and is reproduced with the permission of the author.

As the year nears an end we are looking at all the residency check boxes that need to be completed but often receive little education about the next step after we leave the doors of academia.
If you haven’t looked at the website, start now.

You become (board eligible) BE on your date of graduation and initial certification and application: if submitted from April 15- July 1,2015 ($420), July 2- Aug 3, 2015 ($575), and Aug 4- Oct 1, 2015 ($1295). You are able to apply for your board exams starting May 1-Nov 5th and costs $960. The qualifying exam will be available Nov Monday – Saturday, November 16 – 21, 2015. Plan ahead to have ample time to study and have access to the time to take your exam.

Once you pass your written exam you then will be given a date in the spring or fall to take your oral board exam. After you pass the oral board you will be officially board certified for ten years. To maintain your certification you will have to participate in MOC (maintenance of certification). Requirements in the first five full years of certification include the following:

  • Passing four ABEM LLSA tests, completing an average of 25 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM or equivalent.
  • Completion of an Assessment of Practice Performance (APP) patient care Practice Improvement (PI) activity.
  • Completion of an APP patient-centered communication/professionalism activity. 

    *APP: Assessment of Practice Performance
    For more information go to:

    Professional Development
    We have lived in a world with easy access to a blue print to success and people of all teaching types to help us on our journey. Guardians look out for us and note successes and failures, often without having to even ask. As you graduate make sure to continue to find mentors, advisors, and colleagues to help you along the way.

    Remember that you touch the lives of hundreds of people a week, just at work. Be kind, be patient, be forgiving. Smile at the end of a grueling nightshift, get along with everyone, be the team player, be someone everyone wants to work with. Know the names of everyone from the janitor to the CEO, this is a team sport and we all know when those friendships have made the difference in both a patient’s care and the ease of your day.

    Respect everyone.

    Remember that your last residency check (which we all know is not that much) comes around June or early July; your first paycheck could be as late as early August. Start saving some liquid (accessible funds) to cover licensing, moving, housing, deposits and other unforeseen expenses. These costs can add up to thousands of dollars. You don’t want to put these expenses on a high interest rate credit card.

    Ask if your new job will cover some of these costs and if it’s up front or reimbursed, plan accordingly.

    Be smart with your money. Live like a resident for the first few years and pay off your loans. If your employer matches your retirement contributions put the maximum in (free money!). If you’re bad with money find a wealth manager, CPA, someone who can advise you how to maximize your income.

    Life Long Learning
    If you never open a book again, your current medical knowledge will be obsolete in the next 2 years. You have to learn how to read/study when someone isn’t making you.

    As you graduate, all educational content gets more expensive. Check out all of your free resources now. Decide what has worked best for you and what you want to invest in once your out. Research what can give you CME credit so you can maximize your time. If you have any academic funds left you can apply them to any organization dues or educational resources that you want to invest in, don’t let those dollars go to waste.

    Personal Development
    This is one that currently stresses me out (ridiculous I know), but we are going to go from working 60-80 hours a week to possibly 30-40 hours. Many of us have pushed ourselves for the last 11-12 years to get the dream med school, residency, and job. We should push ourselves to be the best physician we can but there is no one watching, no pat on the back, no scorecard, except your own. It’s a crazy concept.

    Find things that fulfill your life other than the brass ring. Don’t let money be the sole driving factor. Strive for quality: life, patient care, happiness and avoid the tunnel vision of quantity: more shifts, more money, more things. With twice as much free time and many less mandated activities, start to seek out your hobbies. Make friends outside of medicine, learn about things that interest you, and become well rounded again.

    Other Great Resources
    CORD’s advice for graduates:

    EMP’s wealth management videos:

    General Advice: