Our top 10 favorite resident quotes of 2023

By Kristen Fuller, MD
Published December 11, 2023

Key Takeaways

As another year comes to an end, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite quotes from medical residents we received in 2023. 

It’s not easy to navigate the challenges of residency. With the grueling years of schooling, low pay during residency, and significant lack of a positive work-life balance during this time, residents must focus on the positives of their journey. At the same time, however, they must also have a good sense of humor to make it through the training period to become a freshly minted attending.

We rounded up some of the most compelling quotes we received from residents in 2023. Here are our favorites.

frustrated resident doctor

Residency can drive you up the wall

Thomas P, DO: “While I don't know if I would consider myself sane, I think all residents should prepare for residency with the following tip."

"Understand that learning medicine is a marathon, and not a sprint."

Thomas P, DO

residents working together young doctors

An experience you’ll never forget

Cindy Tsui MD: “​​An experience from residency that I will never forget was taking care of a middle-aged gentleman who initially came in for leg cellulitis but was admitted to the ICU because of an incidentally found moderate-to-large pericardial effusion. 

"After the appropriate procedure, he was initially stable and recovering well, when suddenly he was unable to move his entire left side of the body. In just a short timeframe postoperatively, my patient had a stroke. We rushed him to the IR suite for a thrombectomy and, incredibly, he had no residual deficits afterward."

"I was amazed at the extraordinary interdisciplinary communication and teamwork that saved this cellulitis patient from both an impending cardiac tamponade and an MCA stroke."

Cindy Tsui, MD

embarrassed doctor

Embarrassing moments

Jake Jacob, MD: "Early on in residency, I was helping out with a small surgery, and my nerves just got the best of me. Imagine me handing over a scalpel to the main surgeon, and my hand decides to shake like crazy. The scalpel slipped and made this loud clatter as it hit the super clean floor. The whole room went quiet, and I felt my face turn as red as a tomato."

"Even though nothing terrible happened, it was a real wake-up call about staying calm in high-pressure situations in the medical world."

Jake Jacob, MD

Overwhelmed doctor with her hand on her forehead looking out window

The dark side of healthcare

Thomas P, DO: “The most difficult part of residency is sometimes feeling like you're a part of a system where your work is meaningless. I have been in positions multiple times where I have seen the healthcare system fail the patient.

"We overcharge patients for things they didn't need; we make patients follow up in 4 weeks to review labs instead of a phone call; we fail to spend 5 minutes discharging and educating the patient."

"It's mind boggling that patients trust us at all."

Thomas P, DO

dancing doctors happy residents

You have to strive to be happy

Adelaide Ubah, MD: “My most memorable experience in residency was when I would dance at the end of my night shift every morning in the NICU, so I could end the day on a positive note.” 

"I learned that you should strive to be happy no matter the situation."

Adelaide Ubah, MD

residents talking young doctors

Some of the funniest quotes

  • Tina Yang, DO: "I got sprayed with diarrhea, and ever since then, I learned to always gown up, or stand out of the blast zone."

  • Paul Goldenmerry, MD: "I had a big tear in the bag of my scrub pants and had to walk around with my underwear showing for 3 hours."

  • Mihir Patel, MD: "The biggest ethical dilemma I encountered during residency was the time I wanted to punch a patient. I didn’t, because I like getting a paycheck so I can afford to eat."

  • Loma Linda, MD: "I would tell myself, 'This too shall pass.' And then I would imagine myself in 3 years, after residency, and how I’ll have forgotten my misery."

  • Saddam Yasin, MD: "What destructive habit nearly ruined me during residency? Working hard."

Every medical resident has a question to ask and a story to tell—a comical moment, a prickly patient encounter, or a hack for staying sane during residency. We survey medical trainees for their best questions and answers and bring them to you in this column. Engaging, enlightening, and entertaining—from resident to resident!

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