Top 6 Challenges of Medical Residency Students


Medical residents are vulnerable to the same mental, physical, and emotional challenges that plague any medical student. However, because they’re juggling the needs of their patients as well as their own personal and academic life, these challenges can be even more amplified.

We know that doctors and surgeons are some of the most honorable professionals in our society. But, medical residency is a rugged path, one rife with many obstacles that those outside the profession may never hear about. You can look to to see more about medical residency issues.

We hope this list will give you an idea of what these heroes do on a daily basis to better serve their community while fighting personal battles with dignity and strength.

  • Work-life balance

Medical professionals work long hours. And as a resident in training, this becomes even truer. Residents are on call 24/7. If you’re keeping up with your social life, well; that doesn’t really exist while you’re in residency. You may be spending several hours a day at the hospital, with little to no social life outside of work and study.

  • Time pressures

This can be a big factor in your day-to-day life, especially if you’re part of a large team. With limited resources and more patients than ever, there’s simply more work to do than ever before.

  • Fear of failure or making a serious mistake

You’re required to work with so many different patients in so many different subspecialties that you never know what your treatment plan will be. This can cause a bit of anxiety when it’s time for surgery or any other important procedure. And often medical residents wonder if their skills will be enough to help a patient.

  • Debt

Medical residents are often paid low starting salaries, which often don’t increase enough to cover living expenses or put health insurance on their own. The chances are high that you will leave residency with significant debt, especially if you complete your medical education in a private school.

  • Dealing with the stress

Like any profession, medical students and residents deal with high levels of stress. But unlike physicians who are on their own, medical students are at the mercy of their superiors to enforce a good work-life balance. And residents are often tasked with juggling too many patients or responsibilities that there’s not enough time in the day for them to recover from their stress.


Common Forms of Medical Residency Misconduct

Substance abuse

The problem with substance abuse isn’t only that the resident is abusing drugs or alcohol, but the effects it has on those around them can only be significantly high. A patient’s life may be at stake if the medical professional isn’t operating with a clear head. Therefore, substance abuse among medical residents is not only unethical but is also dangerous.

Sexual misconduct

Sexual misconduct is a serious problem in the medical profession. A sexual relationship between a physician and their patient is strictly prohibited. And if such a relationship comes to light, the resident will be harshly punished by the medical association. Also, we’ve seen a trend of sexual harassment among physicians against their colleagues or patients’ family members. This type of behavior is inexcusable and often leads to legal action.


Common Disciplinary Board Actions Against Medical Residency Misconduct

1. Administrative notice

This is the most common action taken by the institution against a medical resident. The student is usually told they are in violation of one or more policies, procedures, or guidelines, and is given a chance to correct the situation.

2. Verbal warnings

This action is taken only in cases of minor issues. The student will be told they are in violation of one or more policies, procedures, or guidelines and may be given a verbal warning.

3. Written reprimand

An official document is issued to the student, which states they have violated one or more policies, procedures, or guidelines. This document could include a check-off list and a specific explanation of the reason for the action.


4. Probation

The student may be placed on probation for a certain period. In most cases, there is no formal probation agreement between the institution and the medical association. If a violation occurs and somehow if the incident falls under very serious policy, then disciplinary action may be taken.

5. Suspension

This is the most serious action an institution can take against a medical resident. The student may be suspended from the program as well as any education conferences or meetings, and they may be forbidden to practice medicine in general.

6. Termination

The student can be immediately terminated from the program. Termination is quite rare, but it can happen if a patient is harmed by the student’s actions.



Medical boards have numerous ways to hold medical residents accountable for unethical and illegal acts committed during their training. The most common of these actions come through the hospital’s internal disciplinary board or the medical association’s disciplinary board.

These actions range from a warning to termination of the medical student’s education, and sometimes even their profession. Medical students and residents need to be fully aware of the potential consequences that can result from their unethical behavior. Medical residents must be held accountable for their actions. Otherwise, the public could potentially be in danger.

While disciplinary action is common in medical residency training, you shouldn’t take it lightly. And if you think you may be the target of disciplinary action, we recommend speaking with your professional association to find out how best to deal with it. You can hire a student defense lawyer to help you identify the best way to deal with disciplinary action.

A student defense lawyer can assist you with the investigation, gathering evidence, and initiating a lawsuit against the supervising physician. You may want to provide appropriate information about the incident to your lawyer and obtain documentation of the incident.

You better be cautious about what you say during an investigation. It’s better to be fully truthful without leaving any evidence that could be used against you in a disciplinary hearing.

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