Requested post-- ten things I wish I knew before residency.
1. No one's reading the notes, so you really don't have to spend a lot of time worrying about the language. Just put the facts in and move on.
2. You will never get anyone to do anything when you need them to do it, no matter how many times you ask. Accept that the MRI won't happen until tomorrow and move on.
3. The other doctors aren't always right, don't always have the right intentions, and aren't always particularly nice people. Don't defer to someone just because you don't want to cause trouble. It'll just cause more trouble later.
4. If you really think you're right about something, you still might be wrong, but it's probably worth ordering the test anyway, just to double-check.
5. That stuff you didn't pay attention to in medical school will actually turn out to be useful. And med school was probably the only time you were ever going to see it. You should have paid better attention.
6. You will never get a lunch break. Pretending you will, and not bringing anything to eat because you assume you'll be able to sneak down to the cafeteria for ten minutes, will only leave you hungry. Bring lunch. Every day.
7. Go to the bathroom when you have a chance. You don't want to be holding it in while you're performing CPR. You will always be busy later. Always. Go now.
8. You are going to make mistakes.
9. No website/TV show/e-mail is worth missing sleep for. Go to bed, now. Now. Right now. You'll thank me in the morning.
10. Overnight shifts really suck.
[Update 8/10/11, 12:09 PST -- since I see a bunch of people are coming to this post via Reddit, thought I'd add the link to one of the videos I've made, that may or may not be funny enough to watch.]