March 2021

Members & Publications


Top 10 Things to Know as You Prepare to Be a Physiatrist


Eric Stockwell, MD

Eric M. Stockwell, MD
PGY3, Louisiana State University PM&R Program





Congrats on the Match! You are about to start residency. Now what?

  • Pay attention to the discussions, rotations and parts of your day that make you excited.  Continue to develop your unique path and passion to guide your career pursuits. Remember why you became a physiatrist.
  • Build your health capital through sustainable exercise, diet, community and sleep efficiency habits to maintain a healthy balance, despite hectic shifting rotations. Take advantage of less intense rotations to address non-residency obligations.
  • Despite the booming social life that you may expect during residency, make time to nurture your relationships. Let your loved ones know how much they are appreciated. You will need to lean on others. For example, you will need help if your laptop/tablet breaks during a busy rotation in a pandemic, and every single store is closed.
  • If you use the same EHR during intern year and the remainder of residency, master shortcuts, smart templates and note-writing to be efficient during your PM&R years. You may continue to hone these same tools even after residency. Ask upper-level residents to share their templates.
  • Ask questions. After fulfilling your responsibility to your patients, residency is foremost a time to learn. You will make mistakes. Familiarize yourself with PM&R Knowledge NOW® and other educational content from AAPM&R, so that you can quickly reference educational materials.
  • Make a personal connection with at least one faculty member and one upper-level resident. These mentors can serve as your guides for questions that may not be suited for official leadership and life during residency.
  • Use your internal medicine rotations to practice motivational interviewing and build the fundamental knowledge for medical management. Visit for reminders on how to hone your physiatry skills even when you are not on a PM&R rotation.
  • Develop personal incentives to learn, review literature and stay organized. Priorities during residency may naturally become your priorities after residency. When your successful habits pay off, celebrate both the small and the large victories. 
  • Be the resident you wanted as a student. Make time to teach. Residency can, and should be, a challenging time in life. When the challenges feel overwhelming, remember, "This too shall pass." Life gets better after intern year, when you can finally focus on PM&R! 
  • Take time during intern year to get to know your colleagues outside of PM&R. Educate your co-interns on your role as a physiatrist, both in optimizing outcomes and function, during the entire lifetime of your mutual patients. You may continue to work with these colleagues in the future.  You can share additional helpful residency tips found here.

It's time to stop following your resident everywhere (including the accidental bathroom trip). You are the resident now. Congrats!

To stay connected to those who will be your colleagues, peers, mentors and friends in PM&R, maintain your AAPM&R membership now and throughout your career!