REBEL Cast Episode 24: Advice to the Graduating Resident – Amal Mattu

So this is the second installation of Advice to Graduating Residents. Again, many 3rd year residents will be graduating in just a few short months and taking on their first jobs as attending physicians. I was lucky enough to sit down with the amazing Amal Mattu and pick his brain. He gave some valuable words of wisdom, which I will try and summarize in this post, but for the full advice, be sure to checkout the podcast.  

REBEL Cast Episode 24: Advice to the Graduating EM resident – Amal Mattu

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Amal Mattu
Tenured Full Professor of Emergency Medicine
University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
Twitter: @amalmattu

What 3 things would you tell yourself when you graduated residency?

  1. You Gotta Learn Ultrasound better
  2. Learn how to do research better
  3. Get Involved in Hospital and Medical School Committees Early On: Getting involved early on is a big deal. Many specialties joke, poke fun, or even criticize the ED. Honestly the more EM physicians who get on these committees the less this will happen. It is completely different when you know people on a personal basis and ask for help, even at 1 am in the morning (i.e. You get way less grief and have a better conversation).
  4. Learn Everyone’s Names: Nurses, Housekeepers, and Technicians. Learn as many names as possible. EM is a team sport, and the more of a team sport you create, the more willing people will be to bend over backwards and help you out.
  5. Be the Hardest Working Person in the Department: Be the type of physician who is the earliest one there and the latest one to leave. Don’t sign out loose ends and procedures. Don’t sign out LPs, Pelvic Exams, etc…This will give you a bad reputation within your department.

What are the 3 biggest mistakes you see new EM graduates making?

  1. Not Getting Involved in Hospital Committees: Many residents don’t get involved, but the sooner you do this in your career the better off you will be.
  2. Scared to Say, “I Don’t Know” or Ask for Help: There is a certain sense of having to know everything and not asking for help. Don’t have so much ego that you can’t ask for help. It’s ok to ask for help in tough situations
  3. Don’t Just Clock in and Clock Out: This might be a generational thing due to residency duty hours. People are so eager to leave at the end of their shift. This is problematic because you are leaving more work for your colleagues, and compromising patient care. You are now signing out a patient you know well to a colleague who does not know the patient as well. Don’t be in such a rush to leave at the end of your shift and leave loose ends for your colleagues.

Bonus Question: What Financial Advice Would you give the New EM Graduate?

  1. Live within your means: It’s probably best to rent a place for the 1st year or two after residency. Don’t be in a rush to buy the big things.
  2. Keep Saving Money: Pay off your bad loans as quick as you can.
  3. Good Book for Advice: Personal Finance for Dummies


If you have your own advice for graduating residents, or thoughts on the topics discussed above, be sure to leave us your comments below.

Cite this article as: Salim Rezaie, "REBEL Cast Episode 24: Advice to the Graduating Resident – Amal Mattu", REBEL EM blog, March 28, 2016. Available at:

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