Tips and Tricks to Manage Chief Resident Administrative Tasks

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As a chief resident, you have many nonclinical duties in addition to your clinical ones. On the surface it may not seem like a lot, but it can get quickly overwhelming if you’re not organized. Consider these tips and tricks from a recent chief resident and an associate program director to stay on top of your administrative duties.

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Calendar Management

  • Link your work calendar to your cell phone and leave your notifications in the ‘on’ position to ensure you arrive on time to any meetings.
  • It may be helpful to combine your personal and work calendars (also linked to your cell phone) to ensure a good work–life balance.


E-mail Inbox Management

  • Link your work e-mail to your cell phone, but turn off your e-mail notifications to help with work–life balance.
  • Timeliness in response to e-mails:
    • In general, you should respond to any e-mail within 1 to 2 business days during the normal work week.
    • If you are planning to be out of the office or not checking your e-mails during that time, create an automated reply message to notify e-mail senders that they should not expect a response until your return.
  • Create a file folder system with folders and subfolders to organize all of your e-mails.
  • Some e-mail platforms have flagging systems that enable you to flag higher-priority e-mails.
  • If you are unable to respond to a question, you can forward or cc the e-mail to others who may be able to assist with a response.


Meeting Organization

  • Prepare in advance for meetings so that they run efficiently.
    • If you are the meeting organizer, it is best practice to send an agenda and a reminder e-mail before the meeting so attendees know what to expect.
    • Using a notebook or an electronic document, you should keep your own notes during meetings so you can easily refer to them afterward.
    • After a meeting, it is best practice to share any to-do's, action items, or meeting minutes with the attendees.


Electronic Health Record (EHR) Inbox Management

  • Check your EHR inbox daily when you are on clinical service.
  • When you are not on clinical service, you should check your EHR inbox at least once a week to ensure you are co-signing–attesting any documentation and addressing any patient requests, staff messages, and/or lab results.
    • You can set a weekly reminder to help you keep up with this task.
    • Most EHR systems allow you to set notifications, reminding you of specific dates and times.
  • Prioritize prescription requests, messages, and lab results.
    • You can mark certain unaddressed items as ‘unread’ as reminders to yourself.
  • We recommend downloading the EHR app to your cell phone so that you’re alerted with important notifications (that is, staff messages, critical results) even when you are not working on a clinical service that day.


Addressing To-Do's, Action Items, and General Reminders

  • Keep one to-do list. Prioritize your list based on priority, time sensitivity, and tasks that may be more time consuming.
    • Block out time on your calendar for tasks that take more time to complete.
  • Keep reminders or to-do's by cc-ing or bcc-ing yourself on e-mails.
  • Use the e-mail Send Later option to send reminders to yourself or send e-mails at specific times in the future.
    • Outlook, Gmail, and other e-mail platforms have this functionality.


William C. Lippert, MD, MPH, FACP

  • Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine
  • Associate Program Director, Internal Medicine Residency
  • Department of Internal Medicine / Section on Hospital Medicine, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist

Christina M. Rinaldi, DO

  • Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine
  • Department of Internal Medicine / Section on General Internal Medicine, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist