Residents: Do you know what you do not know?

Professional education of all kinds today (medicine, law, accounting, etc.) is focused on providing students with exposure to the professional information they need to succeed. Unfortunately, there’s little time left to expose them to the very practical information they need to use their expertise to make a living. For example, many lawyers, after three years in law school, bar review classes, and the bar exam itself, don’t know where the local courthouse is.

Medicine has a particular challenge because of the limitations imposed on the number of hours residents can spend “on the job.” Didactics, clinic training and everything else has to be shoe-horned into a rigid schedule.  Still, a resident needs to have certain basic practical knowledge to be successful, whether he or she plans to practice solo, or join a group practice, or create a unique blend of practice settings.

From our point of view, one essential body of knowledge needed for success in any setting is a basic understanding of the US tort law system, the role of professional liability insurance in protecting the doctor’s practice, and the basics of good risk management as an aid to good patient care.  Some residency programs attempt to address this need with a series of “transition to practice” sessions in PGY-4, but often residents have made critical decisions about their future by the time these sessions are offered.

It’s never too late to learn, however, and PRMS wants to make it easy for residents to learn the basics. You can email us at to request a complimentary copy of Medical Professional Liability Insurance: A Practitioner’s Primer (published by PIAA – for more information about them, visit www.thepiaa.org). Your training director (or whoever is responsible for arranging such things in your program) can also invite us to speak with you and your colleagues; there’s no charge for our service, and it is NOT a sales pitch – just an introduction to key concepts and vocabulary that you need to get off to a good start.

And, most timely, you can visit with us during the APA Annual Meeting, whether you are registered for it or not. Here’s a list of our activities during the meeting. We are always more than happy to speak with residents. The meeting is in Philadelphia this year, a short drive or ride on Amtrak from anywhere between Richmond, VA and Boston, MA.

You are welcome to drop in, but if you want to let us know you’re coming, email us at TheProgram@prms.com. We’ll be looking for you and have a package of information ready.