> Navigating Residency

I Wish I Had Known: Learn to Code Early

Residency is your golden opportunity. While stressful and demanding, it offers the chance to learn everything you can about dermatology before stepping into the real world (which you haven’t seen since before medical school).

While I did much to prepare for my dermatology career, there are few things I should have paid more attention to during my training.

The most obvious for me now is CODING. I have to admit that as a resident, the last thing I cared about was how to bill for my services. This became glaringly obvious after my first week in private practice when I was asked to sit down with our office biller and re-learn everything I thought I knew. Coding is not laser science, but it is extremely important if you want to get paid for your hard work.

Residents, make sure that you pay attention and learn the proper way to code. You can do this by having your preceptors review how you bill, asking your attending physicians to show you how they bill in their offices. And trying your hardest to stay awake during those boring coding lectures—you may just pick up a good tip that you can carry forward for years to come!

My husband adds that even during the most challenging times (preparing for your Board exam), it’s important to keep yourself sane by keeping up with your life rituals. Whether it’s a monthly dinner date, visiting your family, or hitting the gym, which will give you a needed recharge. Plus, don’t be shy in asking your friends and family for help studying. Volleying questions about diagnoses and obscure biting insects makes those long car rides fly by!