Patterson Law Firm’s early intervention helps medical residents avoid pitfalls that could lead to termination.

Time and time again we hear from medical residents who thought they were doing fine in their program, had been told they passed all their rotations, just to find out when they got the contract for the next residency year that they have not been promoted to the next year. Not only are they shocked at not progressing to the next year, but they are also usually given very little time to ask questions before they must sign a new contract or lose their spot.

Typically, they are offered a remediation plan that is supposed to address the deficiencies that were hiding underneath their being passed on every rotation. The term “remediation plan” implies a well-documented set of steps the resident must take to continue in the program, but often it is nothing more than a laundry list of complaints about things like professionalism, the ability to work with others, and organizational skills, with no specific criteria for successfully completing the remediation. A remediation plan should include regular meetings with a mentor to assist the resident in completing the remediation and improving needed skills. All too often these meetings don’t take place at all despite the resident’s request to schedule them and in at least one case, the mentor was not even aware they had been asked to serve in this role. The residents are often terminated before the end of the remediation period with little or no explanation.

Recently, PLF assisted a resident in this position to negotiate a path for completing residency successfully. The Program Director even wrote a supportive letter of recommendation for the resident. The resident reported that “I have job offers and am studying for boards. Things are all clear now. I am happy to have had your assistance and it really made a difference at a critical moment. Thank you!”

If you are struggling with unfair treatment by a medical residency program and need help, contact us at

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