Friday, March 18, 2011


Not me. My students.
Yesterday was Match Day, the day when all the medical students applying for a US medical residency find out there they go next academic year. A very stressful yet exciting time, one that marks the end of a chapter (of being a student), and the start of a new chapter (well, still a student of sorts, but you have a Dr. in front of your name). The 3 to 8 years of specialty training that follows.
This year, a record 38,000 applicants applied for 26,000 positions of residency. If you're interested, the Match Statistics can be found here. 6% of US medical students were unmatched compared with 50% of International Medical Graduates who did not secure a position. Encouragingly, there were more students matching into primary care medicine this year, a vital area that has frequently been neglected because many (wrongfully methinks) see it as not being glamorous enough.
And so, like someone who has years of wisdom to impart on his 4 students doing their endocrine rotation, what did I leave my students with:
Learn to find your own way. Your career is only in its infancy; at this malleable phase of your life, don't learn to imitate someone for the sake of imitation. Don't do this because that's what Dr. X does. Or use that medication because it was Dr. Y's favorite. Or be conservative or aggressive with your treatment goals, just because.
Rather, read the literature and make your own conclusions about how you wish to treat your patients. Because medicine is as much an art as it is a science. And though I became a 'Doctor' that fateful May 10 years ago (OMFG, has it been that long???), I have yet to master either. Take a step back, and ask yourself, what is the right thing for THIS patient?
And, ah, oh yes, be nice to the nurses. You might have the title, but they have the years of experience. If they tell you they're worried about a patient at 2 am, get your ass out of your callroom to evaluate the patient, otherwise the next overhead page you hear might just be a Code Blue. And, if you piss off the nurses, they can make your life hell.
3 of my 4 students matched (the 4th had to go through the scramble- a very stressful experience- but last I heard he was able to get a spot finally).
Congratulations, guys!


Blogger doc said...

what will become of the 12,000 who are unmatched & what's a scramble?

12:58 PM  
Anonymous anastasia said...

please the nurses and they may just give you a happy family. =)

5:01 AM  
Blogger vagus said...

doc: if you're unmatch, you can attempt to 'scramble' into a position that has an open spot- may not be the specialty or location you want. there is a website with this info. if someone still can't secure a spot, well, one has to wait till next year.
ana: hmm. I wonder who you're referring to? ;)

7:28 AM  

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