You’re almost through with med school—the exams, the lectures, the rotations—but here’s where things get really real. Now it’s time to apply for residency. Don’t take your foot off the gas pedal yet, though. Residency applications are just as nuanced as medical school applications. They require plenty of preparation and attention to detail to ensure you have a successful match. A key difference, however, is that applicants and residencies are both trying to find an appropriate fit with each other.
Pixie Sanders, a recent fourth-year medical student who matched to Banner University Medical Center South for family medicine, gives us her expert advice on succeeding in medical school and beyond.
After four tough years of medical school and student loans, facing down seven more grueling years of training, aspiring neurosurgeons enter a residency interview process that is as bizarre as it is effective.
Farrah Fong, a recent fourth-year medical student who matched to Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital for family medicine, gives us her expert advice on succeeding in medical school and beyond.
Diane Brackett, a recent fourth-year medical student who matched to Massachusetts General Hospital for pathology, gives us her expert advice on succeeding in medical school and beyond.
Samantha Margulies, a recent fourth-year medical student who matched to Yale-New Haven Hospital for obstetrics and gynecology, gives us her expert advice on succeeding in medical school and beyond.
I went through medical school without experiencing the death of a patient I had personally cared for. In contrast to what may be seen on the trauma service, my surgery clerkship was full of routine procedures: appendectomies and cholecystectomies, port placements, excisions of pilonidal cysts, and miscellaneous “ditzels,” as pathologists may refer to them as. Sure, I have had patients who were quite sick and did not have much time left to live. For example, I once performed a neurologic exam on a comatose teenager in the ICU, whose arteriovenous malformation had bled wildly out of control despite prior neurosurgery. But with the constant shuffling of rotations that medical students must endure, I was always in and out of patients’ lives before they had a chance to leave mine.
I recently had the opportunity to shadow a local occupational medicine physician over spring break. I arrived at his office Monday morning expecting a brief day of clinic, maybe some conversation over lunch; maybe I get lucky and he pays for my sandwich. Within minutes of meeting him, though, the physician offered to host me for the entire week on a “mini-rotation.”
Throughout medical school and especially during our clinical rotations, students are often told to keep an open mind about choosing a specialty. This is sound advice, especially since many people change their minds once they are exposed to other fields. However, that does not mean that all specialties are perceived as equal — even in a primary-care focused medical school, third-year medical students often run into prejudice against FM. Worse, they may run into stereotypes about family med which could be enough to sway them away from the specialty they would really love.
Every medical student dreams of having that “Aha!” moment where you instinctively realize your future specialty. Unfortunately, it never seems to be as simple. That moment is often insidious and occasionally tainted with self-doubt.
Administrative assistant, nurse and high school volunteer were just a few of the titles people assumed I was when they saw me sitting in the office of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Often to their surprise, I was a medical student starting my summer research project between my first and second year. It became immediately clear that seeing a young woman associated with orthopedic surgery was not something many people were used to.
Sian Tsuei, a recent fourth-year matcher out of the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine in Canada, gives us his expert advice on succeeding in medical school and beyond.