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How to switch residency programs?

Discussion in 'Pediatrics' started by Peds2010, Dec 26, 2007.

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  1. Peds2010

    Peds2010

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    Resident [Any Field]

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    I am from the Midwest and applied to only a handful of peds programs in IL and didn't match. I scrambled and ended up in the East coast. I am a single mother and after doing 1 month as an intern I realized that I would not be able to care for my daughter, especially since I don't have any family out east. So I left her with my family back home. I am pretty happy with the program I am in but the separation from my family has been a huge strain. I want to change programs to be closer to home. What is the best way to go about this? I've done random searches on the internet for 2nd year peds openings and haven't come across much. Is it unethical to email program directors and plead my case? I'd appreciate any advice. Contracts for next year have already been distributed.
  2. hattie

    hattie Junior Member

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    I am switching from a program I like for family reasons... while it is not ideal, I don't think that it is not ethical to switch. In case you're curious, the way I did it was to talk to my PD first and say I was looking and while I would like to stay, I really had to go (provided I was able to find an opening in the city I wanted to move to) for personal/family reasons. It wasn't a fun meeting, and would have been awkward if I hadn't been able to find a spot, but it did let me look with a bit of a clean conscience, and also allowed me to say "go ahead" when my new PD asked if she could contact my old one. Then I emailed the program in the city I wanted to move to and found out they had a spot and was offered a position after suppling some application info and explaining why I wanted to switch.

    Oh, and don't worry, I didn't just get a spot in IL.

    best wishes.
  3. Rafo

    Rafo

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    Saw this thread and thought someone could know something about this. I´m an IMG and I´ve seen that some programs require one year of clinical experience before even considering you for an interview...say I match this year at some program and do intern year...can I switch to another program after finishing intern year on a J-1 visa?...is it absolutely necessary that the other program has 2nd year position available?... do I have to repeat intern year?...I wouldn´t mind repeating it if the other program was more convenient for me...

    Any answers would be greatly appreciated ;)
  4. 14022

    14022 Unregistered Abuser

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    You absolutely need to talk to your PD first. You can't switch programs without your PD's permission. Although you sign a contract from year to year, as far as the ACGME sees it you have a 3 year commitment to the program, and you cannot go to another program without the written approval of your current PD. It is likely that they will want you to at least finish the year because of scheduling constraints, and it will behoove you to do that since it may make it more likely for your PD to approve your transfer. Besides, the majority of positions to transfer into will likely be PL-2 positions to start in July, rather than trasnferring in mid-year, but it won't hurt to inquire. Hopefully your PD will understand (you're in pediatrics, so if your PD doesnt understand the improtance of social support and a mother's bond to her child, then the person isn't someone I would want to work for), and if he/she does, they can often help you find a position elsewhere. If your PD does not grant you approval, there may be an appeal process through the ACGME...hopefully it won't come down to that.

    Next you need to find programs. I would just email PD's at any program that is geographically desireable and tell them why you are intersted in transferring. Ask them if they foresee any openings for a PL-2 spot (and if it came down to it, a PL-1 spot if necessary). Things change in programs often, they get approved for more spots, people leave for various reasons (specialty/career change, family reasons like you, residents fast track into fellowship, residents get kicked out for being incompetant or unprofessional), and programs are often left scrambling to fill the vacant spots. It is completely acceptable for you to inquire about this. I wouldn't feel as if you are "pleading" anything, because if a spot isn't available, "pleading" gains you nothing. You are merely inquiring about potential job openings and it is ethical, professional, and acceptable to do such.

    Last year, we lost two interns from our class. One switched specialties, and the other's husband got a job in a new city. When our PD was interviewing residents to fill the vacant PL-2 spots, one of the most important things she looked at was the reason for transferring. Residents transferring for family reasons (as in your case) were given priority. In fact, one of the residents who transferred in initially was not approved by her original PD. Our PD eventually got him to rationalize a bit and made him realize how foolish it was to keep an unhappy resident whose husband was leaving for another part of the country.

    One thing you must be cognizant of is that you did not match initially. It may help you to identify the reasons why this occurred. If there are red flags on your application, the program accepting you will want to know how those have changed over the past year.

    Best of luck.
  5. Peds2010

    Peds2010

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    Thanks for the advice. It is comforting to know that other people have been through similar experiences and that there is some consideration given in these cases. I've asked around about the usual process for these things and not too many people seem to know. I really appreciate it.

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