DocVirk

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So I had a very interesting interview experience, and wanted a little feedback about the truth behind what I heard.
As background, I have a good application and am applying at top-tier programs throughout mainly the Southeast. My goal is to graduate residency and move on into community practice. My desire to get involved in the community (be it in service, community education, or missions) is much stronger than my desire to participate in academic medicine. This is not a judgement, simply what appeals to me.

I freely admit on the interview trail that I am interested in community medicine and likely will not end up in academics (although I do so tactfully, understanding my audience). However, one of my recent interviewers told me, "It's the rare bold student who will say they don't want to go into academics. If I listened to everybody's applications, 95% of residents would end up in academics." To me, this is obviously ridiculous, as maybe 30-40% (that's probably high) end up in academics.

I am still not going to pull any punches, and I do not apologize for my career and life goals, but have I just given myself the kiss of death? Are the more academically oriented programs going to steer clear of me?
 

tybalt

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I may be wrong, but I think that was a compliment.
 

domer621

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I am still not going to pull any punches, and I do not apologize for my career and life goals, but have I just given myself the kiss of death? Are the more academically oriented programs going to steer clear of me?
I doubt it, especially since you gave sound reasons for wanting to go into community practice. It sounds like your interviewer was relieved for your honesty, really! Even at the most academic programs, though, they still usually turn out 30-40% into community jobs.
 
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Khaos

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The interviewer was right. If he listened to most people, 95% of interviewees would be going into academics. He's not an idiot since I believe that less than 5-10% of EM graduates go into academics. They will not hold this against you, they will just be surprised that you are so certain about what you want to do in 3 to 4 years from now.
 

Seaglass

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I'll third that. If I had a dime for every applicant that said they wanted to do academics.

On a side note, there are certainly programs that see themselves more as preparing future academic faculty, and others that see themselves as preparing great community docs, and some that try to excell at both. It helps to know what camp a prospective program is in before you interview.
 

roja

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I concur with the above. You should do what you want to do. And I would much rather an applicant tell the truth than tell me what they think I want to hear.
 

DrQuinn

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Yep, agree, no kiss of death.

When I was a rez, one of the faculty said "Why can't they just say on their personal statement that they like EM and they don't like other specialties? If someone just put that I would totally accept them." True statement, and I actually agree. But we are so used to jumping through so many hoops (pre-med, MCAT, med school interviews, Step 1, 3rd year rotations, 4th year "audition rotations", now residency interviews, etc), that it just becomes second nature to be a chameleon. (and say what you think is the best answer).

Q
 

SoCuteMD

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Yep, agree, no kiss of death.

When I was a rez, one of the faculty said "Why can't they just say on their personal statement that they like EM and they don't like other specialties? If someone just put that I would totally accept them." True statement, and I actually agree. But we are so used to jumping through so many hoops (pre-med, MCAT, med school interviews, Step 1, 3rd year rotations, 4th year "audition rotations", now residency interviews, etc), that it just becomes second nature to be a chameleon. (and say what you think is the best answer).

Q
I don't necessarily think that we're not being honest when we say we like academics. It's all we've been exposed to! Most of us were pretty clearly informed that the only LORs that counted were those from emergency medicine residencies (which are, at varying degrees, all academic). Thus, most of us have had no community exposure. So it's not unusual for people to change their minds once they have broader exposure.
 

EvoDevo

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So I was lucky enough to rotate at a high-powered academic center and a program that produces (primarily) outstanding and well-regarded community physicians. And I came away feeling that there are benefits to both career paths. So when it comes to answering that question in interviews, I usually say that I honestly like both options right now, and who knows where I will end up in three-four years?

Knowing myself, I could go 100% balls-to-the-walls either way.

Though if I were a betting man, I'd lay money on academics..... ;)

To the OP: Stellar answer.
 

AmoryBlaine

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Pretty much every PROGRAM will tell you that they are equally good at training academic/community docs. I have never seen anything to suggest that saying you wanted to do community practice would harm you at most programs.
 

Tiger26

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So I was lucky enough to rotate at a high-powered academic center and a program that produces (primarily) outstanding and well-regarded community physicians. And I came away feeling that there are benefits to both career paths. So when it comes to answering that question in interviews, I usually say that I honestly like both options right now, and who knows where I will end up in three-four years?

Knowing myself, I could go 100% balls-to-the-walls either way.

Though if I were a betting man, I'd lay money on academics..... ;)

To the OP: Stellar answer.
well said
 
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deleted109597

Why can't they just say on their personal statement that they like EM and they don't like other specialties? If someone just put that I would totally accept them."
And for that one person, there are a ton more that don't like that. And then you run into the problem of conflicting vibes from people at the same residency. If it were a system such that if one person really liked you, you got a job then it would be fine.
However, today's system is such that all but one member of the faculty could love you, but that one could say no and you won't work there, period. And there are plenty of people more fickle than those that would be iritated by the statement quoted.
Personally, it's what I would have put if I thought I could get away with it. That and thank you notes that say "I wanted to thank you for the opportunity of forcing me to write more by hand on this card more than I have written by hand all year. Also, thank you for forcing me to go to the post office to buy more 1c stamps, as all the stamps I currently own are out of date because I mail letters on the average of 2 per year. I appreciate that something like technology can't get in the way of time honored, meaningless thank you cards that probably aren't even read by the recipient but instead by the secretaries and coordinators. Once again, thanks"
 

biophysicianai

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we are so used to jumping through so many hoops (pre-med, MCAT, med school interviews, Step 1, 3rd year rotations, 4th year "audition rotations", now residency interviews, etc), that it just becomes second nature to be a chameleon
:thumbup:
 

SoCuteMD

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Pretty much every PROGRAM will tell you that they are equally good at training academic/community docs. I have never seen anything to suggest that saying you wanted to do community practice would harm you at most programs.
Since I am currently on the interview trail I feel qualified to comment on this. There are definitely a few programs that expect, at the very least a spin on the community medicine idea. They want you to want to be a leader in some way - a group administrator, something that sets you apart from the average EP. That being said, there don't seem to be many of these programs.
 
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