m3unsure

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Hey everyone,

I was wondering if anyone else is applying to a backup specialty or just something else that they are interested in (assume that most don't have a to-die-for specialty). How does that affect interviewing/ranking? Do institutions have an established way of knowing if someone applied to 2 things? This seems a little "big brother-esque." However, I understand if an X attending knows a Y attending and both happen to mention your name, things could get dicey (more likely possible situation but still low prob). Suggestions from people who have already done this and experienced an unfavorable result are appreciated and *please* name the institution. Thanks for the advice.
 

Gern Blansten

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I have read many applications and usually find out by accident that anesthesiology is someone's back up choice. This is usually because one of the letter writers blows their cover and states that they want to pursue radiology or orthopedics and how great they would be at it. Interview spots are expensive and hard to get. I don't like to give them out to people who are only using us as a backup for another specialty. The truth usually comes out eventually prior to rank lists being made(departments talk among themselves) and if the program feels that they have been deceived, it could negatively impact their opinion of the candidate. However, being up front and honest can cause the same thing as people will wonder if you are committed to the specialty. Every program wants a resident who will COMPLETE all years of the program. Losing a resident after one or two years is a big loss of investment for the program and if they feel you are not committed, this could affect your rank position. I would urge you to do some soul searching and get some experience in both fields you are considering and commit yourself to the one which is the best fit for you.
Just my opinion.
 
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supahfresh

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i specialized in applying for more than 1 thing. in fact, i applied for surgery, plastics, er, ob, and anesthesiology. the reason why is because i had no clue what to do and i did not want to get stuck with no interviews for anything.....so i said f*cuk it and applied for everything.

by the time i was ready to interview i had it more narrowed down and only interviewed for surgery and anesthesia. i dont think any of the programs figured it out, but I had the same fear. your situation is different. it sounds like you have a top choice and now just want a backup. let me tell you that they may sniff you out during your interview. plus, it sucks to spend all that extra money on traveling. if you have a top choice specialty, why not just do all you can for it and see what happens. you can always scramble or apply again next year.
 

nolagas

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If you just can't decide then apply for both. If you prefer one specialty, then you should apply for your top choice and use a transitional or prelim as a backup. I'd much rather do a transitional or prelim year and apply again than give up on my preferred specialty for life.
 
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m3unsure

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Regarding the backup notion:
I hope that I'm not implying that anesthesiology is just a backup, but I used the word because of its common use. I am thinking about a subset of surgery and anesthesia because I enjoy the hands-on experience, but wish to avoid the brutality of general surgery (I don't define myself by my job which sometimes seems to be necessary with this field). I don't want to sit around for labs like in primary care.

Regarding the LOR: (response to Gern Blansten)
All of the letters that I asked for are generic. I chose them to be not specialty specific (refer to as residency program). I just want to basically judge me for how I was on their rotation. And I'm sorry if that one post-er feels that choosing two specialties shows lack of committent. I look it as everyone wants something but can't always get it so they must readily accept other things that they ALSO like and in no way should undervalue that. I like medicine in general except psych and OB so I don't feel that I'm short-changing anyone. I will do the whole program if I'm going to go ahead with it or I'll exit the match process and let someone else who relatively wants it more. I don't want to screw programs, but being honest in this field seems to never work (who cares to understand me).

Regarding interviews (probably the same as above):
I think that some people can sniff you out, but in the end, if you like two things, I think enthusiasm exists for both. I tend to be open-minded about medicine rather than "hey, those guys in specialty X $uck and my specialty is the best out there." Everyone needs everyone else. Period.
 

Lonestar

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Do whats best for you. Stop asking others. If you are interested in both fields, then apply to both. Remember, the match is about you and not the programs. This is the exact type of BS that will land you in the scramble pile and you do not want to go through the scramble (i.e. lottery). Apply broadly and widely to both fields. Make sure both interviews are not in the same hospital and hope for the best. Best of luck in the match.
 
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m3unsure

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Lonestar said:
Do whats best for you. Stop asking others. If you are interested in both fields, then apply to both. Remember, the match is about you and not the programs. This is the exact type of BS that will land you in the scramble pile and you do not want to go through the scramble (i.e. lottery). Apply broadly and widely to both fields. Make sure both interviews are not in the same hospital and hope for the best. Best of luck in the match.
I'm only asking others on this forum so I could get more knowledge or experience about this issue, not someone to hold my hand. So I'm trying to do what's best for me and not end up in that scramble pile UNwillingly. I understand if I put myself there by applying to only 1 specialty.

Moving on, how would interviewing at the same hospital hurt me? I highly doubt someone can remember my face or name unless I interview a few days apart. Does the hospital have a master list of applicants? Comments from someone who knows what goes on at an administrative level would be of help. Exchanging of information seems a bit like entrapment (never seen it happen in the business world).
 

Gern Blansten

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m3unsure said:
I'm only asking others on this forum so I could get more knowledge or experience about this issue, not someone to hold my hand. So I'm trying to do what's best for me and not end up in that scramble pile UNwillingly. I understand if I put myself there by applying to only 1 specialty.

Moving on, how would interviewing at the same hospital hurt me? I highly doubt someone can remember my face or name unless I interview a few days apart. Does the hospital have a master list of applicants? Comments from someone who knows what goes on at an administrative level would be of help. Exchanging of information seems a bit like entrapment (never seen it happen in the business world).
People from different departments talk frequently. It is not uncommon for residents to have a spouse in a different dept or a best friend that they hang out with. At many places they do dinner the evening before. Imagine going out to eat and being introduced to a spouse from another department that you met 2 weeks ago during your interview with the other department. Three of our residents are married to people in other departments, so that scenario is not completely out of the question. Also, program directors within the institution generally know each other and talk on occasions. It is not far fetched to believe that candidates names could be discussed. Also, most interviews involve a tour of the facilities. Another opportunity to be outed by running into someone who knows you. I would still say that letters of recommendation that mention a specific specialty are the most common way that someone could be tipped off.

You should do what you feel is best for you. I am just trying to give you some things to consider.

Best of luck!
 

tulAnesthesia

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m3unsure said:
I'm only asking others on this forum so I could get more knowledge or experience about this issue, not someone to hold my hand. So I'm trying to do what's best for me and not end up in that scramble pile UNwillingly. I understand if I put myself there by applying to only 1 specialty.

Moving on, how would interviewing at the same hospital hurt me? I highly doubt someone can remember my face or name unless I interview a few days apart. Does the hospital have a master list of applicants? Comments from someone who knows what goes on at an administrative level would be of help. Exchanging of information seems a bit like entrapment (never seen it happen in the business world).
don't worry too much about that. most program directors are very busy. your within the limits of normal. 2 specialties, whatever, its okay. if you like 2 specialties equally, apply to both. med students aren't given much time to make such a huge decision. especially, when anesthesia isn't introduced well to most med students. i switched fields, looking back, i wished i kept my options open by applying to more than one specialty.
 
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