changer

10+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2009
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Hey everyone,

A quick success story that will hopefully make someone feel better tonight. 2 years ago today I matched into a specialty that I realized was not for me. It was a big name program. I sort of knew this in the moments after the match (gut feelings have a way of hitting you pretty hard as we all know). Regardless I went to the program with a good attitude and realized that the field just wasn't for me. By August (which will be here sooner than you realize) I filled out my new ERAS application and applied in a new specialty. I let everyone know at my program (including the PD) and everyone was incredibly supportive. As it turned out, I made a ton of great friends. What I was initially dreading as a year of hell turned out to be pretty cool, and made me a much better doctor in the long run. 1 year later I matched into my preferred field and I couldn't be happier 1 year later. I had to do 2 internships (not ideal, but doable). Both were big "name" programs in very desireable locations. So for those of you not enjoying your day, know that it is possible to change. In my honest opinion, it isn't worth trying to get out of the match or contract right now. Just let things happen naturally and if you hate it then reapply in another field. If you matched in the field you want, but not at the program you want, I'm sure there will be options out there as well as the year goes by. Nothing in life is set in stone. PM me if anyone has any questions. Congrats to everyone, becoming a doctor is 1000 times more important than matching.
 
Mar 16, 2010
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Similar story here. 2 years ago I matched at a top program in one specialty, after struggling between 2 specialties early in 4th year. At the urging of a dean, I finally just picked one and went through the match process. I was happy because I got my top choice, but deep down had some doubts as to whether I had picked the right specialty. After getting started at the program I had some mixed feelings early on. I found some supportive faculty to talk to and decided to give the field some more to see if things would improve. Unfortunately, I realized too late to re-enter the match again that year that the field was just a bad fit for me.

So I stuck it out, started my 2nd year, talked to my PD, and re-entered this year's match. Everyone in my program has been really supportive of my need to switch and they were genuinely happy for me when I got my match in my new specialty yesterday. As the other poster said, it is not ideal to have to do 2 different internships, and spending this 2nd year working when I know I am leaving has not been all that fun. But I have learned a lot, made some good friends, and at least gotten a paycheck.

Anyway, it is definitely possibile to change, especially if you give your initial match a try and get some support from your program. Best of luck.
 
Jul 12, 2009
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Resident [Any Field]
So last year I matched into a very competitive specialty for an IMG: categorical surgery. I was happy and amazed.
I started my internship, long days and well... you know how surgery is...
I realized, I should have went with my other choice, surprise! medicine... (I know y'all think I'm nutz) since there is a bit more brain involved plus so many more options are available after the residency.......I started thinking: this is it.. I am f#^%ed. I will rot in the OR for the rest of my life, doing lap choles, ex laps and hernias automagically, pre-oping , oping and post-oping and then deal with all the complications (which can happen so easily even in an innocent appy). My SO was not seeing me for days... he would come in for 15 mins to the hospital to bring me a sandwich and kiss me quickly during my q3 call nights.

So I realized, I can live without the OR... and as every attending told me: "if you can think of ANYTHING you can do but operate, you should run". I grabbed my heart and opened PD's door and told him I want to switch.

I was expecting him to murder me on the spot. I was dripping cold sweat as I was telling him my story. In the end, at my surprise, he smiled and said this is fine and that he is happy I am doing it now and not later when I am a full blown surgeon, and promised he would help me achieve my goal.

Now imagine interviewing during a surgical internship... you don't want to go through that.... One day I am in Texas (far far far from my place), second day I am pre-rounding on my pts at 4:30 AM.
I was given some days for Ivs, was lucky enough to have a week vacation in Dec. Anyway, I made it...but I think I'm still recovering from that. :sleep:

My PD helped me enormously! He wrote me a letter, he called some IM programs of my choice. My fellow surgical residents were somewhat "Whaa? You wanna do IM? WTF? " But they stood by me in the end.

So I am wrapping up my internship year. I am doing really well and aced the ABSITE. I am still getting in OR cases (have 120 by now) and I am still being taught by my awesome attendings, just like nothing happened. I am not being ignored and nobody turned their back on me. Sometimes in a joke they'd call me a "flea", but we would all laugh about it, and trust me, I got lil'names for them too. :)

Today I am matched at my number one choice, very nice IM university program in a lovely city.

I could have never done in w/o my PD and my PC.

It is not the end when you match somewhere. You have the right to change your mind. Just do it wise, talk to your PD, do not go behind somebodies back.

This forum helped me and encouraged me as well.

I AM FREAKING HAPPY NOW! I was so depressed before.
And all the experience I got from a whole year of intense surgery, oh man, I will NEVER forget what I have learned and it made me a much better doctor!:D:D:D Sure enough I am not afraid of blood!;)
 
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Mar 19, 2010
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So my wife and I matched into our #5 program.
Devastated, but deciding to press on and give intern year a shot.
I always hear about residents reapplying the next year for different specialties through ERAS but could we reapply to different programs within our current specialties?
 
Jul 20, 2009
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So my wife and I matched into our #5 program.
Devastated, but deciding to press on and give intern year a shot.
I always hear about residents reapplying the next year for different specialties through ERAS but could we reapply to different programs within our current specialties?
???

I'm still confused about what you want and what you expect. Your expectations seem unrealistic. You said you wanted to do EM and didn't really care if it was at a bigtime program so you are fine with your match. Although honestly, if your application was really fairly mediocre, thats the best you would have done anyways.

So say you guys both do your pgy-1 interviews next year and apply again. Are you going to apply for pgy-1 or pgy-2?

if you go for pgy-1 again, you can redo the couples match, but honestly you may either not match or match at a place you guys would like even less. And you dont want to do two intern years.

As for the chances of her finding a "good" obgyn program as a pgy-2(pretty good I think since she's a much better candidate than you), thats another story. But then what about you. The chances of you happening to land any pgy-2 position "through the grapevine"(or resident swap or whatever) in EM at what happens to be the SAME city where she found her excellent pgy-2 position are VERY VERY small.

Maybe she could slide into a pgy-2 at an excellent program and you could go through the match only applying to pgy-1 positions in that city she went to, but *you wouldnt know in time*.......

Again, I'm still baffled about why you are devastated about getting fairly lucky. You werent a particularly great candidate applying for a mid-level competitive residency, and your options were further limited(and they would be even more limited under another system) without the match.

If you were so concerned about your wife and screwing her career over, and again I think you may be overestimating the impossibility of doing an MFM fellowship but I dont know much about that so I'll let others chime in, here is what you should have done:

let her apply to a bunch of top obgyn programs across the country, and you apply fm to programs in all those same cities. That was the only way this was going to work. Whether we had a match system or not. The match probably *helped* you guys out.
 

j48seconds

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Jan 14, 2005
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I think that your best bet would be to search for pgy-2 spots outside of the match. That way you still will be at your current programs if you don't find anything. If you go through the match again and don't find anything, you are out of a job. In the end, it's better for your wife to be somewhere and become an ob/gyn than for both of you to be unemployed.
 

gutonc

No Meat, No Treat
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Mar 6, 2005
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So my wife and I matched into our #5 program.
Devastated, but deciding to press on and give intern year a shot.
I always hear about residents reapplying the next year for different specialties through ERAS but could we reapply to different programs within our current specialties?
You can attempt to find programs to transfer into as a PGY2, but this will be tough, and made tougher by your need for two spots in two specialties (to the point of it being nearly impossible). But you can't go back into the Match for the same specialties.

As others have pointed out, it is unlikely that, even if you were allowed to do it all over again, you would do any better than you've done this year. Unless you've done something to seriously buff your CV, matching is always harder the 2nd time around. And you will be expected to answer the question "so, what happened last year that you're back in the game?" during your interviews.

"I hated where I matched so I quit on July 2nd" is a really good way to ensure that you'll never get another residency spot...in any specialty...ever.
 
Jan 20, 2010
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I AM FREAKING HAPPY NOW! I was so depressed before.
And all the experience I got from a whole year of intense surgery, oh man, I will NEVER forget what I have learned and it made me a much better doctor!:D:D:D Sure enough I am not afraid of blood!;)
Great story! Congrats!
 

changer

10+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2009
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Hi,

As someone who changed specialties, I would echo some of the excellent posts above about trying to stay the course and at least start your intern year. Trying to changs things now (however tempting) will only be interpreted by prospective PD's as a rash decision that isn't well-reasoned. If you start your intern year and are unhappy, explaining it to your PD in a thoughtful manner (after they have had a chance to hopefully see how good you are) will be much better. It is very seductive to view your match as "terrible" and only see the negatives...but trust me, there will be positives once you actually see your new program and meet people that WILL be your friends. This is inevitable. It seems bad now, but just give it time.

For the poster asking about reapplying with his wife in the SAME specialty for next year...this is essentially impossible. Who would want to take you as a repeat PGY-1 just because of geographic issues? Believe me though, I feel your pain..but at this point I think you should just try to make the best of it. Residency isn't the rest of your life.

Finally, several people have asked me in PM's to state exactly where I changed from and exactly where I changed to. With all due respect, I don't see how this information is relevant. I was simply telling my story to hopefully inspire others (that it is possible to change from one competitive specialty to another at a top program...though repeating an intern year is necessary). The anonymity on SDN is wonderful and we should all be encouraged to maintain it unless an individual chooses to reveal more. Anyway, good luck to everyone.
 
Jun 1, 2009
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Medical Student
Unlike the couples OBGYN match situation, I am the only spouse in the medical field. I matched into a place where (for family reasons) I am unhappy. What are the chances of me finding or successfully getting into a PGY2 obgyn position somewhere else at the end of this upcoming year? In other words, same field, different place for family/location reasons. Also, would this process be through the match?
 
Mar 16, 2010
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Unlike the couples OBGYN match situation, I am the only spouse in the medical field. I matched into a place where (for family reasons) I am unhappy. What are the chances of me finding or successfully getting into a PGY2 obgyn position somewhere else at the end of this upcoming year? In other words, same field, different place for family/location reasons. Also, would this process be through the match?
I would think if you start your program and do well and go talk to your PD and are honest about the family situation, they would hopefully be open to helping you switch. There may be a PGY2 spot open at a program that would better fit your needs. Your PD could probably help with that. I think there is also an ACOG site that lists open spots as well. And there are always the internet services, residentswap and the AAMC one. You might not have to do the match if you finish your intern year.