Competitiveness of GS?

Discussion in 'Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties' started by Fletch_F_Fletch, Nov 29, 2002.

  1. Fletch_F_Fletch

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    I'm a first year, and I may be interested in going into GS (or doing GS and a fellowship). I say "may" because at this point, I am still a first-year, and I really don't know what I want to do or how competitive I will be in three years. That being said, does anybody know any specifics on the average board scores for matching in GS? I know there are usually a few spots left each year in the past few years, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's not competitive. Anyway, if someone could post this info or provide a link, it would be much appreciated. Thanks.
     
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  2. As a first year, you have plenty of time to stop concerning yourself. Any average we give now will likely change. The field of surgery is in flux. You should keep your nose to the grindstone and work hard to do the best possible on USMLE & grades. That will keep you competitive in ALL specialties which is what you should want as a new med-student.

    If you must have numbers, your programs surgery department will be able to advise you and point you in the right direction.

    Later & calm down.
     
  3. Fletch_F_Fletch

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    Oh, I'm not freaking out or anything, I'm a pretty laid back guy.... I was just wondering out of curiosity. I agree, though... if I do well, I will be able to keep my options open.
     
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  4. SomeFakeName

    SomeFakeName Membership Revoked
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    Fletch, here is some advice that may be helpful to you as a MS1:

    Most G.S. residencies, except for the big name ones, do not care so much about your basic science grades as they do about your USMLE I score. The proverbial advice is that you should try to get at least between a 210-220 to be competitive for G.S. in today's market. Of course the higher the score, the better your options. I'd venture to say that a 220 and above will open many door for you. However realize that this may change in the next few years, depending on which way the popularity for G.S. residency sways.

    One of the most important factors in your application will be your 3rd year General Surgery rotation grade. If you Honor this rotation it will help your application tremendously.

    Of course, you'll also need some good letters from surgery attendings. My opinion is that it is better to get an excellent letter from an attending that knows you very well, rather than get a mediocre one from a superstar attending/chief who hardly knows you apart from the other med students who rotated through his department. Program directors are not stupid and will realize if you simply got a letter from a well-known attending just so that you could name-drop.

    Finally, research helps but is not essential except for the big wig programs. Again doing surgery-related research that you are INTERESTED in (not just to pad your CV) and getting your name on a couple of publications can only help your application.
     
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  5. Fletch_F_Fletch

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    Hey, SomeFakeName, that was a terrific reply. Thank you for taking me seriously and giving me an honest reply. I appreciate it. I am just trying to get a feel about what I'm going to be up against in three years. Thanks.
     
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  6. sanford_w/o_son

    sanford_w/o_son locl jnky-gota thred man?
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    bVmp!

    l3T chA05 Re1gN!
     
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  7. Blue Rover

    Blue Rover Junior Member
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    The only thing I would add to this advice is that getting a strong letter of recommendation from a big name attending that knows you well is even better. I have been told by young attendings that their letters may not mean very much.

     
  8. jayman

    jayman Member
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    Did you guys see that this thread started in 2002 and got bumped 4 years later? Pretty weird...haven't seen that one on SDN before. Sleeper thread activated, I guess! :sleep:
     
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  9. PoorMD

    PoorMD Senior Member
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    Hi,
    I am an MSI about to finish my first year.. I was fortunate to land a paid research position this summer (MSI/MS2 summer) with a Cardiothoracic surgeon who is studying some variables of perioperative organ management during open heart surgery on renal failure patients. Renal phys was my favorite topic in physiology this year, and anatomy as a whole was my favorite class ever (though some of the finer details were tiresome of course). I think this project will be very demanding (the PI sent me a packet of research papers on the topic with questions for study- - very in depth and intimidating)

    My grades are very average (emphasis on slightly below the class average).
    I can admit I am not quite as sharp as some of my classmates, i.e. I can't memorize as clearly due to my own mistakes in the past (drug use). However I have felt like general surgery is for me because of the variety of cases and ability to specialize in fellowships. I think it is for me because I truly loved digging around the cadaver in gross lab (after hours, of course. During assigned lab periods, I HATED going to gross lab with 100 med students jawing and laughing and my own group members not very good communicators as they dissected).

    My point is, If I get some real average basic science grades and maybe even a real average Step I (I have gotten about national average on all the shelf exams so far), would this research position be enough to help me get into GS residency? I am very serious about this and would appreciate similar responses. Thanks!!
     
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  10. Research will help bolster your app, sure, but you still need decent grades and Step 1 score to be a competitive applicant. Sure there are other factors - evals, letters, other extracurriculars, etc. - but just trying to be realistic.

    Then again, "average" on Step 1 is around 217, so that's a good score.
     
  11. PoorMD

    PoorMD Senior Member
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    Thanks Blade. I am just looking for other gsurg residents who maybe were average in the classroom and Step I but managed to get into surgery based on research interests, solid rotations, evals, like you said... You are right there is no single facet of the cv that will land you in the match..
     
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  12. bravotwozero

    bravotwozero Chronically ambitious
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    *bump*

    Can someone tell me WHY general surgery has become so competitive?

    In terms of income, I suppose they could potentially earn more than an Internist, but they also pay a crapload more in malpractice insurance (between 80k-300k a year if you believe Atul Gawande), so is their net pay really that much higher?

    It certainly can't be the lifestyle, since surgeons can work very long hours.
     
  13. Kubed

    Kubed Mostly Harmless
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    TV shows ;)
     
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  14. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    Everything goes in cycles...but certainly things like tv shows glamourizing surgery has encouraged the ill-informed to seek it out as a career. I suspect that the reduction in work hours as certainly attracted more people to surgery; people figure that they could do 80 hrs (since they would be doing than in most other residencies anyway) but they couldn't do 130 hrs/week.

    I would say its a little more than "potentially". Unless you have negotiated yourself a crappy contract as a surgeon, you should nearly always earn more than an internist.

    Yes. While malpractice certainly may approach or exceed $80K/year, in many places it doesn't. I max out at $50K and I'm in the most litiginous specialty these days. General surgeons in Pennsylvania may pay 100K and neurosurgeons and ortho spine probably pay more, but I'd venture that very few pay 300K and most pay much much less. In states with reform you might pay $25K.

    Therefore, although the reimbursement for general surgery has declined over the last few years, even with malpractice costs, the average salary of a general surgeon still exceeds that of an internist.

    True. And it remains to be seen if people who were attracted to the field because of the work hour reduction during residency will result in most people dropping out of either residency or the field.

    However, there are some general surgery practices which have better lifestyle, less call, better working conditions than others. People have perhaps realized that they can somewhat tailor their pratice to the life they want.
     
  15. skiz knot

    skiz knot Legendary Dr. X
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    MS1s take shelf exams now???:confused:
     
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  16. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    There are shelf exams for the basic science classes too - anatomy, biochem, path, pharm. Some schools opt to use these, rather than write their own.
     
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  17. medfriend

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    I have read that 70% (and maybe increasing!) of GS grads will not go into gen surge---they will do fellowships to become everything from plastic surgeons to vascular surgeons. I wonder if this is fueling the increase in applicants as well as the 80 hr week.

    Also, at top tier gs programs has the step 1 score they typically want increased as overall step 1 avg and gs matching step 1 have gone up over the past 10 to 12 years? Or have the top places been (and will continue to be) consistently wanting maybe 230+, while the mid tier and lower tier have increased their averages?
     

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