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far fetched questions about residency

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by Annette, May 8, 2001.

  1. Annette

    Annette gainfully employed Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Alright, while you all are relaxed but still fresh for the battle, can you share your wisdom on picking residencies?

    Where did you find the information about what you should be looking for in a residency? (Especially for those of us with non-existant support from a dean's office!)
    When did you start your searches?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. Neurogirl

    Neurogirl Resident Extraordinaire 10+ Year Member

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    Start researching programs early in your 3rd year so that you'll have plenty of time. Regarding sources of info, there are several good books on the subject...you might start with the Isserson book, "Getting into a Medical Residency". You should also utilize FREIDA, which is a free internet resource (just use freida as your key word and you'll find it). At the same time you should start to become familiar with ERAS and the NRMP. Also, make sure that your chosen specialty uses the NRMP (Neuro, ENT, Opthalmology, Neuro surg, and Plastics utilize the San Fransisco Match Service, while Urology handles it's own match). Once you've narrowed your choices a bit you can start contacting individual programs and requesting info (most programs have info packets that they'll send out).

    That should get you started.
     
  4. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

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    HI Annette:

    There are several printed resources out there as well as on-line information banks. Isersons' books has long been touted as the Bible but frankly I find it pretty out of date as far as residency competition and given your IMG status I think you will find him fairly negative on that front. However, he does have good descriptions of most specialties, and links or other resources for further information. I would also recommend "First Aid for the Match" which had more information about the deadlines, the actual process in a more succinct book.

    If you can't locate FREIDA the URL is: http://www.ama-assn.org/freida

    Early on I made a list of things that were important to me in choosing a residency program: geography, size, academic focus, etc. This helped me narrow down my list of potential programs to about 100. TO these I sent a small postcard requesting information on their _______ Residency Program for the year _____ to be sent to ________________. Most had printed materials which they sent out but several just referred me to their web site and some didn't respond at all. After reading through some of the program materials, I was able to weed out some (ie, some which said you had to have a USMLE of > 220 to apply, those which said they discouraged applications from IMGs, etc.) Along with the above I looked at the programs web pages, the FREIDA database and talked to students I was doing electives with to get their take on their home programs.

    While this procedure worked well for me, I am sure there are heaps of programs out there that I would have liked, but just didn't get information about or they just didn't fit my needs as well.

    As an IMG you have more steps to go through than the US student so you are well advised to keep up to date on any changes. ECFMG will not necessarily advise you of any changes in policy nor will the NRMP. It is up to you to frequently check their web sites for updates.

    One issue I am torn on is the issue of applying to programs in the "IMG ghetto". Everyone talks about IMG friendly programs but 1) they are generally not prestigious programs and 2) they get thousands of applications so your chances of shining in that pool might be less. In addition, you should have a REASON why you are applying to a program other than "well, I thought you might take me since most of your residents are IMGs." Not a very flattering reason and if those programs aren't the best for you then an application there might not be in your best interest. Obviously you should be realistic and try and find out whether your programs have a history of taking IMGs - if they haven't had any in the past several years, it may be likely that they have an implicit desire to not do so.

    Anyway, this should get you started! :)
     
  5. Annette

    Annette gainfully employed Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Thanks! I already have Iserson's book, and found some of it depressing- especially the mentor part. I have a snowball's chance at that! Thanks for the Freida link.

    I'm off to the post office to get some cards . . . :D
     
  6. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

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    Glad to be of help Annette.

    Have you finished all your course work or are you a final year student? If the latter, is there any chance you can do an elective or two in the states? I think it will help immensely in seeing how US medicine is practice, will garner you a letter of rec from US faculty and might provide that elusive "mentor" which Iserson seems to think is so necessary (I didn't have one either, although I did have US letters and people willing to call on my behalf). Seriously consider this if you still have student status as I think it will be of benefit to you during the residency application period.

    Best of luck...
     
  7. Annette

    Annette gainfully employed Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Thanks, Kimberli for all your good advice. :cool: I still have 9 weeks left in my 3rd year. I am headed back to the states for my 4th year. I am considering trauma surgery (but I know I have less than average chances being an IMG). I also want a "humane" residency. Somehow, I don't think the two go together, though.
     
  8. ana

    ana

    Annette, just like all residencies, surgery has it's upswing and downswings. Right now, it's on a downswing (meaning it's less competitive than it has been in the past), so that will work in your favor, so don't count yourself out.

    Also look at www.medschool.com
    They give statistics on all the specialties.

    Good luck. It takes a special type of person to go into surgery (let alone being a "humane" one)! ;)
     

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