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I hear crickets....

Discussion in 'ERAS, SOAP, and NRMP Match' started by GoBuckeyes913, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. GoBuckeyes913

    GoBuckeyes913 Intoxicating
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    Alright, this is kinda bothering me. Now that my interview season is coming to a close, I've emailed thank-yous and "interested" emails to my top programs. . . but the one I'm really interested in hasn't given me any feedback. Is this normal? Is this bad? Am I worrying over nothing? Any advice/insight would be much appreciated :)
     
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  3. bigDinLV

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    I don't know.. I've had a few programs give me really positive feedback. Telling me that when I am done interviewing to get in contact so we can talk about where we would like to rank each other. Even had invitations to come back for a second look.

    I've also had programs that were very nice until after the interview. I guess trying to recruit until they knew who they wanted. After the interviews (and I assume figuring out who they wanted) they became rather abrupt to any replies I recieved from them, everything felt more like a courtesy reply at that point.
     
  4. Abram Hoffer

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    I'm in the same boat... wondering if I made the impact that I had hoped. Is no feedback the feedback I am most reluctant to accept? This whole process reminds me of pre-high school "dating".
     
  5. Law2Doc

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    No feedback is actually the norm. You are worrying over nothing. Misleading feedback is an area where programs can run afoul of the rules, so many places opt not to play that game. And programs arranging with applicants to talk about how they will rank each other, described in an earlier post is also something that, if in writing, could get a program in hot water. This is absolutely not the norm.
    FWIW, this same question has been asked several times already on this board this interview season. Don't expect programs to tell you -- we are ranking you to match, etc -- this is rare. You unfortunately have to suck it up and wait until March 19 to find out how you did.
     
  6. Winged Scapula

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    L2D is right - many programs do not respond with anything, or just a cursory response. You are to read nothing into it.

    And as he noted, programs telling you to contact them to "discuss how we are going to rank each other" is very extraordinary and runs afoul of the NRMP.
     
  7. GoBuckeyes913

    GoBuckeyes913 Intoxicating
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    I feel a little better reading this. I've never had a program (yet) ask me where I plan to rank them, but I have had a few letters sent to me post interview stating how nice it was to meet me and the interview left a great impression on them and I would "be a good fit" in the program and that they hoped I would consider it highly. I don't think that's breaking the rules, but after reading these comments is that considered shady? I would like to think they aren't blowing smoke up my rear and are just trying to get a feel of who may be interested in their program.. but I just dunno. Maybe I'm being naive.
     
  8. Winged Scapula

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    Those aren't "shady" comments and as a matter of fact, are as close to a "form letter" that residencies send out. Consider them nice to receive, but do not put any weight into what they say (or don't say). Some programs send these letters to everyone who's interviewed, others do not. There is no way of knowing.
     
  9. GoBuckeyes913

    GoBuckeyes913 Intoxicating
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    Oh man, this is a tricky time!! :) So basically, I shouldn't think anything of anything. Got it.
     
  10. Abram Hoffer

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    At one program where I interviewed, no one showed any of their cards. It was almost to the point that I wasn't sure if these people just aren't friendly, or if they were all afraid to violate the NRMP rules. At this particular place, there were 8 interviews, and the second half were much less like what I have described. But the first 4 were so standoffish that I felt like pulling the plug and leaving the place (without continuing the remaining interviews). I also had a connection at this place, and I wonder if that made them even more cautious in what they did. It's difficult, for me, to take this at face-value and not want to read further into things.
     
  11. Law2Doc

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    I would not read much into it and would simply rank places in the order you want to match. Ignore any correspondence or lack thereof. Ignore any "tipping of their hand" or lack thereof. Programs can express niceties (you'd be a good fit, I hope you rank us highly, etc), but may do so to everybody, or they may say nothing. They cannot try to arrange or leverage your ranking of them highly, and are in a precarious position if they promise you a high ranking. So don't expect any useful feedback.
     
  12. bigDinLV

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    You're completely allowed to "express interest" in each other. Voluntary disclosure is the rule. You can't really "ask" where you are ranked. If both parties want to sit down and tell each other how much they love each other, that is allowed. Technically I guess you shouldn't put an exact number to the rank though.

    This is directly from the NRMP site.

    There is one cardinal rule for both programs and applicants: neither must ask the other prior to the Match to make a commitment as to how each will be ranked. Each party may express a high level of interest in the other; however, references to how each will rank the other should be avoided and should definitely not be solicited. Neither programs nor applicants should consider these comments about interest as commitments. Candor and honesty are important for both programs and applicants.
     
  13. Law2Doc

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    They are walking a very very fine line. If, as you suggested above, a program says in writing "that when [you are] done interviewing to get in contact so we can talk about where we would like to rank each other", that is a pretty blatant violation and could get a program in very hot water in the match. This isn't "sitting down and telling each other how much they love each other". Once you put in the phrase "where we would like to rank each other" you run afoul of the rules. Sorry but you do. As you mentioned, making committments as to how each will be ranked is a violation. Putting pressure on an applicant as to ranking (such as the sit down you describe) is also a violation. Saying how you will rank and then not doing so is dishonesty and would also be a violation. So yeah, programs are crazy if they do this, and any student who gets this kind of request for a sit down in writing probably has the ability to get the program investigated for violations, and can potentially cost the program access to the match in future years. Which is why this is not the norm, and most sane programs would never do this. I might suggest staying away from programs which do this, because they are likely giving the same kind of correspondence to folks who would be quicker to turn them in, and ruin the program for future years.

    There is nothing wrong with programs sending fluff correspondence telling applicants how much they enjoyed meeting them, inviting them to call for a second look, and other similar non-committal niceties. But if they go beyond and talk about ranking it gets precarious. And is absolutely not the norm for this reason.
     
    #12 Law2Doc, Dec 30, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  14. bluealiendoctor

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    I agree with all of you. However, I think it's possible that bigdinlv might be "guilding the Lilly" a bit about programs saying to contact them to discuss ranking. Such a blatant violation.....sorry, don't buy it.
     
  15. Law2Doc

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    Well, rules only exist in published form because people have been known to run afoul of them. There are programs on probation or under investigation currently for rule violations. It is not totally inconceivable that bigD has come across one. But this certainly is not the norm and I'd have worries about entertaining interest in such a program.
     
  16. Samoa

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    Ok, this is about the 10th time I've seen you write this, and it's not any more true this time than it was the other nine times.

    You can tell a program anything you want about how you plan to rank them, and then do something entirely different, and it is NOT a match violation. Dishonest, yes, but not in violation of the actual rules.
     
  17. Law2Doc

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    Um, I was talking about the program saying this, as I think was clear from the preceding and following sentence.
    The language in the rules prohibiting programs from behaving unethically prohibits dishonesty by them, and is, in fact, a match violation.
     
  18. bigDinLV

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    I didn't say at any point that this was in writing.

    I'm sure that neither myself or this program director wants to violate any rules. Telling someone to get back to you so you can talk, is just a suggestion. As long as the statements of interest are voluntary by both parties, there is no violation. They know that plenty of matches are planned. Based on the paragraph below, and the one from NRMP that I posted eariler, I guess I just don't see how it would be a violation in the MD or DO match. Luckily this is a DO program and I think we are fairly safe, based on the info provided by national matching service themselves.

    Here is what is says about doing this in the packet from National Matching Services on page 2.

    "Prior to the Rank Order List deadline, you and the programs to which you have applied may express your interest in each other. While voluntary communication of expected rankings is permitted, statements implying or requesting a comitment are prohibited."
     
  19. Taus

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    I wouldn't worry about it at all. Try not to read into anything that is said, written, inferred or even whispered in your ear about the interview process.

    Just rank your programs in your order of preference and everything will work out.

    I went on 15 interviews for internships and residencies and have only gotten 1 piece of feedback from 1 program after the interview day. It is what it is.
     
  20. bigDinLV

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    It is a program that only has one spot per year. I think with these types of programs they almost always know who will end up there.

    I can tell you another program just like this one, they are taking 2 this year. Everyone already knows who the 2 are. Heck, I know a guy that already knows he has the spot for a combined pHD program.

    I guess when I go back to this program for a "second look" we'll have to make sure it is just a bunch of I like you and you like me and nobody mentions any numbers!!!!!!!!!!!
     
    #19 bigDinLV, Dec 30, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  21. Law2Doc

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    Again a voluntary vague statement of interest between parties is fine. If the program invites you back to have a sit down to discuss "where you will rank each other", as you suggested in your first post though, that absolutely isn't fine. It would not be regarded as a "suggestion". It would be regarded as pre-match negotiation, perhaps some inference of commitment, perhaps some pressuring of the applicant. This is a no no. A program can get in trouble for this. Doesn't matter how many slots they have.
     
  22. Law2Doc

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    A program where everybody already knows who is getting those slots, before interviewing is over and before applicants and programs have even started ranking, is problematic. If a program participates in the match they are not allowed to give firm commitments to their spots before the match. There are programs that have been hit with violations for pre-match dealings like this.
     
  23. bigDinLV

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    Interviews are over for each of the places I have mentioned. I don't think it is a commitment they have made to each other, more of an "understanding" ????
     
  24. bigDinLV

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    Here is how the whole thing went down....

    It was the end of the interview. I was telling the PD how much I would like to end up there. It would mean a lot to bring my kids back so close to the rest of the family and etc. At that point he asked how many interviews I have to go, then said when I am done to get in contact about where we would like to rank each other. This is a place I would actually like to end up at. I didn't feel pressured at all, I was actually happy to have such positive feedback. It was more along the lines of showing interest and then later talking about how much they were interested in me (or not, who knows how this will go, they still had one more group to interview) and how much I really wanted to be there. I really don't think we were even close to violating any rules. Everyone was in a happy place .
     
  25. Law2Doc

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    Yeah, I got what you were saying the first time -- still doesn't make it permitted. The bold statement is simply not allowed. Period. Doesn't matter how pressured you actually felt, or whether or not you were happy about it. (It's an objective rule, not a subjective one). Having a sit down with a PD where you discuss where you will rank each other is not acceptable match communications. It is a violation of the rules. You can talk fluff like that you each plan to match the other highly, but to actually nail things down with the PD is not allowed. The whole point of the match is that this kind of stuff isn't nailed down until March 19. If a program wants to go outside of the match and fill its slots informally, they have to wait until after March 19, or prematch non-US folks. They don't get to nail things down earlier.
     
  26. Law2Doc

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    This kind of semantics gets a program put on probation. An "understanding" that is, for all intents and purposes a done deal is a commitment. This is so largely because if they have an understanding and don't abide by it, then they are behaving unethically, which is also against the rules. So the program has locked itself into a prematch obligation, and that is against the rules.
    All I can say is at least some med schools are telling students that this kind of communication is against the rules, and we should be leery of programs who try to negotiate this kind of "understanding". The match is on March 19, not before. If a program already works out "understandings" before that date, it can be severely penalized.
     
  27. bigDinLV

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    Here is what I don't understand about your point. In both the NRMP and national matching services they say that you can freely discuss these things voluntarily. Not with specific numbers but you can say other things for sure. In my stuff from the DO match they say these types of communications are even expected, they know it happens.

    You aren't allowed to make specific commitments but you can surely know where you are likely to match and the programs can get feedback from you on how likely you are to end up there. See the things I posted from both organizations above, it is allowed.

    It sounds like we are getting hung up on semantics. To say lets sit down and talk about raking each other is a violation in your opinion. But what if he said, lets talk about how much we like each other? No deals made, just everyone is open and honest about how they feel...

    I have to ask... What year are you in school? have you interviewed yet? If not, you may be surprised at just how much of this goes on..
     
  28. DwightKShrute

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    Wait a minute, so letter of intents are illegal?

    "I intend to rank your program #1"

    (assuming you send it to one place and not every place you interviewed)
     
  29. Law2Doc

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    No, that's fine. It's the coordinating with a PD that's unacceptable communications because it constitutes an arrangement. But unilaterally saying you will rank a program #1 doesn't obligate you nor do you have a deal.
     
  30. Law2Doc

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    It's this kind of semantics that gets programs put on probation. If a program walks close to the line it risks getting burned. Allo med schools say that working out ranking arrangements in the way you describe are a violation of the communications rules. Talking about how much each party likes each other is fine, because it is vague and nothing gets arranged. Thus most programs will go no further than this kind of nicety. It's just not worth it to go further for most because a violation means a program has to sit out of the match for 3 years.

    And yes, I know exactly how much of this goes on. Doesn't make it right, or smart.
     
  31. Winged Scapula

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    It appears to me that the on-going discussion between bigdinlv and L2D fails to recognize that the DO and Allopathic matches have different rules.

    L2D is absolutely correct in his statements about the MD match. However, a big difference is that bigdinlv is correct: the osteopathic match DOES allow such comments between applicants. You ARE allowed to discuss specifics of matching.
     
  32. Samoa

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    What if the pre-match dealings occur between program directors?
     
  33. Law2Doc

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    Yeah, that's a possible source of confusion. I'm still not exactly sure which match BigD is talking about because he's quoting the NRMP rules and saying things like "I just don't see how it would be a violation in the MD or DO match.". But if he's talking osteo I'm happy to concede I have no knowledge of their system, and that their programs may be allowed to do things the allo programs aren't.
     
  34. Law2Doc

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    That's an interesting question. I don't know that there's a specific rule addressing it as the communication rules tend to focus on dealings between programs and applicants. It's certainly against the "spirit" of the match, and may have anti-trust implications. Perhaps you could argue that this isn't "ethical" behavior by the programs to thwart an applicant's ranking, and in that case it could be a violation.
     
  35. Samoa

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    That statement in the agreement is subject to many different interpretations, and without examples from NRMP to indicate what's meant by it, is unenforceable.

    Also, if you look at what the NRMP has actually imposed sanctions over, it's clear that they don't care if one party has made a voluntary but dishonest statement of intent. They only care if one party has asked the other for such a statement, or if a program has offered a position to someone who already has one, or not offered an initial contract to someone whom they ranked and matched.
     
  36. Law2Doc

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    A wise program isn't going to depend on their being right in their own interpretation, they are going to steer clear of actions that under any interpretation of the rules will land them in hot water. Examples are never required before a rule is enforceable -- examples are meant to help programs but are not exhaustive indications of how the rules are going to be enforced, unless it's stated that they are the only situations to which the rules will apply. (That's a basic legal concept, by the way). So you are not legally correct in stating that "without examples from NRMP to indicate what's meant by it, is unenforceable". (And yes, this is an administrative law question). A program could argue in a legal proceeding that the rule is unfairly vague, but most folks are advised not to get themselves into situations where they have to defend themselves in court that the meaning of a phrase like behaving "unethically" doesn't include behaving "dishonestly". A hospital lawyer would advise a program director to stay far away from that situation if asked.

    As for looking at what has been enforced thus far, that is certainly helpful but imperfect guidance. How aggressive the enforcement has been in the past is illustrative of what to expect in the future, but hardly a hard and fast rule. Programs never know how aggressive the enforcement is going to be in a given year, just what the rules state. So assuming that something won't be enforced this year because it hasn't been enforced in prior years is perhaps a good guess, but assumes some risk -- it is wrong to think it unenforceable. And IMHO given the draconian downside to being found in violation of the communications rules, the reward rarely outweighs this risk.

    At least some allo schools are telling applicants that what is described above is a violation of the rules. So back to the original responses in this thread, don't be surprised to get no feedback from allo interviews, or very fuzzy niceties. There is risk for programs to say/do more. So the wise and conservative ones won't.
     
  37. bigDinLV

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    Yes.. I did fail to mention that the PD doing this was at a DO program.

    My MD interviews have steered clear of direct offers, just we'd love you have you type stuff and invitations for a second look which they clearly stated may or may not help my chances.

    Also the people I mentioned before knowing where they are going are in DO neurosurgery programs.

    I did quote both of the matches. Perhaps I was granting the looser DO rules to the MD match also. I guess in the MD world you have to much more careful of what you say. it gets confusing when you have to play 2 different games.

    Thanks Winged.
     
  38. Law2Doc

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    It's not inconceivable that you came across allo programs which ran afoul of the rules. But in general they are fairly cognizant of what they are allowed to say and as a result feedback is often quite sparse. And they generally won't go so far as to tip their hands as to who will match, and folks won't know of where they are going to match until match day.
     
  39. Samoa

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    The NRMP's blanket statement that nothing other than the actual rank list should be considered binding, and the fact that there are no cases where sanctions have been imposed on either party over such things, makes it pretty clear that the NRMP has no intent of getting involved in disputes over the ethics of what applicants and programs tell each other.

    What, exactly, is this "draconian downside"? Being listed as a match violator on a website? That's little more than a finger wag. I've never seen a program actually banned from participating in the match.

    Yeah, and just because some nurse tells me that something is against Joint Commission rules, doesn't mean she's right. There are lots of people out there with a faulty understanding of the rules, and lots of gullible people who believe what they say without checking for themselves.
     
  40. Law2Doc

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    Well, according to the rules, in worst case scenarios a program in violation of match rules has to sit out of the match "for up to three years or permanently". That's huge.
     
  41. Samoa

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    But has it ever actually happened? I scrolled through the current list of match violations, and no one's gotten anything more than a slap on the hand. Even for pretty egregious stuff, like refusing to give a contract to a matched applicant (whom they obviously must have ranked). That's a far bigger deal than just verbal assurances to multiple programs/applicants that you're ranking them #1.

    (I'm not condoning this kind of thing--just playing devil's advocate here, to make the point that these are empty words on the part of NRMP.)
     
  42. Law2Doc

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    I believe from word of mouth that it has happened, just not recently.
     
  43. aProgDirector

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    Where exactly is this list? Is it on the MyERAS site? I have searched for it to no avail.
     
  44. bigDinLV

    2+ Year Member

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    On the NRMP site. Log in and then there is a tab on the left hand side... I don't know if the site is different for you. Here is a sample of what it shows.

    Program Violations Match InstitutionProgramMAIN 2005
    Stanford Univ Progs-CA1820340A0 Phys Medicine & Rehab
    StatementThe Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation program at Stanford University selected U.S. allopathic medical school seniors outside the Match.
    SanctionBecause there was no evidence of additional violations occurring since the NRMP's 2002 investigation of this matter, no further action was taken.
     
  45. Samoa

    Physician Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

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    An attorney, of all people, should know that word of mouth is worth the paper it's printed on.
     
  46. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    LOL. Um no -- oral agreements are sometimes enforceable, so word of mouth can still get folks in trouble. And the match rules themselves have rules where a program could put themselves in jeopardy through verbal agreements. So no, I don't know this at all.:)
     
  47. Samoa

    Physician Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

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    Elements of an enforceable oral agreement:
    1. "meeting of the minds" i.e. "I would love to train here", "Well, we really want you to come here".
    2. An offer by one party with acceptance of the offer by the other, i.e. "we will rank you to match if you rank us #1" "OK, then I'll be ranking you #1".
    3. The negotiation must involve mutual exchange of something of value, i.e. you get a resident, I get a residency.
    4. Neither party is negotiating in bad faith, i.e. "heh, heh, heh, no way in hell am I ranking this program #1. I just want to be sure of matching," or on the part of the program: "we just want to be sure we still match within our top 10, in case we don't get the people we're REALLY ranking to match."
    5. Performance by one side of the agreed upon action, i.e. "I ranked you #1, what the hell happened?"

    In the Venn diagram of the spoken word, oral agreements and word of mouth occupy non-intersecting spheres.

    And anyway, the NRMP specifically states that any such agreement is non-binding, and that for its participants, the only binding "offer" and "acceptance" is between the actual rank lists submitted by the parties.
     
    #46 Samoa, Jan 2, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  48. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Well, #3 would be a failure of consideration until performance actually happened. In a service contract you can't just call the anticipated service contracted for to be the exchange of value. Historically folks who entered a contract in which nothing was exchanged exchanged a "barleycorn" or some other symbolic token. Saying you will provide residency services isn't consideration. (Actually providing those services would be, once it happened, though). These days somebody generally agrees to pay the other a dollar "or other good and valuable consideration" to satisfy consideration requirements. For an oral contract you have to actually tender something.

    It also should be noted that contracts not performable within a year would have to be in writing (per the Statute of Frauds). So a longer term residency perhaps wouldn't work here.

    I agree the NRMP rules hinder oral contracts here, although I would suggest that if parties have a specific oral agreement in violation of other rules of the NRMP, and exchange an item of consideration (eg $1), then there would be something enforceable. You can't violate the rules and then use the rules to protect yourself against having committed an alleged violation.
     
  49. aProgDirector

    aProgDirector Pastafarians Unite!
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    This is not available on my NRMP site. Very interesting. I'll have to ask one of my residents (who is using NRMP for fellowship match) to see if I can look at it there, or perhaps one of the students.
     
  50. Samoa

    Physician Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

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    I would post them all here, but there are so many. Easily three times as many from the 2007 and 2008 matches as there were two years ago for the prior two match years.

    I strongly suspect it's due to increased reporting, because somehow I doubt that everybody just decided to go rogue all at once.

    So aPD, do you get a corresponding list of applicant match violators on your version of the site?
     
  51. bigDinLV

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    ^^ that would be interesting if we get program violations and they get them for individuals.
     

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