Is there any hope for me to get surgical cat spot next year

Discussion in 'Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties' started by jaydada, Apr 29, 2004.

  1. jaydada

    jaydada Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Aug 1, 2003
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    Hi all,

    Can anyone here please give me some advise regarding landing a Cat. spot in surgery for 2005.......I'm a US IMG w/ step I/step II scores of: 197/198 with a second take of step II, unfortunately I don't have any US clinical experiance nor do I have any LORs from the US. I did match this year into a FP program, however I really want to get into surgery. I know the possibility of doing a non-designated prelim year after doing a year of FP exists, but I'm already 31y/o and don't want to keep doing these 1yr spots before I can acutually get into a cat spot considering surgery is such a long residency anyway. I know as an FMG I'm already cursed and to add to it my low USMLE scores w/ a second take of step II will make it almost impossible to land a cat spot in surg, but is there anyone out here that can give me some realistic guidance as to how to go about getting into a cat surgery for 2005.
  2. kinetic

    kinetic Membership Revoked

    Mar 17, 2004
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    Seems to me that it's never a question of IF you can or can't get in something; it's a question of what kind of crap you want to put yourself through and how much of your life you want to waste. You're right, you do have a number of problematic qualities in your CV which will cause programs to automatically toss out your application. So now it becomes a test of just how damn badly do you want to be a surgeon? Because you almost certainly can get a spot SOMEWHERE (even if it sucks) if you completed your residency in FP, did some Surgical research, and got some Surgical LORs. That would address all the problems in your past (the lack of clinical experience, the IMG-ness, and the academic problems). Problem is, you'd be starting residency all over again in your mid-30s. But it's probably a little unrealistic to think that you'll be able to turn everything around in one year, unfortunately. (And I'm not trying to be cruel, since I just threw away three years of my life and am trying to change specialties into Surgery, as well. I had to ask myself the same questions: do I want this badly enough to burn the past three years? Answer: it's either that or just get the hell out of the medical field. So here I am.) This is something that a lot of people do to get into Ortho or Derm or any very competitive specialty - some of them take extra years off to do research in order to become more attractive candidates.

    Also, I'm not very knowledgeable about this, but I would not recommend doing the whole prelim year thing (just my opinion and maybe others can comment). While it is a chance to show your stuff off, I've also heard horror stories about programs (especially with the new work-hour restriction) just using prelim people as warm bodies and then tossing them aside when the year is over.
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  3. Foxxy Cleopatra

    Foxxy Cleopatra Surgery Resident
    7+ Year Member

    Dec 24, 2002
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    This is a tough question, I agree. To me, surgery is kind of odd; it's unlike many other specialties of medicine in that you need a certain number/variety of cases for adequate training. Yet, there is always a ton of floor work; in other words, stuff that lower level residents are more than qualified to do. I've seen this go a few ways: some places use non-designated (and designated prelims, for that matter) to aid in getting it done where others tend to have more lower-level residents (who think they have a guaranteed spot) then they intend to graduate. I've also seen situations where the prelim was given a categorical spot after a year and a categorical was given the boot (like a quasi-pyramid system.)

    Therefore, I would take this into consideration if you are thinking about a prelim spot. As a prelim, it's a given that you will have to "prove yourself" but IMO you will be fighting a larger battle in a program that already has too many people than possible to graduate. So explore your options (and the program's history) before accepting any offers.

    From the people that I know that have had success in getting a categorical spot outside of the match (in either surgery or ortho), they either worked very hard as a prelim and were invited to stay or they forwarded their CV to a ton of places until one took the bait.

    Good luck- I understand that it can be very hard to make a complete change in residency or take a non-guaranteed spot, especially given our med school debt and desire to finish up in *something*. It's not an easy choice.

  4. Masonator

    Masonator Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2000
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    where did you see the "quasi pyramid" system in effect. Did they routinely boot categoricals for prelimbs?

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