Letter of Rec from Relative?

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by 218303, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. 218303

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    Is it frowned upon to get a letter of rec for residency from a relative? I normally wouldn't even think about this, but I have shadowed a relative that is somewhat of a "big wig" in his field and a letter from him would look good. I haven't shadowed him on rounds though, just during summers. Do you have to get letters only from people you work with during 3rd and 4th years?
     
  2. Smurfette

    Smurfette Antagonized by Azrael
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    Well, it certainly would not appear to be an objective evaluation or LOR if from a relative. Most people IMO would not take the letter seriously knowing it was from a relative. And also as a result they might infer that: 1. you cannot get a good LOR from someone else, and/or 2. you are taking advantage of nepotism for personal gain.

    You can technically get LORs from anybody, however, people who have worked with you in a clinical setting (i.e. professional training/education setting, not shadowing) are best, as some programs will discount LORs outside a certain field (surgery for one is a field where they want you to have LORs from surgeons) or from people who haven't worked with you clinically.
     
  3. 218303

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    Yeah I guess this was a pretty dumb question. I guess I'm just trying to find a way to take advantage of having a relative, who is nationally well known, that works in the same field that I am interested in. I guess a letter of rec from him probably wouldn't be the best idea.
     
  4. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Agree with smurfette -- this letter would not be well regarded, regardless of how nationally well known this person is. Two problems result (1) the person is a relative, and so there is not going to be much candor, and (2) the exposure has only been from shadowing, which is not adequate insight for which the person could comment on how you might fare in a resident role. The LORs really ought to be from someone who has seen you in a professional setting. Generally, folks get them from attendings who worked with them on rotations or sub-I's and can talk about the person's ability to work on a team, work with patients, etc, or from someone in the specialty being applied to who had the opportunity to work closely with the applicant in some academic role (research). Residencies care most about recommendations of folks who have seen you in settings that most closely approximate the kind of tasks you will have to do as a resident. They don't care if you know someone famous as much as that you can seamlessly transition from med student to resident without causing them any issues.

    Now that doesn't mean that well connected people don't have friends in programs they might put in a good word to, off the record -- I'm sure this happens all the time. But you don't use up one of your 3-4 LORs for this.
     
  5. dragonfly99

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    Agree with above,
    would use this person more to make off the record phone calls or inquiries for you, or maybe put in a good word for you after you have already interviewed.
    If you do decide to use a LOR from him, it should definitely only be an extra letter (4th or 5th letter) in addition to at least 3 others.
     
  6. mcl

    mcl
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    I have seen applicants name drop relationships in their Personal Statements. Sometimes it comes across poorly, but not always--especially if the person played a significant role in why you chose your specialty.
     
  7. jonb12997

    jonb12997 I'm a doctor!!
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    I agree with this! - I had a relative call a medical school for me, not to really give me a formal letter of recommendation, but instead to just put in a good word.
     
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