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Location Versus Specialty

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by gstrub, May 8, 2007.

  1. gstrub

    gstrub Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    I have been thinking about residency a lot lately (as an MD/PhD student this is all you do after your old classmates match) and am curious if anyone else has faced the dilema of having a good degree of geographical baggage with regards to matching that may affect my decision making. In my specific case, my fiancee and I are trying to move to CA, and I am 99% sure about surgery as a residency. However, I am not entirely sure about whether to do general or one of the sub-specialties like neurosurg or ENT. I have not done M3 yet so I don't know if I'll fall in love with one of these specialties or not. Certainly I understand that the surgical specialties are more competeive, and I've heard that CA is tough to begin with. Basically what I'm saying is that I will be very competitive for general but less so for neurosurg or ENT.

    I guess the point is this: how much of an influence has geography played into your decision for a career?
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  3. mlw03

    mlw03 Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    geography hasn't played into my decision making - this is the career you're going to do the rest of your life, and i think it's more important to get trained in what you want to do, even if you have to life somewhere less desireable for a while to do it. but i understand real world life issues happen, so sometimes people have to do things they don't want. i happen to be lucky in that i'm single, have no geographic restrictions, and want a relatively non-competitive specialty. but a buddy of mine wants radiology in a specific place, and she faces a tough match than i do.
  4. colbgw02

    colbgw02 Delightfully Tacky 10+ Year Member

    i can't imagine anything other than specialty choice be the first and most important factor in residency selection. geography is a distant second. once you choose a specialty, it's difficult to imagine yourself doing anything else. i'm at the point that i would seriously considering giving up medicine if i weren't in my current specialty.

    also, when you're spending ~80 of your waking hours a week at work, then you want to be doing the specialty of your choice. compare that to the amount of free time you'll have to enjoy your surroundings, and, for me, it's an easy decision.
  5. Winged Scapula

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

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    For most people when choosing a residency, geography generally plays a significant role when they have a spouse or SO who has limitations because of career or because of other family issues.

    The same is true when it comes to picking a location for a job. I found that because I had less limitations than my colleagues, I had more options and more offers. A few number of great candidates had to turn down offers because their spouse couldn't find a job in the area. So geography makes a real difference in some people's lives...I have several colleagues who are limited to a small geographic area, and as such they don't have jobs after fellowship.

    I don't know too many people who allowed geography to affect their choice of specialty - that is, they weren't so bent on being in place "X" that they would do any specialty to stay there. But I suppose it happens.

    bottom line: you need to have a Plan B if you don't match or find a job where you really want to be. Do you wait until one becomes available or do you make other choices in regards to geography?

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