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Possible to do 2nd residency?

Discussion in 'ERAS, SOAP, and NRMP Match' started by LearnedHand, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. LearnedHand

    LearnedHand 5+ Year Member

    Jan 4, 2007
    What if you change your mind about what specialty you want to do (or you couldn't get into your #1 specialty the 1st time around)? Is it possible to do a second residency - in a different field - after your first?
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  3. Jack Daniel

    Jack Daniel In Memory of Riley Jane Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Oct 12, 2005
    Yeah, I've wondered about this, too, and I have the same question: Assuming one had the time, money and desire, would it be possible in today's system to finish one residency (say EM) and then complete a second residency (say FM)?

    I know people can start one and then switch into another, and I know of older docs who are double-boarded in different specialties (who didn't do a combined residency), but is it done today?
  4. Faebinder

    Faebinder Slow Wave Smurf 10+ Year Member

    May 24, 2006
    I dont see why not... but it would be stupid to go for a PGY 1 position when you can get a PGY 2 position that is empty. E.g. plenty of PGY 2 FM positions out there and I am sure your EM residency will give you credit enough to be PGY 2.
  5. FutureOph123

    FutureOph123 5+ Year Member

    Mar 19, 2007
    I am not sure on the details, but I believe the feds will only fund a certain number of years of cumulative residency training; so, if you are over the limit, I think many programs will not take you because they will be losing cash. I would look into this.
  6. mlw03

    mlw03 Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    Aug 15, 2003
    while it may be possible to do a second residency after completing a first, why not just try to switch during your residency? what i'm getting at is that it takes time and effort to train residents, and if you're doing an IM residency for example and then decide you'd prefer neuro after your first year, if you complete that IM residency that's 2 years of training down the drain - training that could be going to someone who'll eventually practice IM. i tend to think of medical training as a limited resource, so i think in terms of how that resource can best be utilized (recognizing that people change their mind), so if someone knew early on they wanted to switch, i'd think it better to make that change as early as possible - for everyone's sake.
  7. Winged Scapula

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

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    The CMS (HCFA) funding "rules" seem to be variably applied. For example, if a program wants you and you've used up your funding years, programs may refuse to consider your application.

    OTOH, if they want you they may go ahead and offer you a position and find the money. I know a former surgeon who was out in practice a few years, then came back did a full Rads residency with an IR fellowship. There's an Anesthesia resident here who finished his gen surg residency and then went right into Anesthesia. So it is possible.
  8. SoCuteMD

    SoCuteMD 10+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    No more rounding!
    Generally it's not this easy. I know if you are finishing an FM residency or have been BC in FM and want to complete an EM residency you can get 6 months worth of credit for your time in FM residency towards your new EM residency. However, this must be agreed upon by you and the PD in advance and there is some paperwork that must be submitted at the time that everyone agrees. It's not quite as simple as you make it sound.
  9. danielmd06

    danielmd06 Neurosomnologist Physician 7+ Year Member

    Sep 9, 2006
    Like Dr. Cox, I've seen this done a couple of times already by people who have fully completed one residency prior to starting another. Always gratifying to see. We've all worked too hard to not do what we want to do IMHO.

    If a program wants you, then they will find a way to accomodate you if possible.

    It happens less often than one would think because it's hard to turn down a relatively privileged lifestyle and become an intern again. Not to mention that some people have major financial issues to concern themselves with immediately after completing, starting a family, etc.
  10. MR1

    MR1 10+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    I know of at least 2 people that finished their internal medicine residencies and then did the 3 years of ophthalmology residency. I have no idea about funding and such things though in these cases
  11. Ballgirl23


    Mar 25, 2008
    Another question. Does completion of a residency make one a more "attractive applicant" if they are trying to get into a more competitive field for the 2nd residency? Or, due to funding etc, is it better to transfer rather than complete the prior residency?
  12. Winged Scapula

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

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    Depends on the candidate and the program.

    It might make you less attractive because of the funding issues, but some programs may work around that.
  13. Yeah, we've had this issue pop up once or twice recently.

    Doesn't the second PD wonder why the applicant didn't just transfer early on? I guess if the applicant has a good reason (I wanted to be double-boarded; I was too far in and just wanted to finish before starting a second residency; etc.) it'll be OK.

    Funding may definitely be an issue.
  14. orientedtoself

    orientedtoself resident 5+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2005
    no, they will just wonder why you are dumb and/or like punishment enough to do two residencies instead of one.

  15. CorpusERdoc

    CorpusERdoc Banned

    Mar 10, 2008
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Yes, this is very possible. There are some programs that don't like this, but there are still others that embrace.

    My program has no problem with people who have prior experience---they are more equipped residents!

    We have two people who have completed a prior family medicine residency, and one of them even did a year of surgery prior to that!

    There are combined programs in emergency medicine anyway, so it's no different---you are just doing them in succession instead of concurrently....
  16. dmitrinyr

    dmitrinyr Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 25, 2003
    I know of a few residents who completed their peds residency and now are well into their EM residency. It happens but not very often. I think people that have posted prior are correct in stating that if a program really wants you then they will figure out a way to get you.
  17. otobon


    Oct 8, 2008
    I finally found some answers with this thread...thank you.
    I am an IMG and I am thinking of doing whatever there is to get into what i want...that means doing 1, 2 or 3 years of something easier to match and apply every single year to get into ENT...what residency would y think could be an easy switch? or a good pre- before surgical residency?
  18. dragonfly99

    dragonfly99 5+ Year Member

    May 15, 2008
    OK. r.e. the last post above...

    In your situation I would definitely go for a preliminary surgery year. Then if you do well you might get a shot at getting in to ENT from there. Also, if you do the prelim surgery year, you won't have "used up" any more than 1 year of the allowed Medicare funding. Try to do the prelim year some place that they have an ENT residency, and try really hard to impress people while you are there. I hope you did well on USMLE, because ENT is fairly competitive, even for a US med school grad. You better have a backup plan (i.e. switching to general surgery, or even another specialty) ...that applies to even US grads, unless they are top of their classes. If you can't get in ENT after one surgical prelim year, then maybe do a year of research working for an ENT doc, or in his lab.

    If you did something like started out in family med or internal med, then for one thing you wouldn't get ANY credit toward a surgical residency, if you later transferred. That would suck b/c you would have to repeat your intern year, even if you ever did manage to get an ENT surgery spot. The 2nd problem is if you start in some specialty like internal med or family practice, then the Medicare people in the government, who fund residency programs, will attach a limit of 3 years (the length of that residency) to the number of years of residency that you can have funded. So if you switched to any type of surgical residency, including ENT, after 1 year in internal med, then you'd only get 2 years of surgery residency paid for. A lot of hospitals won't want to hire you because they can get some other intern from a med school, for whom they'd get 5 years of money/salary paid for by Medicare. It's a weird rule, but apparently it exists.
  19. Winged Scapula

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

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    Also consider that the American Board of Surgery no longer allows surgery residents to train at more than 3 programs or to do more than 3 Prelim years. Thus, if you have not gotten into a categorical position by that time you can forget about it as no program will take someone that cannot become Board Eligible.

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