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Programs favorable to older candidates from UK with clinical and COVID experience

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illgetthere

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Hello out there. This is my first post, I hope I am reaching the appropriate audience. Thanks in advance to anyone who takes out the time to respond.
I am a a doctor working at the highest ranked neuro-stroke program in the UK and have many years of clinical experience in stroke. Historically, I have been unsuccessful in the match three times and did not receive a single interview most likely because of a passing but marginal step 1 score. I could not apply to many programs because my graduation date exceeds 2 or 5 years, even though I spent those years working. I am applying to this years match again because for personal reasons I need a residency in USA. My wife and child live in USA and cannot move here with me. I am writing in the explanation as an edit to my original post, since the question has been asked. My son has autism and could not adjust to the very drastic change between southern California and London. There was a lot of bullying at school and he refused to go to school. Its something best understood by parents of children with special needs.

So my questions are: are there any programs or program directors you may know of who do not screen out a candidate with a low step one score, but look at other factors. I realize this is difficult for them, having to screen thousands of applicants. It is easier to electronically screen that way but still, perhaps someone knows somebody. Step 1 is moving to a pass/fail format next year so possibly some programs are already transitioning to a new method of screening. Are there any programs screening by Step 2 scores that you may be aware of? I would at least make it past the cut if they are. I am applying to both neurology and internal medicine.

Would it be wrong to write to a residency director, explain the circumstances and politely request that they view the my application. I have a good step 2 score, have passed step 3, US externships and research but no publications in USA, research in UK which will be one of the largest studies on stroke and COVID, COVID management experience, strong recommendation letters but it all amounts to nothing if nobody actually sees my application. Appreciate any insights. Cheers!
 
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chromaticscale

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Hi there, I'll try to help as much as I can though I am no expert in this by any means. It seems like you have already tried the match many times but failed. Considering this, have you actually asked the program directors why they did not consider you? How many programs did you apply? Have you ever worked at any of the US programs so that they can see first-hand how you work with them?
I think IMGs who are successful in the match have very good Step scores, research experience, and most importantly those who have been able to work at the hospital/program somehow such as doing research have the best chances. If all else fails, you may have to consider an alternate job other than getting a residency spot if being closer to family is more important to you.
Unfortunately during COVID times, I have heard that program directors favor applicants they know in person, and you definitely have that disadvantage.
 

chessknt

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Hello out there. This is my first post, I hope I am reaching the appropriate audience. Thanks in advance to anyone who takes out the time to respond.
I am a a doctor working at the highest ranked neuro-stroke program in the UK and have many years of clinical experience. Historically, I have been unsuccessful in the match three times and did not receive a single interview most likely because of a passing but marginal step 1 score. I could not apply to many programs because my graduation date exceeds 2 or 5 years, even though I spent those years working. I am applying to this years match again because for personal reasons I need a residency in USA. My wife and child live in USA and they cannot move to UK. Long distance relationships are hard especially for children.

So my questions are: are there any programs or program directors you may know of who do not screen out a candidate with a low step one score, but look at other factors. I realize this is difficult for them, having to screen thousands of applicants. It is easier to electronically screen that way but still, perhaps someone knows somebody. Step 1 is moving to a pass/fail format next year so possibly some programs are already transitioning to a new method of screening. Are there any programs screening by Step 2 scores that you may be aware of? I would at least make it past the cut if they are. I am applying to both neurology and internal medicine.

Would it be wrong to write to a residency director, explain the circumstances and politely request that they view the my application. I have a good step 2 score, work experience, COVID management experience, strong recommendation letters but it all amounts to nothing if nobody actually sees my application. Appreciate any insights. Cheers!

Im not sure that a training program cares about clinical experience since it is a training program. If anything I would view it as a potential negative since it might be harder to break habits out of someone who is used to working independently.

Why can't they move to the UK?

If you are hellbent on moving to the US I would look for a research position at a university (eg a trial coordinator) with a connection to an area you have interest in (? neuro). Ideally your boss will be an MD and you can work directly under this person for several years and get a connection who get you in to that training program. Ive seen that work for several IMGs.
 

illgetthere

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Hi there, I'll try to help as much as I can though I am no expert in this by any means. It seems like you have already tried the match many times but failed. Considering this, have you actually asked the program directors why they did not consider you? How many programs did you apply? Have you ever worked at any of the US programs so that they can see first-hand how you work with them?
I think IMGs who are successful in the match have very good Step scores, research experience, and most importantly those who have been able to work at the hospital/program somehow such as doing research have the best chances. If all else fails, you may have to consider an alternate job other than getting a residency spot if being closer to family is more important to you.
Unfortunately during COVID times, I have heard that program directors favor applicants they know in person, and you definitely have that disadvantage.
Thanks for taking out the time from your busy residency schedule., I did not contact any program directors I assumed its the low step 1 score but you are right I should have inquired with some programs. I applied quite broadly to about 100 programs but not neurology, so I will apply to two specialties this time and maybe some osteopathic programs because they are more accepting of nontraditional applicants. I did an externship and research at Drexel COM but they were very strict about their Step 1 cut off scores so in hindsight I could have chose a different program to work with. I have research here in UK that Im about to send in, one of the biggest studies on COVID and stroke, lets see how that helps. Medicine is more than just a career for me, so I would not choose any other career. So hopefully I find a residency director who gives me a chance or my son ( who has autism ) handles the move better in a few years. Its my wife who has persuaded me that there are some program directors out there who will give me a chance, I just have to find them. Thanks and best of luck to you on your future endeavors. .
 

illgetthere

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Im not sure that a training program cares about clinical experience since it is a training program. If anything I would view it as a potential negative since it might be harder to break habits out of someone who is used to working independently.

Why can't they move to the UK?

If you are hellbent on moving to the US I would look for a research position at a university (eg a trial coordinator) with a connection to an area you have interest in (? neuro). Ideally your boss will be an MD and you can work directly under this person for several years and get a connection who get you in to that training program. Ive seen that work for several IMGs.

I appreciate your candor. I agree that many programs view experience negatively for the very reasons you mention. I work in stroke medicine however, I work in a team and am not at the top of the hierarchy yet, I have much to learn in neurology or internal medicine, although I have seen many patients with stroke and COVID.
My son has autism so while my family did try to move here, children with autism cannot handle change well and the bullying at school made him refuse to go to school, so they have gone back for the time being. The research pathway you are suggesting works for younger candidates who can spare a few years. My hope with this post is maybe some leads about programs who accept older experienced doctors. There is precedent for people like me being accepted. Thanks for taking the time.
 
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