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Quoted: Coming back to residency after several years off

Doodledog

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See below sent to me by PM. I think this is best for aPD to answer.


I am interested in applying to family medicine residency programs and I have been away from medicine for a while. I completed my intern year in a different specialty. In retrospect, I think it was a poor fit from the start between the particular program and me. After intern year, I transferred to a program closer to family/friends. To make a long story short I ultimately decided to reevaluate my commitment to a residency in that particular discipline.

During the time away, I have taught on a few different levels from dyslexic students to adjunct college and graduate courses. I am currently tutoring. I have done volunteer work at an indigent care clinic when time/finances have allowed it. Most of this work was office assistance due to my not having a license or malpractice insurance. I am now ready to restart residency and I am now more committed and focused than ever on this goal.

I have recently taken Step 3, but have to apply for initial licensure. I have had the time to reevaluate my commitment to medicine and most importantly to myself. I have worked too hard towards my goals to be thwarted by adversity, malignant programs, or hostile individuals. I have matured a lot in this time. Unfortunately, these are unquantifiable things. It seems like it would be much easier to have completed some treatment program where I have now been declared okay. The truth is there is no big back store. I have not been treated for any chemical dependency, psychiatric condition, and have not had to deal with the criminal justice system. I am not trying to make light of any of these situations, but after reading many of the questions posted here that simply was not my situation. I fear that I will appear to simply lack dedication and discipline.

I feel that I am one major red flag. My questions involve how to broach the topic of my past residency programs and how to address the issue of the time gap between being in the residency program, taking Step 3, and now my reapplying to residency programs in a different specialty. I do understand that the information will need to be disclosed in any application or personal statement.

A friend suggested that directly contacting programs might be a better option for someone like me rather than attempting to go through the match. On paper, I may not appear to be a strong candidate or may appear to be a risk. It was suggested that I consider visiting programs that I am interested in and meet with the program director and/or resident adviser. I am currently planning to attend conferences as a way of meeting individuals from various programs in order to get my name out there. When should I go into details about the past when meeting someone face to face? Any advice, suggestions, or insight that any of you have to offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for your time.
 

NotAProgDirector

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It sounds like you have a pretty good sense of what your options are.

Much of what comes next depends on the details that are left unsaid. You completed an intern year, then transferred and left that program. There is a big difference between leaving because you didn't like a field, or because you were unsure that you wanted to be in medicine, and failing out of a program because of performance issues.

That being said, it sounds like you're on the right track. FM is one of the least competitive fields. Taking Step 3 and getting a license. Hopefully you are not beyond the 7 year limit, which might make getting a license more difficult. Once you have a license, trying to get some clinical experience. Trying to meet with PD's or other program officials is a good idea, although whether you'll be able to do so at meetings is unclear.

You'll need to convince people that you're serious this time, and that you really want to do FM. Are you? Your PM doesn't really convince me.
 

Doodledog

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From the OP

"I apologize for leaving out pertinent details. I successfully completed the intern year and had the option to remain at the program. At the program that I transferred into, I successfully repeat one of my rotations. Yes, I am definitely serious this time about residency and I look forward to restarting and completing a residency in family medicine.

My interests have always been primary care oriented. As a 4th year student, I narrowed my choices down to primary care specialties in three fields one of which was family medicine. I regret not going into family medicine from the beginning. I am thankful and excited about the possibility of getting a second chance to complete the journey. Thank you for your input."
 

CONFUZZLED_DOC

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I know this thread has been defunct for a couple years but I saw the quote above about the 7 year limit? I'm in a similar situation (have taken step 3, have a license). Am a couple years out, hoping to reapply in a couple years in a primary care field...Would love to verify the 7 year ceiling (and who publishes that rule?)
 
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