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"rural" in your personal statement

redsurgeon

year 4 medical student
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  1. Resident [Any Field]
    At a recruitment fair the other day here where I'm doing an M3 rotation, I mentioned "rural surgery" to the chief of surgery. With not another word from my mouth, he had engineered an exit in just 15 seconds. It left my head spinning.

    Should one avoid this term on the personal statement? Does it imply that one is not a "team player?" Does it expose too much romanticism?

    Thanks for any input, you may send private messages...
     

    robotsonic

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      What exactly happened? Did you say that you wanted to practice surgery in a rural area?

      You said that you told the chief of surgery that you wanted to do rural surgery. The problem may have been your audience - a chief of surgery at an academic center is most likely not someone interested in rural surgery.

      And unless you are only applying to community surgery programs, I would not say in your personal statement that you want to practice "rural surgery." For the people at academic centers, this will sound like you aren't ambitious enough for academics (doesn't matter if this isn't true, to them it may seem that way). If you apply for residency at major academic centers, it's a much better idea to talk about the research you want to do, because that is closer to what they care about.
       

      SocialistMD

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        It depends on the type of programs to which you plan on applying. If you are going for big academic centers, it would be more likely to hurt you than if you are applying to rural-based community or university programs. Most academic centers are interested in training academic surgeons, none of whom are generally considered "rural" surgeons.
         
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        redsurgeon

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          Uh, it was a small community program... What exactly happened? He sort of picked someone out who was an administrator, introduced me to him, then walked away with him... at a recruitment meeting, no less... Essentially I had begun to talk about rural general surgery, stating that I was interested in it. End of conversation.

          Another student there who's interested in ER commented, "What do you expect? He's chief, and you're a medical student. If you want to go into surgery, he can ignore you. Get used to it." Then she laughed. Finally, she commented that he wouldn't remember me, anyway, so I shouldn't worry about it. I'm sure she's right, actually, but still, is it something to avoid on one's PS?
           

          fishmonger69

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            redsurgeon said:
            Uh, it was a small community program... What exactly happened? He sort of picked someone out who was an administrator, introduced me to him, then walked away with him... at a recruitment meeting, no less... Essentially I had begun to talk about rural general surgery, stating that I was interested in it. End of conversation.

            Another student there who's interested in ER commented, "What do you expect? He's chief, and you're a medical student. If you want to go into surgery, he can ignore you. Get used to it." Then she laughed. Finally, she commented that he wouldn't remember me, anyway, so I shouldn't worry about it. I'm sure she's right, actually, but still, is it something to avoid on one's PS?

            my answer would be "yes", avoid that statement at all costs in your personal statement. you aren't trying to get into medical school, so there's reason to spout a bastardization of the "i want to do rural primary care" line.
             

            redsurgeon

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              I agree with you, but it seems somewhat incongruous with two items:

              A) A search on FRIEDA for "general surgery" and "rural track" reveals 9 programs:

              1) Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center Program, Phoenix, Arizona 440-03-22-026
              2) San Joaquin General Hospital Program, French Camp, California 440-05-12-055
              3) Bassett Healthcare Program, Cooperstown, New York 440-35-31-197
              4) New York Medical College at St Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center of New York Program, New York, New York 440-35-21-234
              5) University of North Dakota Program, Grand Forks, North Dakota 440-37-21-379
              6) University of Oklahoma College of Medicine-Tulsa Program, Tulsa, Oklahoma 440-39-21-274
              7) Drexel University College of Medicine/Hahnemann University Hospital Program, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 440-41-21-295
              8) University of Tennessee College of Medicine at Chattanooga Program, Chattanooga, Tennessee 440-47-11-320
              9) Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation Program, La Crosse, Wisconsin 440-56-12-354


              B) A recent speaker from the committee which decides what's going to happen with surgery programs in light of the 80-hour restrictions (besides proposing getting rid of vascular and plastics fellowships and making them 5-year programs) stated "Rural general surgery is the future of general surgery" because of the fragmentation of surgery into so many specialist fields.

              I might add to the contrary, however, that after the talk, I mentioned rural general surgery to him and got a similar kind of blow-off response from him. But he's a busy fellow, I figured, and it wasn't recruitment day, and I am just a peon third year medical student...

              Could one use different personal statements for different programs? Does ERAS support this?
               

              fishmonger69

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                redsurgeon said:
                Could one use different personal statements for different programs? Does ERAS support this?

                yes. in fact, i had a different personal statement for each program i applied to (26 total). just be sure to organize each one correctly; you don't want to send the WashU statement to U.Chicago
                 

                robotsonic

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                  fishmonger69 said:
                  yes. in fact, i had a different personal statement for each program i applied to (26 total).

                  Wow. How did you do this? Did you really do 26 personalized personal statements, or did you just modify one statement (...and that is why my ideal program is <insert name here>...)? If you actually did 26 different ones, I'm really impressed. That's dedication.

                  I just wrote one statement and sent it to all of the programs.
                   

                  Roux-en-Y

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                    fishmonger69 said:
                    yes. in fact, i had a different personal statement for each program i applied to (26 total). just be sure to organize each one correctly; you don't want to send the WashU statement to U.Chicago

                    :eek:
                    Certainly, you must be in the minority of applicants doing that!

                    Personally, I wouldn't think it worth the effort-
                     
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