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Situation question

Discussion in 'Radiology' started by 16sliceCT, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. 16sliceCT


    Mar 21, 2007
    I am a fourth year medical student at an institution in the Midwest. This year I attempted to match into an orthopedic surgery residency program; unfortunately I did not match, and have accepted a preliminary surgery position at another institution in the Midwest (not my home program). I recently completed an elective rotation in diagnostic radiology at my home program and I found it to be a very intriguing profession and a career that I could see myself pursuing in the future.

    Being able to identify anatomy and diagnose patients’ problems using radiographic examinations such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRI is an aspect of orthopedics that I enjoyed a lot. Obviously, this is also one of the many duties that diagnostic radiologists perform; especially those that are fellowship trained in musculoskeletal radiology.

    I know that diagnostic radiology is a tough residency to obtain, but I feel as though I would be a fairly competitive applicant with a Step 1 score of 227, Step 2 of 223, decent grades (not AOA), and good letters of recommendation (none from radiologists). However, I recently met with a radiologist at my home institution to talk about the competitiveness of my application were I to apply to radiology residency programs in next year’s match. This individual was not very positive about my chances of matching into a diagnostic radiology residency program mostly because it would seem like I was applying to diagnostic radiology as a “backup” and that preference would be given to applicants who had wanted to do radiology for longer.

    I was wondering if I could get some opinions on my situation. Would this be the general consensus among diagnostic radiology residency program directors and selection committees, in that, I would be seen as a “less desirable” applicant just because I had previously tried to match into orthopedic surgery, even though, diagnostic radiology is a career that I feel that I would thrive in and enjoy tremendously?

    Your opinions are greatly appreciated.
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  3. hans19

    hans19 I'm back... Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    I don't think your chances will necessarily be hurt because you chose radiology as a back up. Radiology and ortho are similar in competitiveness-- perhaps ortho is a little more competitive. If you feel you weren't competitive for ortho, then you may not be competitive for radiology. On the flip side, I hear that in ortho a lot of weight is placed on your performance during your 'audition' elective, whereas in radiology they don't help all that much. Apply broadly, go to as many interviews as your schedule allows and hope for the best. You were wise to chose a surgery prelim as funding for your radiology years should not be an issue.
  4. phatfarm

    phatfarm Member 5+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2005
    I'm not one to advocate lying but sculpting your application and presenting it differently may make you a more "desirable" applicant.

    Your numbers are good enough for radiology. I suggest trying to find a research project/doing another radiology rotation to secure a LOR for when you apply next year if you are serious about radiology. That way you can demonstrate a committment to the field.

    When interviewing, you can say that you originally wanted to go into orthopaedics but after interviewing and doing your radiology rotation, it was more of what you wanted to do .... etc. You don't have to volunteer that you didn't match into ortho and you should have a good answer if they do ask.

    I think getting into some research now will circumvent all these potential problems. Noone should doubt your sincerity if you are willing to do some research this late into your 4th year. And it will help you when you interview next year if you truly feel ortho is not for you.
  5. hans19

    hans19 I'm back... Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    I personally know 3 originally unmatched ortho people, 2 of which who found open PGY-2 radiology positions during their prelim surgery years. The 3rd found an open PGY-2 position in a great ortho program in the SE. It is possible, but they all had great (240's+) numbers, FWIW.

    Just wondering are you sure you want to give up totally on ortho?

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