It's not a tumor!

2+ Year Member
Aug 26, 2016
8
9
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Hey y'all,
I'm currently a 2nd year OBGYN resident, however I've come to realize that OBGYN doesn't fit me. I've decided that I will pursue my original goals and will be applying to PM&R residencies this cycle. However, the whole process seems daunting and I was hoping that there was someone here who has done what I'll be attempting and could give me some incite into their experience. What concerns me most is that I might not be the strongest candidate to begin with and on top of that, I'm switching residencies. Thanks.
 

RangerBob

7+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2012
1,341
1,143
Status
Attending Physician
I applied straight to PM&R, so unfortunately I'm not someone who has gone through exactly what you're going through, but hopefully my advice may help.

The first thing to keep in mind is switching into PM&R is tough--there usually aren't many R (I think they're called R...) positions open (PGY2 positions open for the upcoming year, so that you wouldn't need to take a break between years). Thew few people I knew who switched into PM&R applied to every R position as well as tons of the normal advanced positions that are a year delayed, as well as come categorical (which would start right away as well, but you'd be re-doing an intern year and then start the PM&R part of your residency a year later).

That brings up another point--I believe a year in OB-Gyn does meet the criteria for internship for many PM&R programs, as I remember when I applied some programs specifically mentioned it did, but it's possible not all programs will accept it. My guess there is that the Board accepts it and some programs just want you to stick with the traditional pre-lim IM/surg/peds/TY programs. So you'll want to ask each program you apply to what their take is.

Interviewing for residency positions while you're a resident tough--you will need to take vacation time, and it can be hard to squeeze everything together. You'll need to be on a relaxed rotation(s) in that allows vacation time (you may need to use all your vacation on the same rotation if they allow it), and you'll probably want to save all your vacation time for interviews.

If you really don't think you're the strongest candidate, then you'll want to apply very broadly (maybe every program), and interview at as many as possible. If you're truly a poor candidate and just want to get out of OB-Gyn, you may want to apply to other specialties as well--PM&R isn't competitive by stats, but it is by number of applicants compared to the number of positions, as we're a very small field.

Keep in mind that if you're really set on applying to PM&R, you'll need a letter of recommendation from your current program director and have told them about your plan to change, in which case they will likely not renew your contract and you won't have your current residency to fall back on if PM&R doesn't work out.

I'm assuming at this point you've thought long and hard already about why you're not happy with OB-Gyn. If not and this is something you just started thinking about, just make sure that it's truly the field of OB-Gyn that isn't a good fit, rather than being unhappy due to your current PD, residency hours, current call burden, your specific program, etc.

I'm extremely happy, but very now and then I do wonder if I chose the right specialty--personally I was also really interested in psych. Then I come back to work and remember that while I probably would've been quite happy in psych, I'm even happier in PM&R. I'm a firm believer in regularly reflecting on your situation in life, and that means questioning some of the biggest decisions you make (like was medicine even the right choice)--if you never ask yourself these questions then you rob yourself of reinforcing the reason you made that decision in the first place and why it was the right choice. If you find yourself very often asking yourself if you made the right choice, then it's a possible sign you made the wrong choice, but it could also just going mean you're going through a rough time, in which case you need that reflection to help your resolve in more difficult times (like residency). And occasionally, upon reflecting, you realize you simply made the wrong choice for your happiness. We're human beings, and we try our best to make the right decisions, and we also try our best to turn the less right or wrong decision into the right one when possible (we're quite adaptable, and people in the worst of circumstances can still learn to be happy since it's a mindset, though being in the ideal situation obviously helps!)

The grass will be greener on the other side if OB-Gyn truly isn't the right field for you. We're talking about the rest of your life, so if OB-Gyn isn't the right fit and PM&R is, go for PM&R with everything you've got.
 
OP
I

It's not a tumor!

2+ Year Member
Aug 26, 2016
8
9
Status
Resident [Any Field]
How did it work out for the people you knew who switched? I'm planning on applying to every program, but you're right, I'm worried about having time to go on interviews (if i get any at all). I figure that I'll need to go on every interview I can, but that means that the other people in my residency will have to pick up the slack for me. I've also thought about what I would do if I don't match, and honestly, I'm not really sure yet. I've though a lot about whether I don't like OBGYN anymore or if I'm just burnt out and if I'm honest with myself, then it's because I don't like OBGYN. I'm really beating myself up because I wish I would have just picked PM&R to begin with. Now I've put myself in a position where it's uncertain that I may have any residency at the end of this.
 

RangerBob

7+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2012
1,341
1,143
Status
Attending Physician
How did it work out for the people you knew who switched? I'm planning on applying to every program, but you're right, I'm worried about having time to go on interviews (if i get any at all). I figure that I'll need to go on every interview I can, but that means that the other people in my residency will have to pick up the slack for me. I've also thought about what I would do if I don't match, and honestly, I'm not really sure yet. I've though a lot about whether I don't like OBGYN anymore or if I'm just burnt out and if I'm honest with myself, then it's because I don't like OBGYN. I'm really beating myself up because I wish I would have just picked PM&R to begin with. Now I've put myself in a position where it's uncertain that I may have any residency at the end of this.
I'm not sure how they handled interviews. That will be tough though, but if you're program director is supportive and you can be scheduled on a rotation that isn't resident-dependent (like some specific electives) then that would obviously help. Ideally you'd interview at 8-13 programs. 8 was the "magic number" back when I applied, and current medical students tell me it's a bit higher now. If you have to apply for pre-lims that would make life even tougher, which is why it'd be ideal to clarify if your first year of OB will count.

If you can't match into PM&R, assuming you applied broadly (possibly everywhere) and interviewed at every program you got an interview, I think the question to ask yourself is would you prefer to then SOAP into a non-competitive specialty or to leave medicine altogether.

How are your Step/Comlex scores? How about clinical grades? Have you done a PM&R rotation? And have you been performing well at your current program? Programs will want letters from your residency attendings, and maybe one from a physiatrist you've worked with (med school or residency)
 
OP
I

It's not a tumor!

2+ Year Member
Aug 26, 2016
8
9
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I don't look forward to having to try and schedule interviews.

I'm not the ideal candidate on paper unfortunately.
-Average grades (can't remember my GPA)
-Re-mediated my 1st year of medical school but passed everything after that
-Step 1: 205 Step 2: 223 Step 3: 215
-No PM&R clinical rotations
-I've talked to a physiatrist I know in town who knows my story that would be willing to write me a letter
-I was president of the PM&R student interest group in med school
-I'm performing well in my current program

Like I said, on paper, if I'm honest, I look pretty terrible. However, I'm a hard worker, I have a sincere interest in the field and I'm a good team player and I think that if I can get interviews, people will realize that. That's my hope at least.

I appreciate your input.
 

RangerBob

7+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2012
1,341
1,143
Status
Attending Physician
Your remediation of 1st year, Step 1 score, and lack of PM&R rotation will definitely make this a lot harder. You will have to make a very compelling story for "why PM&R?" as you haven't done a rotation in the field. Certainly if you were an M4 that would essentially be a requirement to match into PM&R--I don't know if/how being a residency-changer changes that. If you're in good standing currently that will help a lot, as it shows you're a good resident, but to be honest I don't have a good idea of how much of an uphill battle those other issues will create.

If you do apply to PM&R, I'd definitely recommend applying to every program. The problem is I don't know if your odds of matching are good/fair if you apply to every single program, or if they're near zero. You won't know if you don't apply--the problem is if you do apply to PM&R it means you've given up your OB position. Are there any other fields you can apply to as a back-up to PM&R that you'd still prefer over OB? IM, FM, psych? I'd hate for you to lose your current spot and not match into anything.

Two weeks isn't much time to get support and letters of recommendation, so I'm not sure applying for the upcoming cycle is the best idea. You really want to apply with the strongest hand you can get, which means submitting everything on day 1 when ERAS opens (mid-September, I believe--but it'd be worth double-checking). And it means having very strong letters of recommendation--that may be hard to get if you drop the bomb on your PD and mentors and give them two weeks. It may be wiser to wait to apply next year, when your a third-year resident, but then honestly you may as well wait one more year so you could finish your OB residency and then switch...

I think it would be worth reaching out to your mentor and some of the administration at your medical school for advice (especially if they have a PM&R department). Hopefully some others with more experience than me can chime in here as well.
 
Mar 16, 2016
319
88
Hey y'all,
I'm currently a 2nd year OBGYN resident, however I've come to realize that OBGYN doesn't fit me. I've decided that I will pursue my original goals and will be applying to PM&R residencies this cycle. However, the whole process seems daunting and I was hoping that there was someone here who has done what I'll be attempting and could give me some incite into their experience. What concerns me most is that I might not be the strongest candidate to begin with and on top of that, I'm switching residencies. Thanks.
I switched! I'll PM you later on in the week once my schedule settles down.
 
OP
I

It's not a tumor!

2+ Year Member
Aug 26, 2016
8
9
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I switched! I'll PM you later on in the week once my schedule settles down.
Thank you so much! I'm starting to freak out because I haven't been able to talk to a PD about my situation (hopefully having a meeting Wednesday). The more I look into the process, the bleaker it looks. Any help would be appreciated.
 

RM38

7+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2011
140
95
Southeast
Status
Attending Physician
I switched from gen surg to PM&R and was lucky enough to get one of the few/only advanced spots available when I did. I was glad I switched and am much happier as a PM&R resident and now as a pain fellow than I ever was as a gen surg resident. Switching fields is a very scary proposition as you are don't have any certain outcomes available for the future, but you have to just go for it. You have already identified you want to switch and given yourself plenty of time to apply and get things in order which is good. I waited until February, so I really thought I was screwed. The next step is you need to tell you PD if you have not already, because programs will want letters from them showing support for you. If you try and be secretive about leaving, programs will see that and it will send up a much bigger red flag than anything that you may have from your past. Agree with applying very broadly. Yes its expensive, but worth it if that is what you want. PM&R can be a little more forgiving than many other fields, especially if you have a good track record as a resident from another field. My intern year in surgery worked, but brush up on your IM, because PM&R inpatient has a lot of that if you are not at a place with good hospitalist coverage. Also look at residency swap or other sites with open programs listed as you may be able to find an advanced spot not available in the match. People don't leave PM&R often, but it does happen and some of those places look to add residents to already matched incoming classes. Also I did not do a PM&R rotation and pretty much had no idea WTF I was doing when I started. I had to youtube what an EMG was before I started the rotation as a PGY-2 because I had no clue what was about to happen. I wound up doing pretty well and am in a competitive fellowship. You can do it, and if you want to switch, do it now. Don't waste your time in another field and delay becoming an attending an additional year. It will cost you over 100K, and also since you will use another year of your funding up, may make programs a little more gun shy about taking you. Try and get a PM&R, sports, neurology or similar letter if you can as it will only help. You do have some activities from med school that will draw interest. You will get some interviews at places I am sure, but remember to save your PTO because you will need it to go on interviews instead of vacation. I had to do that for fellowship this last year and it sucked to burn up so much of that on interviews which aren't really vacation, but it is what is. Also be prepared to take some unfavorable call as you may have to beg/plead with people to get off when you need to. I did it and hated it at the time, but don't regret it now. Good luck.
 

padresp

10+ Year Member
Jun 6, 2006
98
14
40
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
Agree with most of what's been written. One thing I'll add - think about it from the program's point of view. They will see an applicant with average scores, no PM&R clinical rotations, who left they're program after a year. In their minds, there will be red flags - remediated first year of med school and changing residencies after a year. This does not make it insurmountable, though - you just have to address these shortcomings in any way possible.
  1. Prove why PM&R is the field for you (as opposed to why OB/GYN is not). A PD will want to know that you're not just choosing an "easier" specialty. Prove that PM&R is your passion, not that it's the lesser of all evils.
  2. Prove that you have been doing an awesome job in your current residency, and that as much as you'd like to enjoy it, it's not your thing. Spin = positive, not negative.
  3. Sell your remediation as "I'm not a quitter." Prove to the PD that you're not someone who backs down from a challenge. The PD does not want someone who will quit their program in a year.
  4. Explain why you didn't do PM&R from the beginning. "I didn't have access to it" during med school is valid, but isn't enough of an explanation. If you say, "I really thought OB/GYN was for me, although PM&R was second on my list," that (at least to me) would be more of an appropriate response.
  5. Make your application spotless - no grammatical errors, professional picture, spell-checked. Don't give the PDs any other reasons to dismiss you.
  6. Don't wait until the last minute to apply. Even though circumstances may cause this to happen, it often appears that the applicant just didn't have their act together enough to turn it in early.
Hope that those help! I think all of us have met many people who switched over to PM&R from other fields, so it's very possible.
 
OP
I

It's not a tumor!

2+ Year Member
Aug 26, 2016
8
9
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Thanks for the advice everyone. Just to update, my mentor wrote me what I think is a very strong letter, so I'm a little more hopeful of my chances of getting interviews. It's made me feel a little better about what I'm trying to do. Now I'm just trying to get the courage to break the news to my PD. As always, any advice is appreciated.
 
OP
I

It's not a tumor!

2+ Year Member
Aug 26, 2016
8
9
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Hi everyone. Now that Match Week is here, I thought I would make a post about my experience for anyone thinking about doing what I did.

Shortly after my last post, I ended up telling my PD about my intentions to switch. It was one of the hardest conversations that I have ever had but he was very supportive and agreed to write me a letter. Shortly after, I told the chair of the department and again, he was very supportive and agreed to write me a letter. I got a lot of good feedback along the interview trail pertaining to those letters so I have to believe that my good standing with my program was a huge factor in obtaining interviews. The last LOR I obtained was from a neurologist that I rotated with from my third year of medical school. Telling my co-residents was also a hard process but it was important that I told them early because I ended up asking a lot of them.

In the midst of all this, I had been slowly working on my application because I knew I was under a time crunch. Luckily, I had saved a copy of my OBGYN application so the hardest part was making a personal statement in a short amount of time. However, I was able to make a solid personal statement that conveyed my story well. I made sure to address the two glaring parts of my application: my year one remediation in medical school and my decision to switch residencies. With a lot of work, I was able to complete my application in time to submit on the opening day in September. From input received in this forum along with my mentors, I decided to apply to all the PM&R programs participating in The Match. I had signed up for the AAMC "FindAResident" website, which is where residencies can post open positions. I was able to find one 2nd year position through this as well as an open radiology position. I applied to the radiology position on a whim because it was in my home town. I didn't get the spot. I did not apply to any other specialties as a back up. I couldn't think of anything else I wanted to do at the time so I decided that I would take my chances in the SOAP if it came down to it. In total, I applied to approximately 80 PM&R programs and 33 Prelim positions. It was expensive.

The next few weeks of waiting were nerve wracking. I didn't start getting interviews until about four weeks after I submitted my application. However in October they slowly started to trickle in. It was kind of dismaying to see just how many interviews some people were getting compared to what I had, but the trickle continued and I slowly became more comfortable with the number I received. In total, I received interviews from 8 PM&R programs and 5 Prelim IM programs . Four of those programs offered me second year positions starting next year. I'm glad I applied broadly because most of the interviews I received were from programs I would have never applied to otherwise. The entire interview process was much less enjoyable the second time around. I used most of my vacation time and had to ask/beg for a lot of favors from other residents. However, I ended up going to every interview I received. Most of the interviews went well. Everyone wanted to know my motivations for switching. Some were more skeptical than others. Often times, they heard "OBGYN" and didn't need an in depth explanation of why I was switching. I was always asked if I had done a PM&R rotation. I always answered that I had not. Luckily, while I never did a formal rotation, I participated heavily in the SIG at my school and had shadowing experience including this year. A big problem I ran into along the interview trail was that most of the programs that I interviewed at seemed to have differing opinions on whether or not my 2 years of OBGYN would count towards a 1st year. A lot seemed to think that it would not be adequate. However, according to the ACGME, 6 months of the first year must include time in either ER, family, IM, OBGYN, peds or surgery. So eventually I cleared this up and all the programs said that my time would count as a 1st year. However, I didn't find this out till after my interviews so I still ended up going on the Prelim interviews. In total, my rank list had 12 positions on it as I applied for multiple positions in some programs. Waiting for yesterday was miserable, as I felt that there was a strong possibility that I would not match. However, I matched!

It's been such a relief knowing that I didn't do all of this in vain. Now I'm just curious to see whether or not I matched into a 2nd year position for next year. If I could have done anything in this process differently (besides picking the correct specialty the first time around) I would have pursued the issue of what counts towards first year credit. Not going on Prelim interviews would have saved me time and money. Although it did make me nervous not adding a supplement application to advanced positions. This process is not something I would wish for anyone to have to do however I can't say I regret a lot. I've gained a lot of experience and made a lot of friends. I guess my biggest advice for anyone thinking about doing this would be to 1) Decide as early as possible. You'll need time to gather letters and plan. 2) Tell your program as early as possible. You'll need letters from them and you'll be asking for lots of favors. 3) Get as much exposure to the field as possible to get a good letter 4) Submit your application on time 5) Apply broadly 6) Make every effort possible to go on all your interviews. If anyone thinking about making the switch has any questions, just let me know! Thanks for everyone's help!
 

RangerBob

7+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2012
1,341
1,143
Status
Attending Physician
Congratulations! It's always great to hear a success story.
 

cameroncarter

7+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2011
59
10
Status
Medical Student
Hi everyone. Now that Match Week is here, I thought I would make a post about my experience for anyone thinking about doing what I did.

Shortly after my last post, I ended up telling my PD about my intentions to switch. It was one of the hardest conversations that I have ever had but he was very supportive and agreed to write me a letter. Shortly after, I told the chair of the department and again, he was very supportive and agreed to write me a letter. I got a lot of good feedback along the interview trail pertaining to those letters so I have to believe that my good standing with my program was a huge factor in obtaining interviews. The last LOR I obtained was from a neurologist that I rotated with from my third year of medical school. Telling my co-residents was also a hard process but it was important that I told them early because I ended up asking a lot of them.

In the midst of all this, I had been slowly working on my application because I knew I was under a time crunch. Luckily, I had saved a copy of my OBGYN application so the hardest part was making a personal statement in a short amount of time. However, I was able to make a solid personal statement that conveyed my story well. I made sure to address the two glaring parts of my application: my year one remediation in medical school and my decision to switch residencies. With a lot of work, I was able to complete my application in time to submit on the opening day in September. From input received in this forum along with my mentors, I decided to apply to all the PM&R programs participating in The Match. I had signed up for the AAMC "FindAResident" website, which is where residencies can post open positions. I was able to find one 2nd year position through this as well as an open radiology position. I applied to the radiology position on a whim because it was in my home town. I didn't get the spot. I did not apply to any other specialties as a back up. I couldn't think of anything else I wanted to do at the time so I decided that I would take my chances in the SOAP if it came down to it. In total, I applied to approximately 80 PM&R programs and 33 Prelim positions. It was expensive.

The next few weeks of waiting were nerve wracking. I didn't start getting interviews until about four weeks after I submitted my application. However in October they slowly started to trickle in. It was kind of dismaying to see just how many interviews some people were getting compared to what I had, but the trickle continued and I slowly became more comfortable with the number I received. In total, I received interviews from 8 PM&R programs and 5 Prelim IM programs . Four of those programs offered me second year positions starting next year. I'm glad I applied broadly because most of the interviews I received were from programs I would have never applied to otherwise. The entire interview process was much less enjoyable the second time around. I used most of my vacation time and had to ask/beg for a lot of favors from other residents. However, I ended up going to every interview I received. Most of the interviews went well. Everyone wanted to know my motivations for switching. Some were more skeptical than others. Often times, they heard "OBGYN" and didn't need an in depth explanation of why I was switching. I was always asked if I had done a PM&R rotation. I always answered that I had not. Luckily, while I never did a formal rotation, I participated heavily in the SIG at my school and had shadowing experience including this year. A big problem I ran into along the interview trail was that most of the programs that I interviewed at seemed to have differing opinions on whether or not my 2 years of OBGYN would count towards a 1st year. A lot seemed to think that it would not be adequate. However, according to the ACGME, 6 months of the first year must include time in either ER, family, IM, OBGYN, peds or surgery. So eventually I cleared this up and all the programs said that my time would count as a 1st year. However, I didn't find this out till after my interviews so I still ended up going on the Prelim interviews. In total, my rank list had 12 positions on it as I applied for multiple positions in some programs. Waiting for yesterday was miserable, as I felt that there was a strong possibility that I would not match. However, I matched!

It's been such a relief knowing that I didn't do all of this in vain. Now I'm just curious to see whether or not I matched into a 2nd year position for next year. If I could have done anything in this process differently (besides picking the correct specialty the first time around) I would have pursued the issue of what counts towards first year credit. Not going on Prelim interviews would have saved me time and money. Although it did make me nervous not adding a supplement application to advanced positions. This process is not something I would wish for anyone to have to do however I can't say I regret a lot. I've gained a lot of experience and made a lot of friends. I guess my biggest advice for anyone thinking about doing this would be to 1) Decide as early as possible. You'll need time to gather letters and plan. 2) Tell your program as early as possible. You'll need letters from them and you'll be asking for lots of favors. 3) Get as much exposure to the field as possible to get a good letter 4) Submit your application on time 5) Apply broadly 6) Make every effort possible to go on all your interviews. If anyone thinking about making the switch has any questions, just let me know! Thanks for everyone's help!
Congrats! That's incredible. When I first read your post, I was so skeptical you could match since you had so many red flags.

I'm curious- in a weird way, do you think your capacity to enter as a PGY2 improved your stock to some programs? I know there are a few "physician" spots, but I'm assuming the applicant pool would be fairly small also?
 

lejeunesage

7+ Year Member
Jan 7, 2010
538
59
Status
Attending Physician
Hi everyone. Now that Match Week is here, I thought I would make a post about my experience for anyone thinking about doing what I did.

Shortly after my last post, I ended up telling my PD about my intentions to switch. It was one of the hardest conversations that I have ever had but he was very supportive and agreed to write me a letter. Shortly after, I told the chair of the department and again, he was very supportive and agreed to write me a letter. I got a lot of good feedback along the interview trail pertaining to those letters so I have to believe that my good standing with my program was a huge factor in obtaining interviews. The last LOR I obtained was from a neurologist that I rotated with from my third year of medical school. Telling my co-residents was also a hard process but it was important that I told them early because I ended up asking a lot of them.

In the midst of all this, I had been slowly working on my application because I knew I was under a time crunch. Luckily, I had saved a copy of my OBGYN application so the hardest part was making a personal statement in a short amount of time. However, I was able to make a solid personal statement that conveyed my story well. I made sure to address the two glaring parts of my application: my year one remediation in medical school and my decision to switch residencies. With a lot of work, I was able to complete my application in time to submit on the opening day in September. From input received in this forum along with my mentors, I decided to apply to all the PM&R programs participating in The Match. I had signed up for the AAMC "FindAResident" website, which is where residencies can post open positions. I was able to find one 2nd year position through this as well as an open radiology position. I applied to the radiology position on a whim because it was in my home town. I didn't get the spot. I did not apply to any other specialties as a back up. I couldn't think of anything else I wanted to do at the time so I decided that I would take my chances in the SOAP if it came down to it. In total, I applied to approximately 80 PM&R programs and 33 Prelim positions. It was expensive.

The next few weeks of waiting were nerve wracking. I didn't start getting interviews until about four weeks after I submitted my application. However in October they slowly started to trickle in. It was kind of dismaying to see just how many interviews some people were getting compared to what I had, but the trickle continued and I slowly became more comfortable with the number I received. In total, I received interviews from 8 PM&R programs and 5 Prelim IM programs . Four of those programs offered me second year positions starting next year. I'm glad I applied broadly because most of the interviews I received were from programs I would have never applied to otherwise. The entire interview process was much less enjoyable the second time around. I used most of my vacation time and had to ask/beg for a lot of favors from other residents. However, I ended up going to every interview I received. Most of the interviews went well. Everyone wanted to know my motivations for switching. Some were more skeptical than others. Often times, they heard "OBGYN" and didn't need an in depth explanation of why I was switching. I was always asked if I had done a PM&R rotation. I always answered that I had not. Luckily, while I never did a formal rotation, I participated heavily in the SIG at my school and had shadowing experience including this year. A big problem I ran into along the interview trail was that most of the programs that I interviewed at seemed to have differing opinions on whether or not my 2 years of OBGYN would count towards a 1st year. A lot seemed to think that it would not be adequate. However, according to the ACGME, 6 months of the first year must include time in either ER, family, IM, OBGYN, peds or surgery. So eventually I cleared this up and all the programs said that my time would count as a 1st year. However, I didn't find this out till after my interviews so I still ended up going on the Prelim interviews. In total, my rank list had 12 positions on it as I applied for multiple positions in some programs. Waiting for yesterday was miserable, as I felt that there was a strong possibility that I would not match. However, I matched!

It's been such a relief knowing that I didn't do all of this in vain. Now I'm just curious to see whether or not I matched into a 2nd year position for next year. If I could have done anything in this process differently (besides picking the correct specialty the first time around) I would have pursued the issue of what counts towards first year credit. Not going on Prelim interviews would have saved me time and money. Although it did make me nervous not adding a supplement application to advanced positions. This process is not something I would wish for anyone to have to do however I can't say I regret a lot. I've gained a lot of experience and made a lot of friends. I guess my biggest advice for anyone thinking about doing this would be to 1) Decide as early as possible. You'll need time to gather letters and plan. 2) Tell your program as early as possible. You'll need letters from them and you'll be asking for lots of favors. 3) Get as much exposure to the field as possible to get a good letter 4) Submit your application on time 5) Apply broadly 6) Make every effort possible to go on all your interviews. If anyone thinking about making the switch has any questions, just let me know! Thanks for everyone's help!
Wow, good for you! Congrats!
 
OP
I

It's not a tumor!

2+ Year Member
Aug 26, 2016
8
9
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Congrats! That's incredible. When I first read your post, I was so skeptical you could match since you had so many red flags.

I'm curious- in a weird way, do you think your capacity to enter as a PGY2 improved your stock to some programs? I know there are a few "physician" spots, but I'm assuming the applicant pool would be fairly small also?
I think being capable of filling a PGY2 spot definitely helped. However, there were only a handful of physician spots offered and while I don't know how many people interviewed for them, the pool was competitive. I ran into a lot of people going from ortho and general surgery and that made me pretty nervous.
 
Jan 7, 2018
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I switched from gen surg to PM&R and was lucky enough to get one of the few/only advanced spots available when I did. I was glad I switched and am much happier as a PM&R resident and now as a pain fellow than I ever was as a gen surg resident. Switching fields is a very scary proposition as you are don't have any certain outcomes available for the future, but you have to just go for it. You have already identified you want to switch and given yourself plenty of time to apply and get things in order which is good. I waited until February, so I really thought I was screwed. The next step is you need to tell you PD if you have not already, because programs will want letters from them showing support for you. If you try and be secretive about leaving, programs will see that and it will send up a much bigger red flag than anything that you may have from your past. Agree with applying very broadly. Yes its expensive, but worth it if that is what you want. PM&R can be a little more forgiving than many other fields, especially if you have a good track record as a resident from another field. My intern year in surgery worked, but brush up on your IM, because PM&R inpatient has a lot of that if you are not at a place with good hospitalist coverage. Also look at residency swap or other sites with open programs listed as you may be able to find an advanced spot not available in the match. People don't leave PM&R often, but it does happen and some of those places look to add residents to already matched incoming classes. Also I did not do a PM&R rotation and pretty much had no idea WTF I was doing when I started. I had to youtube what an EMG was before I started the rotation as a PGY-2 because I had no clue what was about to happen. I wound up doing pretty well and am in a competitive fellowship. You can do it, and if you want to switch, do it now. Don't waste your time in another field and delay becoming an attending an additional year. It will cost you over 100K, and also since you will use another year of your funding up, may make programs a little more gun shy about taking you. Try and get a PM&R, sports, neurology or similar letter if you can as it will only help. You do have some activities from med school that will draw interest. You will get some interviews at places I am sure, but remember to save your PTO because you will need it to go on interviews instead of vacation. I had to do that for fellowship this last year and it sucked to burn up so much of that on interviews which aren't really vacation, but it is what is. Also be prepared to take some unfavorable call as you may have to beg/plead with people to get off when you need to. I did it and hated it at the time, but don't regret it now. Good luck.
Hey, I was wondering if I could speak to you about your switch. My girlfriend is half way through her surgery intern year and hates it. She’s just submitted her letter of intent to switch to her program and I wanted to know if maybe you’d be willing to answer some questions she had about the process? Thank you.
 
Feb 15, 2018
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Status
Resident [Any Field]
I think being capable of filling a PGY2 spot definitely helped. However, there were only a handful of physician spots offered and while I don't know how many people interviewed for them, the pool was competitive. I ran into a lot of people going from ortho and general surgery and that made me pretty nervous.
Hey... I am in the process of a switch. Considering OBGYN to PM&R or EM. Need advice as I am on a time crunch. Thank you.