Mar 19, 2010
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So I matched into my last program...
Crushed, but deciding to move on and give intern year a shot.
I've heard of residents applying for different specialties through ERAS the next year with the help of their PD's and such.
Question is, could the same be done within the same specialty but switching to a different program?
 

atsai3

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So I matched into my last program...
Crushed, but deciding to move on and give intern year a shot.
I've heard of residents applying for different specialties through ERAS the next year with the help of their PD's and such.
Question is, could the same be done within the same specialty but switching to a different program?
Yes. This topic has been addressed several times in the SDN forums. (Do a search for "transfer".)

Short answer:
1. start looking around now for programs that have formal PGY2 openings (not many do)
2. during the fall of your intern year, start calling around to programs inquiring about anticipated PGY2 openings
3. tell your program director you intend to apply to transfer out. There is no way around this. In a perfectly risk free world, you would not have to notify your program director until after you've successfully secured a transfer position. But you need your program director to write you a letter of recommendation, or at the very least confirm your good standing in the program. This might piss off your program director, but if you want to transfer this is a risk you're going to have to take.
4. most programs interview for open PGY2 positions at the same time as the Match interviews. this can be hard to arrange if you are Q3 in the ICU, so try to schedule your rotations judiciously.
5. programs make PGY2 offers with variable timing. Best case, you get a reply before January (which is typically around the time when PGY1's sign their PGY2 contracts). however, some programs do not make offers until later, i.e., February or March. this puts you in a potentially nightmare situation of declining to re-sign to your home institution, having your transfer application ultimately rejected elsewhere, and then crawling on your knees to your home program director only to find out that she has recruited a PGY1 from another program to take your spot as a transfer PGY2.

As you can see, there is risk at multiple points. Because medical school tends to select for conservative, risk-averse students, not many people transfer. You just have to decide for yourself whether it's worth the risk.

-AT.