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Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by sky2007, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. sky2007

    Apr 11, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Hey all, I matched for a PGY1 position, but for personal reasons i am planning on transferring next year as a PGYII. Does anyone know by when you have to sign the contract for a PGYII at your original institution? Also, if once you begin the application procedure and have to ask you current program to write you a letter, does that mean that you officially dont have a PGYII spot anymore at your original institution? Like basically if you try to apply to another program and dont get in, does that mean you dont have a spot for a PGY II at your original program? In addition, how does this whole transferring thing work? From what i've gathered it seems every program has its own application for PGYII and you pretty much send it in Sept 1. In general if anyone has any good advice for someone wanting to transfer, please let me know. I know these are lots of questions, so thanks everyone in advance=)
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  3. atsai3

    10+ Year Member

    May 15, 2002
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    Fellow [Any Field]
    Varies by program to program, but generally you sign contracts early in the year, e.g., January.

    Pretty much every program has its own method of dealing with PGYII transfers. Some programs, like UW and Stanford, have PGYII spots open every year that are filled through the Match. Other programs have PGYII spots that open up because of other factors. At Duke, for example, a few years ago one of the medicine interns started thinking early on that she wanted to switch into psych, and it just so happened that around the same time one of the psych interns was looking for a back door into the Duke medicine residency. So basically what happened is that they met with their respective program directors (medicine and psych), and then met with the program directors of the other programs (psych and medicine) -- and once the program directors signed off on the switch, they did so. I think the switch happened in January.

    Regardless of how the spots are open, you generally send in your application by September, which is about the time you would apply if applying as a new intern in the regular Match. Although you get interviewed along with the other MSIV's participating in the Match, in many instances you will hear back from the program prior to Match Day. For example, UCSF accepted one of their new PGYII's (a transfer from another psychiatry program) the week before Thanksgiving this past year.

    (If the program fills the PGYII slots through the Match, then you would apply on the Match timetable and you would hear back from the program on the Match timetable.)

    I would recommend that you let your program director know of your intentions fairly early on. From your program director's perspective, losing a resident is a pain in the ass, especially if the wards are resident-dependent; because then s/he will need to find a new resident to cover the quitting resident's duties. High-quality residency programs generally don't have a problem finding new residents to transfer in. But it's kind of like the global market for doctors: the U.S. poaches doctors from Canada and the U.K., Canada and the U.K. poach doctors from South Africa, and so forth. So programs at the bottom of the barrel in terms of quality tend to get the shaft. However, it can be difficult even for top programs to replace a departing PGYII, i.e., a 3-year program will need to find a new PGYIII. For example, Stanford's emergency medicine residency recently lost one of its PGYII's (who transferred out to follow her husband geographically), and they were unable to recruit a resident who would join as a PGYIII -- so last year, all of the PGYIII's had to give up their "research week" (read: under the table vacation week) because the program director needed them to cover the shifts.

    Aside from the obvious reason that you should be a nice person and let your program director know as soon as possible about your intentions to transfer, there is also nothing to be gained by keeping it from your program director. You will have to let her know sooner or later. And besides, most programs will require you to provide a letter from your program director that is at least a letter of good standing ("Dr. So-and-So is a resident in our program and he hasn't been kicked out yet") or better yet is a letter of recommendation ("Dr. So-and-So is a resident in our program and I was sorry to hear that she wanted to transfer out, but I think she would be an asset to your program").

    If you begin the process of applying to transfer, you do not necessarily have to resign your PGYII slot at your original program. Again, that may vary from program to program, but I haven't heard of it happening. But it depends on the timing. One issue that you may encounter is if you are applying for a PGYII transfer spot through the Match, in which case you would receive word about whether you get accepted on Match Day -- which will generally be after the deadline to sign contracts.


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