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Unmatched in surgery

Discussion in 'Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties' started by wannabe_surgeon, Apr 26, 2004.

  1. Unmatched for categorical surgery, I'm doing a prelim year at my institution. I'd appreciate any words of wisdom towards improving my application (aside from letters) to get me a great position (R1 or R2) next year. --Thanks
     
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  3. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    Do you have any information/inklings about why you didn't match? Do you suspect one of your letters was less than stellar, did you not apply to a wide range of programs, etc.?

    Without knowing the above its difficult to advise you, but in general, think of your Prelim year as a year-long job interview. Assuming you have a Categorical track there, if you do well, I can hardly imagine them not considering you at LEAST for an R-1 position, if not an R-2 (easier to do at programs with people going in and out of the lab).

    Some words of wisdom (in general for any resident):

    - act interested...even if you aren't
    - arrive early, stay late
    - volunteer to do things (ie, get films, do that line, etc.)
    - at the same time, don't "steal" procedures from your fellow interns or higher ups, but be eager to learn
    - be "useful"; know the results of the consult you called in, current labs, have an extra pen when your Chief forgets his, etc.
     
  4. Foxxy Cleopatra

    Foxxy Cleopatra Surgery Resident
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    I agree totally with what Kimberli said- they probably will make a spot for you if you work hard and they like you. Only thing I could add to that is do well on the ABSITE.

    Don't feel too bad about it- this may end up being a better situation than it seems now.

    I have a theory about this year (I have shared this with a friend of mine that will be doing exactly what you are doing this upcoming year)- the applicant pool was up much higher because of the "80-hr workweek." In other words, many people applied and have categorical spots that would not have applied had "80 hours" not been proposed.

    Yes, some places have fairly easy schedules, but many out there are still worlds away from being lifestyle-friendly. Therefore, I think there is going to be a rude awakening for some of those who have based their decision to enter surgery solely on a percieved improved lifestyle.

    Surgery has traditionally had a high attrition rate (some programs will openly admit that they almost always graduate with one less than they started.) Long story short, I think that if things do not work out at your home institution and you still want a categorical spot, there will probably be quite a few out there by this time next year.

    You also could keep an eye on http://www.apds.org for available positions and apply if one comes up you want.

    A good friend of mine didn't match in ortho last year, took a prelim surg spot at home (after being told that they would hold an ortho spot for her the next year.) She frequently touched base with the program director throughout the year, but it became clear to her that the spot was not a guarantee so she started e-mailing her CV to ortho programs throughout the country, as well as re-applying through ERAS. Sure enough, someone liked it
    and offered her a spot at their institution. I thought it was a great idea and am happy for her that it worked out, as now she's almost ready to move there and start ortho like she has wanted to all along.

    Good luck- I realize this is not anyone's pick of situation but hopefully it'll work out well.

    -F.C.
     
  5. apma77

    apma77 Senior Member
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    look at it as a good thing that you didnt match categorical,,,now u have your options open to apply for other specialties thatll have a much better lifestyle and alot higher pay aka rads, anesthesia
     
  6. j_sde

    j_sde Member
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    dont mean to hijack this thread... but i have a question i wonder if anyone could help... a little bit related.

    i'm torn right now between doin surgery and radiology... i know they are very different fields, but i just have geniune interest in both. i'm leanin towards radiology now, only because of the lifestyle assoc with it and similarly the lifestyle against surgery.

    however.... is it possible /has it ever been done... where i match into radiology and take the prelim year in surgery...... and if i really decide i like it and need to do it... can i drop my radiology spot at the hospital and perhaps pick up a surgery categorical spot at the same place?

    thanks
     
  7. aboo-ali-sina

    aboo-ali-sina Member
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    I know of several people who did radiology but for their prelim year did surgery. So that is possible

    About getting a spot in surgery, that is entirely dependant on availability
     
  8. j_sde

    j_sde Member
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    i know its possible to do a prelim in surgery for radiology....

    but my question i guess was more geared towards the chance of switching from that prelim surgery to a categorical surgery given
    1.) i had already matched into a radiology residency, so the complexity of changing residencies
    2.) the likelihood of being able to switch into the surgery categorical...

    do programs ever 'create' , open up new spots into their surgery PG2 categorical program? Are they more inclined to do this if I am already at their instutition and if they like my performance as a prelim? Or will it require me to drop my radiology spot and re-enter with no promises to apply ERAS surgery?


    thanks
     
  9. aboo-ali-sina

    aboo-ali-sina Member
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    it is very difficult to "create a spot" for someone. You can't literally do that.

    Your best bet is to go to a large academic program which has people in and out of the lab, therefore, will have the best chance of getting a categorical spot.

    To illustrate how this is done, I will use the example of an IMG I knew who was a prelim.

    He started PGY-1 prelim. he was there until PGY-3 as a prelim (which is the last year the ACGME allows you to be a prelim before you either have to change residency or be converted to a categorical). Then his options were to get a categorical sport (PGY 1-4) somewhere else or at his home institution, if one opened up. Well this institution had people going into the lab after PGY-2 and coming back as PGY-3 after 2 years. They had some people who wanted to stay an extra year or two, so my prelim friend was able to get a PGY-3 spot categorical (although, mind you, this was his PGY-4 year).

    So you see, this can be a risky business, but it is doable, and infact it is done every year by people whose qualifications might not be the best for radiology. If you match radiology, and you do not piss off people in your surg. prelim, your chances of getting surg categorical are good, but G-S might take you more than 5 years, you should be prepared for that.

    hope this helps
     
  10. Good advice for third-year and fourth-year med students as well! :thumbup:
     
  11. Thank you for the replies. For the Med students out there, I will mention my mistakes...why I think I didn't match. I did not get my application completed with LOR until a week before the deadline, I was also informed on an interview that one of my LOR was mediocore (I have since done two surgery electives and recieved great letters so I can throw that out), I didn't interview at community programs which I would now consider, and finally my Step 1 was only 188 (the only thing I can't change, take it seriously!). So, do a surgery elective, or two, early enough to get a letter in by Sept.
    Unfortunately, where I'm doing a prelim, there are residents leaving to do research, but there are already too many people at the R3/R4/R5 spots and very few R1/R2's plan to take a year for research, so I may just have to start over as an R1. I decided to stay at my home institution, because I thought it would be my best bet to get a LOR supporting my intern year, because they already like me and we have to apply again just two months after I begin in July (and these probably won't be my shining two months as a resident).
    The reply about someone doing three years of preliminary sounds really scary! I'd appreciate some positive stories about prelims finding an R2 spot out there and how they think they succeeded doing this. Thanks agian!
     
  12. pre-doc

    pre-doc Member
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    I can not wait to have you in our OR's in two years, make sure you let us know who you are.
     
  13. JKP

    JKP Black Cloud
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    j sde

    I've always been interested in g surg primarily, but how about interventional radiology?
     

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