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Would this be a strike against me for applying to residency?

Healer777

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I’m a recently graduated (2020) US IMG. I applied to the 2020 Match for IM and IM/psych and received several interviews but had to withdraw last min because I didn’t pass step 2 CS (IMGs have to pass it before the rank order deadline). I passed CS on the 2nd attempt in March but it was too late.

I plan to apply to psych, IM, and IM/psych this cycle. I’ve been passionate about psych since undergrad but didn’t apply to categorical psych last cycle because I didn’t think I’d have a chance due to how competitive it has gotten. But this year I am going to apply to psych because I love the field, and if I don’t match in psych I’ve only lost money on application fees and nothing else. I’d rather have credit card debt than regret not even trying.

My current problem is how to spend this unexpected gap year. I’m currently unemployed and broke. I’m trying to get a job in health care to stay active clinically but I want to do more.

I’ve been intrigued by life coaching as a field for some time. I love the idea of helping people reach their potential. But I am afraid if I work as a coach it will look suspicious to psych program directors, like I am trying to be a mental health provider without the proper credentials. Coaching is different from therapy but I am still afraid that this will not be understood, and that working as a coach would negatively affect my ability to get interviews at psych programs. I am not as worried about IM, which is why I am posting this here.

Does anyone know if coaching would hurt my match application? If you are a PD, would an applicant who worked as a coach be less appealing to you?

To clarify, I am going to do more than just coach during the next year. I am looking to get a job as a medical interpreter; if that doesn’t work out I will look at scribe and MA jobs. I’m also thinking about observerships, assuming that they are still happening despite covid.
Thanks!
 

NickNaylor

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I have no idea if being a life coach will be harmful or not, but I would absolutely make sure they you stay active academically. I imagine that the "default" thing to do for many people in your position would be to get involved in research in some way. You might even be able to find a paying gig. Obviously you need to work to support yourself, but I would definitely try to find something that's an academic "plus." I imagine some/many PDs would be concerned to have you as a resident if you didn't spend your time doing something academically and/or clinically oriented.
 
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TexasPhysician

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I think it would initiate a line of questions that you’d need to be prepared for. What credentials have you gained to coach others? What are you coaching? Where were you taught? What insurance did you maintain? How did you screen suitable clients? Etc.

Answers should be well thought out.
 

CalmAndCollected

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I’m a recently graduated (2020) US IMG. I applied to the 2020 Match for IM and IM/psych and received several interviews but had to withdraw last min because I didn’t pass step 2 CS (IMGs have to pass it before the rank order deadline). I passed CS on the 2nd attempt in March but it was too late.

I plan to apply to psych, IM, and IM/psych this cycle. I’ve been passionate about psych since undergrad but didn’t apply to categorical psych last cycle because I didn’t think I’d have a chance due to how competitive it has gotten. But this year I am going to apply to psych because I love the field, and if I don’t match in psych I’ve only lost money on application fees and nothing else. I’d rather have credit card debt than regret not even trying.

My current problem is how to spend this unexpected gap year. I’m currently unemployed and broke. I’m trying to get a job in health care to stay active clinically but I want to do more.

I’ve been intrigued by life coaching as a field for some time. I love the idea of helping people reach their potential. But I am afraid if I work as a coach it will look suspicious to psych program directors, like I am trying to be a mental health provider without the proper credentials. Coaching is different from therapy but I am still afraid that this will not be understood, and that working as a coach would negatively affect my ability to get interviews at psych programs. I am not as worried about IM, which is why I am posting this here.

Does anyone know if coaching would hurt my match application? If you are a PD, would an applicant who worked as a coach be less appealing to you?

To clarify, I am going to do more than just coach during the next year. I am looking to get a job as a medical interpreter; if that doesn’t work out I will look at scribe and MA jobs. I’m also thinking about observerships, assuming that they are still happening despite covid.
Thanks!
Anecdotally, I knew an IMG who was a case manager during his time off. He said he felt embarrassed by it and thought he would be looked down when applying, but he said it ended being a very strong point in his application since he continued being involved in patient care and had experience in dealing with patient’s social issues.

I don’t think being a life coach would be any issue for future application.
 
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EarlyCareerAcademicPsych

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I was an associate program director of a residency program for seven years and I was the primary person for screening ERAS. However, my program did not treat US medical schools as substantially different from international medical schools.

By US IMG, do you mean that you are US citizen who went to medical school outside the United States? Because "IMG" is not one category. I have a different set of considerations regarding a graduate of AIIMS in New Delhi or Aga Khan in Karachi; a different sent of considerations for a graduate of a Oxford in the UK; a different set of considerations for a graduate of Ben Gurion in Israel; a different set of considerations for a graduate from St George's in Grenada; et cetera, et cetera. The details matter. IMGs cannot be lumped together (even tho they sometimes are)

My best advice is to do something which clearly shows your interest in psychiatry. This could be something like working as a tech in a psychiatric ward or a psychiatric hospital. Based on the fact that you did not apply in psychiatry last cycle, you need to demonstrate your stated interest with your behavior. A medical scribe does not show interest in psychiatry - it shows interest in becoming a trained physician more generally. You could try to do some research in a some area directly related to psychiatry. You could volunteer in a mental health clinic. If you are so interested in psychiatry, then show it. This is the thing that I looked for.

I think the Life Coaching thing is not enough. But this is probably a very idiosyncratic based on the preferences of the residency program director.

It is very difficult to anticipate what any particular PD or APD might be looking for. Do something that you are passionate about. Work really hard at it and do a really good job. If you want to become a psychiatrist, then make that passionate thing be clearly connected to psychiatry in the way that I described. That is my best advice.
 
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