surg4me

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I ranked 15 (mostly academic with a few community) in numerous geographical regions. I can't wait to find out whether or not I matched...but what do I do if I don't? Currently, I'm planning on 1) find an open categorical spot if it's at least somewhat close to what I'm looking for (unlikely given how competitive GS is this year), 2) find a prelim spot in GS 3) find a research spot

Anyone care to share their plans? What's the best option if I want GS, but don't match?
 
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Blade28

I'd also be looking for an open Categorical spot...but seeing as there were only 2 open spots last year, and this year's application process is even more competitive...

Might be time to look for a Prelim spot instead!
 

Sir Jun

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Is this year really that competetive? It seems like I kept seeing the same people over and over again on interviews. If we all interviewed at a number of places is it really that difficult to at least match?
 

Pilot Doc

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Sir Jun said:
Is this year really that competetive?
Yes. There was a post on this a few weeks ago with exact numbers, but

US senior applicants > no. of positions (by a few hundred)
Total applicants >> no of applicants (by over 1000 as I recall)

If you don't match, give serious consideration to doing a year of research and reapplying. It allows you to 1) strengthen your application and make good contacts and 2) LEISURELY reapply to programs where you might be more competitive without having to suffer through what will likely be a difficult prelim year. If you don't match again, you can always pick up a prelim spot next year.
 
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Blade28

I didn't even know about this - where and how would you go about doing a research y ear?
 

Pilot Doc

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Blade28 said:
I didn't even know about this - where and how would you go about doing a research y ear?
Any research university will have surgery labs. A good bet is looking for places that have lots of NIH funding. There was a post about this recently. The top several programs, in no particular order, were Duke, WashU, Pitt & UAB. Also, any program that has 1-2 required research years will have research opportunities as well. For other options, look at all the old "Top 10 program" posts. Whether those programs provide the best clinical training is up for debate, but they are clearly leaders in research.

Anyway -- to arrange this, if it's not available at your institution, find one of your attendings who has research connections. Ask them if they know anyone, then start sending emails to the researchers. If that yields no leads, try contacting the program directors where you applied and see if they know of any good research labs.

What should you look for when choosing a lab?
1) A lab run by a practicing surgeon (who knows other surgeons - the ones who review/rank applicants)
2) A surgeon who spends a decent amount of time in his lab -- so he'll see your work.
3) A lab with national recognition - reputation is a big deal. Apart from learning the basics of surgical research, you're looking to develop a relationship with a surgery attending who can pick up the phone and get you a residency slot. Look for someone who's at least mid-career, well-respected and well-connected. (And who s)

Other miscellany: you'll probably be paid a graduate student level stipend. You might have to start paying your student loans back; check with financial aid. A possible tactic to avoid this - if your school allows it - is to defer graduation for a year and do the research as a "student."

Other questions?
 
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Blade28

Thanks for the information - didn't know I even had this option! Always thought it was Categorical, Prelim or year off for me.

And you'd do all this on March 15th, right? The emailing to the researchers, etc.?
 

shahkg

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Phuck looking for a Prelim spot...there is no way that I am doing TWO intern years!!

Anyways, if doing a Prelim year is "supposed" to help, then by that logic those that already are finishing a Prelim year this year should automatically find a categorical spot...and we all know that is not the case.

I will go the research route. Try to get some money and work a 9-5. If not then try and find something that I can use my "MD" degree. Hopefully it will not come down to that.

GOOD LUCK TO ALL!!
 

passlineandodds

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do some research...apply again...see what happens. if it doesn't work out the second time around maybe it wasn't meant to be. i'd go channel all of that frustrated and upset energy into getting an mba and becoming an extremely rich, extremely cynical bastard.
 

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Blade28 said:
And you'd do all this on March 15th, right? The emailing to the researchers, etc.?
If you have nothing better to do, but if you want to drown your sorrows for a day or two, it probably wound't hurt.
 
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Blade28

Pilot Doc said:
If you have nothing better to do, but if you want to drown your sorrows for a day or two, it probably wound't hurt.
Oh, I meant, you'd go for a research position during the Scramble? Or you can apply for these spots later, in May or June or July?
 

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shahkg said:
Phuck looking for a Prelim spot...there is no way that I am doing TWO intern years!!
Is that even possible? I was under the impression that the program got reimbursed for 5 years for a resident to complete a general surgery residency (not including any research years).

So if you did an additional intern year that would but you at 6 years. Who would pay for that extra year?
 

Celiac Plexus

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Bo Hurley said:
Is that even possible? I was under the impression that the program got reimbursed for 5 years for a resident to complete a general surgery residency (not including any research years).

So if you did an additional intern year that would but you at 6 years. Who would pay for that extra year?
Depends... the department generally pays for it... not a big deal though if the program is an academic one that is accustomed to paying a lot of residents doing research... at smaller community programs this can be more of an issue.
 

OldGeezer

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This may seem to be an insane thought, but would any of you consider scrambling into a different medical field, such as internal medicine? Yes, I know it is not surgery, but if the immediate, post-match prospects of getting a surgery position turned out to be dismal would you choose a back-up field to practice, at least, as a physician?

Or is it "Surgery or Bust" for all/most/some of you?
 

MS05'

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shahkg said:
Phuck looking for a Prelim spot...there is no way that I am doing TWO intern years!!

Can't you join an open PGY-2 spot somwhere instead of repeating an intern year in another categorical program?
 

GucciMD

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I would scramble for Prelim surgery, IM, EM, Anes. and even FM if I had too.

Something is better than nothing I suppose.
 

shahkg

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Surg is All or Nothing Baby!!

And yes, you can look for a PGY-2 to open up after a prelim year, but consider how many surg prelims there are...they will all be gunning for the same spot.
 

doc05

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shahkg said:
Surg is All or Nothing Baby!!

And yes, you can look for a PGY-2 to open up after a prelim year, but consider how many surg prelims there are...they will all be gunning for the same spot.
remember that there are going to be more than a few pgy-2 openings, given that attrition in general surgery is fairly high. also consider the fact that if you're an amg you'll be at an advantage compared w/the many img prelims.
 

OldGeezer

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doc05 said:
remember that there are going to be more than a few pgy-2 openings, given that attrition in general surgery is fairly high. also consider the fact that if you're an amg you'll be at an advantage compared w/the many img prelims.
From the positions posted at the website of the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (www.apds.org), the following open categorical positions became available between Feb 2004 and Feb 2005:

PGY1: 1
PGY2: 2
PGY3: 7
PGY4: 9

Unless many more positions go unadvertised, there were not very many PGY2 positions that opened in this particular timeframe. I wonder if these numbers are representative of other years, or if there is wide variability in available categorical spots from year to year.
 
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surg4me

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OldGeezer said:
This may seem to be an insane thought, but would any of you consider scrambling into a different medical field, such as internal medicine? Yes, I know it is not surgery, but if the immediate, post-match prospects of getting a surgery position turned out to be dismal would you choose a back-up field to practice, at least, as a physician?

Or is it "Surgery or Bust" for all/most/some of you?

If one were to scramble into another field, such as anesthesia or medicine, wouldn't one need to write another personal statement? I would assume that most of us tailored our essays toward surgery. Do program directors even care during scramble which field one was originally interested in? I've heard several classmates applying to radiology say that they were planning on scrambling for an anesthesia spot if they didn't match.
 

The_Id

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OldGeezer said:
From the positions posted at the website of the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (www.apds.org), the following open categorical positions became available between Feb 2004 and Feb 2005:

PGY1: 1
PGY2: 2
PGY3: 7
PGY4: 9

Unless many more positions go unadvertised, there were not very many PGY2 positions that opened in this particular timeframe. I wonder if these numbers are representative of other years, or if there is wide variability in available categorical spots from year to year.
Actually, there have been a -lot- more vacancies than that over the past year. When a program finds someone for their position, they are supposed to let the webmaster know so that their posting can be taken down so they are no longer barraged by phone calls/emails. The vast majority do, but some dont, which is why there are some residual postings from a year ago. I like to check the site every once in a while, out of morbid curiousity as to where people are dropping out. I would estimate that there were at least 20 PGY-1 (prelim or categorical) positions available over the past year, and even more for PGY-2 positions. Therefore, it may not be a bad idea to do a prelim spot at a good program. There were even a few PGY-1 or 2 orthopedic positions listed over the past year. AND, if you check for vacancies on SFMatch.org, there were about 10 PGY-2 positions in neurosurgery, 10 in ENT, and 15 in ophthomology at least over the past year, often at great institutions. So, if you are in the middle of your surgery prelim and regularly check these lists for vacancies, you might get really lucky and land yourself into an awesome program which is extremely competitive.

Another thing... plenty of people do drop out of surgery residency, because it is HARD. And, the majority of these spots are filled internally by lab fellows and prelims. But, it never hurts to email program directors, make contacts, etc.