Where Are You Applying?
Well the easy short answer (that I usually give people) is EVERYWHERE. With a recommendation for International Medical Graduates (which we are) of 150-200 programs to apply to (depending on your board scores), there's no quick answer to that question. The easier answer is where are we NOT applying. We are not applying to any programs in California. Why? Because there is an additional cost to apply to programs in California and different requirements. So no programs there. We are not applying to any programs in Florida. Why? Well...because we hated living in Florida. Period. End of story. Not planning on hanging that albatross around my neck again. Here is the preliminary list according to states. We will add a few more in the coming weeks, but here's an easier way to paint the picture for you:
So clearly there are lots of options and programs all over the country. If you're wondering why some states have more and some states have less, the quick answer is that some states (like Oklahoma for example) don't have many or even any Internal Medicine residency programs. Other states (like Texas and Massachusetts) have lots...
Where Do You WANT To Go?
Seems like an easy enough question to answer, but really it's not. The rule of thumb in applying to residencies is that you should always keep an open mind. We had friends who matched in 2016 who really REALLY wanted to match somewhere in Georgia. She even did all of her rotations in Atlanta! But when it came time for residency interviews, she didn't land a single one in the state of Georgia. That's not to say that she wasn't "good enough" to match in Georgia. It probably means that no programs in Georgia were accepting IMGs (International Medical Graduates) or that there weren't enough spots to go around. They ended up in a program in North Carolina and they were perfectly happy with that! So for Jonathan and I, we have made a priority list (per the advice of a wise professor). This way, when the interview invitations start coming in in October-January, we know which ones to put at the top of our list. So keeping in mind that we could end up matching just about ANYWHERE in the United States, I'll satiate your need to have *some* sort of parameters and give you our top 10 programs in no particular order:
Mercer University in Savannah, GA (I'm secretly loving the idea of living in Savannah)
Union Hospital in Baltimore, MD
St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, MD (this is where Jonathan is currently rotating)
University of Oklahoma in Tulsa, OK
University of Oklahoma in OKC, OK
University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ
University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY (we fell completely in love with Lexington in March)
UTHSC in Houston, TX
Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX
Carillon Clinic in Roanoke, VA
Now keep in mind that these are our top 10 programs *in our minds*. They have all accepted Ross students in the past, but that doesn't mean any of them will accept Ross students for the 2017 match. There is absolutely NO telling what could happen this fall. We could interview at all of those or NONE of those. And even if we interview there, it doesn't mean we get to go there. We submit the applications September 15th and then we wait for interview invitations!
So Then What? What Happens After Interviews?
So after we interview at these places, we get to pick which one we want to go to right?? Wrong. After we have been invited to, accepted, and attended all the interviews we want (the goal is 10-15, but some people get/take more, some get/take less), we submit a Rank Order List in February. Basically what that means is that say for instance we take 12 interviews. We would rank those 12 programs from 1 to 12 in order. Number 1 would be the program we most want to match with, and number 12 would be the program we are least interested in matching with. Lots of things must be considered here. 1) How well did you gel with the attendings and other residents in the program when you were there for your interview?, 2) Did you get a request from the program director to "rank them high"?, 3) How is the location? (for us we have to consider how family friendly the area is and what the cost of living is like), 4) How is your opportunity for learning in the program?, 5) How do your board scores stack up among the normal applicants that get accepted?, etc. Lots to think about!
Each program then ranks the students they interviewed according to the number of spots they have. Then both ROL's are submitted to the National Residency Match Program algorithm and the spots are fleshed out from there. It's kind of like The Draft! Then on March 14th we get an email saying "Congratulations You Matched!". That will be such a relief! But we won't know WHERE we matched until the following Friday March 17th. Then our great adventure begins! From there we have until July 1st to choose a place to live, move in, and get acquainted with the area. We are tentatively planning to probably move wherever it is that we match at the beginning of June so that we can get properly acclimated before Jonathan starts his residency on July 2nd...
Jonathan Graduates in October Right? What Will Y'all Do Between Then and July 2nd?
Good question! Since October and November are big interview months and then the holidays in December, we will basically be "taking time off" during those months and focusing on residency interviews. Starting after the first of the year, though, he will be working in some capacity for AllianceHealth Deaconess in OKC. Probably doing some scribing for doctors or other "scut work" so that we can afford to live in those months leading up to residency! We will cross that bridge when we come to it. Suffice to say, for now, that we've got it all figured out. Or as much as we can at this point! We are both very anxious for this next step in this arduous process. We are ready to make money we don't have to pay back (even *if* a large chunk of it has to go to paying off student loans), we are ready to settle into ONE place for THREE years, we are ready to plug into a church with more permanency, we are ready to SETTLE DOWN! But in the coming months we could use your prayers, good thoughts, good vibes, whatever ya got! This process is tedious, stressful, and overwhelming. There is a lot to be done and only a few weeks to do it (9 weeks to be exact...September 15th is our submit date!). We will keep you posted on our process as we go along...
I keep telling Jonathan that, even though I know this whole process is super stressful for him, for me it kind of feels like opening a fortune cookie. We get to consider living anywhere in the country for THREE years of our lives (did you catch the 2 programs in Hawaii??). It's just as exciting as it is daunting! We can't wait to see what 2017 brings!