Well, our final year students have just submitted their applications for residency matching this year. They have undertaken the Herculean feat of trying to figure out which of 30 different types[i] of doctors they want to become. This includes family medicine and 29 other specialties. Really? 29?I can't even imagine as a first year medical student who is just glad to have made it into medical school after years of work, to be told that now I have 30 different options to consider.
Congratulations! You’ve finally made it to Clerkship. After years of school, university courses, doing everything else it takes to get into medical school, and then hours of lectures and studying for Pre-Clerkship exams, you have finally reached the moment you’ve been waiting for: Clerkship. You will now be caring for patients as part of a health care team. As someone who has been through all this a long time ago, but still remembers it as though it were just yesterday, I will share with you a few tips that I wish I had been told at the onset.
This week is an opportunity to think about what it means to be Canadian as we prepare for our 150th birthday. There are so many reasons to be proud such as our country's reputation for diversity and inclusion, global engagement, peace keeping efforts and a forward facing innovation agenda. Particularly to live in a truly free country where for the most part, human rights are upheld and basic necessities are available to most. As a physician I'm also very proud of our healthcare systems.
A generation ago, as a medical student, I remember that I went from deciding I would be a psychiatrist in year 2, then a family doctor in year 3, and then in my final rotation of my fourth year I confirmed that my true passion was pediatrics. And off I went to my rotating internship…
Many of us remember the hours spent preparing paperwork for our clinical electives. So many forms, similar but yet all different, sent to so many different places! The whole thing taking hours and hours of precious time that could have been much better spent.
On the eve of match day 2017, I reflect on my own challenges with decision-making related to choice of discipline. I am so old that I did a rotating internship so had more time to decide. Although I started medical school thinking that I would be a family doctor just like my father was, in second year I was certain I wanted to be a psychiatrist, and I ended up in clerkship realizing during my very last rotation that in fact my calling was paediatrics. Back then, the news came to me by snail mail.
I remember precisely the moment I found out I was accepted into medical school. It was my second and last attempt at applying. I had just completed my BSc and, as I was not inclined to do research, I applied to medical school one last time. I was already accepted to teacher’s college as a back-up. My ‘real’ summer job was to start in June for a government department so in May, I was working for a few weeks at a downtown ‘greasy spoon’ as a cashier. Anything to make a bit more money to get me through school.
The transition from medical student to resident is one of the most stressful in our careers. This year year 3,248 new residents will have entered into various residency programs in Canada within the 29 PGY1 entry disciplines. All, to a certain degree, will have experienced the emotions related to the uncertainty of being ready to function as an MD within their training program.