Apply to the Medical Specialty You Love

It’s been a while since I posted and I apologize for answering your emails late. I have been very busy and a lot of debts have to be paid from all the loans that was taken for school. But for this post I want to be brief and I want to remind everyone about what they should pursue.

Before applying for residency, you must plan things through very well to the exact detail. You must be realistic and you must also choose a path that you love.

What I noticed ever since I graduated is that throwing your interest at all directions isn’t the smartest move. If you want Internal Medicine, then do anything and everything to get yourself there, if you want family then get yourself in Family. If you want to get into a competitive then work hard to get in. Don’t let the fact that you are from a Caribbean Medical school get in the way of getting into a residency of your choice. Currently Saint James students are getting into Anesthesiology, Emergency Medicine, and Surgery.  Other Caribbean medical students are getting into other specialties as well.

At the end of the day, follow your passion, and work towards the medical specialty that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life. Whatever you do make sure you give your 100% and don’t look back. When you follow your passion and not the money, then you will see that the money will come and you will do something you love.

Research as much as you can on what specialities interest you. If you have time after graduation, then volunteer at different specialities to see first hand which one catches your attention. The reason I suggested volunteering because you may not get the same feel for it as a medical student when you were rotating.

Facts to Know About Residency Process

The residency process is no easy ride. It will be harder than studying for the boards.  If you study for the boards then you have a good chance of doing well.  However, when it comes to residency you can have all your requirements but there’s still no guarantee of getting residency, even if you get a lot of interviews.

Consider the following when you apply for residency:

  • Apply to all your programs on the first day, it’s usually September 15th.
  • Don’t expect to get interviews from all the programs you applied to.
  • You will be disappointed from time to time, but always keep your head up.
  • Make sure you get all your USMLE scores submitted before September.
  • Make sure you “waive” your right to see your letters of recommendation.
  • Research the programs before applying to them; make sure you fulfill all their criterias.
  • Do not rely on “hookups” from your friends who are already in residencies.
  • The best and the only person you to impress is the program director.
  • Go to medical conferences before September.
  • Always apply to Family Medicine programs even if you are seeking another specialty.
  • When applying broadly, it means apply to multiple specialties, but remember to back your choice up if you get interviews.
  • Always be kind and courteous to everyone, especially to program coordinators, they are the gateway to a residency position.
  • Timing is everything so doing everything before September gives you the upper hand.
I hope this helps, and please give me your feedback.

Canadians Who Are Denied Statement of Need

The Canadian Ministry of Health is going to cap out how many Canadian citizens are allowed to get residency positions in the US.  I don’t understand the reason behind it because Canada needs doctors, but it’s important to know all the facts if you are Canadian citizen.  For those who plan to get a J-1 visa, you have you re-new your work visa every year but you need Statement of Need one time for ECFMG.

Get US Citizenship If You Can
If you are in basic sciences or in clinical rotations, do your self a favor and find a way to get US green card or citizenship. A strong factor for applicants to get residency is their visa status. Residency programs do have the ability to sponsor you but they will choose not to if they can avoid it because the fees and paperwork is overwhelming; also they don’t have the staff to do all that.

What if you are denied Statement of Need (SON)?
In a last post, I wrote that Statement of Need from Canada will be limited for the upcoming year.  To recap, SONs are needed to get ECFMG sponsored J-1 visas to start residency.  Unfortunately Canada sees the SONs as a whole for the entire country and the numbers are not correct, according to my research.  One way to get around this and get a SON from the Health Ministry is to call hospitals from your residential province and ask them if they need doctors for the specialty you are seeking to get residency in.  If they say yes, which is most likely, then get an office letter from them or an email, and send that to the Health Ministry. I’m sharing this because Canadians who were denied SONs in the past use this method.  I strongly recommend you stay away from specializing and focus on Internal medicine or Family Medicine to increase your chances to get an SON.