Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Medical School Wife's Journey, Part Two

As I mentioned in one of my first posts, I am married to a medical student. Even though Jared is the one actually attending medical school, we have gone through this journey together.

At the beginning of our journey, attending Jared's Scrub Party

We've been through some extremely stressful, brutal exams (shouldn't they be, though??? I want my doctor to know his stuff!!!!). We've been through applying for away electives, which are necessary to get experience for residency interviews. We've been through the actual away electives, where Jared was gone for two months. And this past week, we just completed one of our last hurdles in this particular part of the journey: Jared returned from his final residency interview.

WHEW! The end is in sight, y'all. At least for this part haha. Lots of people have asked me how residency interviews work, so I thought I would share. If any medical school wife happens to read this post, I hope this helps you know what to expect! I had no idea.

Applying for residency is like applying for medical school all over again. Just like you take the MCAT to apply for medical school, you take the Step One and Two exams to apply for residency. The scores are extremely important. Another important factor, as I already mentioned, is your away electives. These are month-long rotations you do with other medical schools to gain experience and get critical letters of recommendation.

After your away electives, the real work begins. Medical students need to interview at 10 to 15 different residency programs to have the best chance of matching. Students who do not match are usually out of luck at that point. In order to receive the needed interviews, you have to apply to 30 to 40 programs depending on your Step 2 scores. I know, holy moly!!! There is a common application the students use to apply to most residency programs and submit their letters of recommendation.

Once you submit the application, it's waiting game to see who will invite you to interview. You cannot decide to interview at a program and go. You must be invited. Jared had killer Step 2 scores, so he got lots of invitations right up front (praise God!). Once you receive the invitation, you schedule the interview and make travel arrangements. Most programs don't help you financially when it comes to the interview, so it's up to the student to find a way to go. Some programs do book you a hotel room or offer a shuttle to different events.

Jared interviewed at the following places:

Corpus Christi, El Paso, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Temple, Texas
Birmingham, Alabama
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Little Rock, Arkansas
Jacksonville, Florida
New Haven, Connecticut at Yale (we were extra proud of this one)
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Morgantown, West Virginia
Augusta, Georgia

He's been traveling quite a bit, as you can see. Now the interviews are complete, the next step is to rank them. Once Jared and I make our list, we will submit it to the medical school. At that point, a computer program will take Jared's lists and the lists from all the residency programs and match student to program. Most students get one of their top three choices. Basically, the student will go to their top choice unless a student ranked higher by the residency program beats them out of the spot. After that, they go to their next choice and so on. It all seems very complicated to me.

Jared will receive his match in March and after that, who knows! The Walkers are starting the next part of their journey.