The process of applying for a residency position is a long and arduous journey. The mere mention of “CaRMS” can make a medical student tense. What follows will be a multi-part series on what to expect and advice for the CaRMS touring process.
(The following list is a guideline and is subject to change)
Part 1: Knowing yourself Part 2: Choosing electives Part 3: Understanding CaRMS Part 4: References Part 5: Research and preparation Part 6: Creating a schedule Part 7: Travel planning Part 8: Interviewing Part 9: Ranking
Hi, congratulations on your match! I was wondering why you chose family practice over internal medicine. I've been thinking about possible residency options myself (just recently accepted into med school), and I felt that IM opportunities would provide more opportunities than FP, though you'd probably be working your bum off more. Sorry if it seems like such a blunt question, considering that you just got matched up!
Thanks for your question. To be perfectly honest, I am more interested in internal medicine and ranked both disciplines. Through fate, chance, and a computer algorithm, I have been matched to the specialty of family medicine.
I have spent the day with friends going over our results. Some of us certainly did get our first choice; others like myself matched a few rungs down the ladder. However, overall I am happy with the results. While I may identify myself somewhat more with the practices of internal medicine, the two are distinctly different but equally rewarding specialties. I look forward to what new challenges this will bring.
Hi! When you are applying to a Canadian residency do they take into account your medical school grades and if so how much importance is placed on them? Thank you!
Thanks for your question. Everyone in Canada needs to submit a transcript to the residency matching service. Your academic transcript is seen as a pass/fail.
The other key component is the performance record. This is a record to track if you have met or exceeded requirements for different specialties. The opposite would of course be to see if there were areas where you did not meet requirements.
Together this makes up the medical student performance record or MSPR. It is really just there for programs to check if there were any concerns. The majority of students will have “pass” and “meets requirements” across the board.
Hello! Before I begin I wanna say good luck with the match! I hope u get ur first choice. Now my question for u is how did you go about choosing electives for your 4th yr? I am a 3rd yr USA med student and the process is very confusing for me. I'm not sure if I should focus on picking electives for enrichment or places to audition. I feel like I should choose places that hit both aspects for me but in general I am scared and confused. Any tips? suggestions?
Thanks for your words of support! I am actually planning to write a more comprehensive post about how to gear up towards residency matching. Be sure to look out for that.
I think that it is important to find electives that give you a balanced but focused experience. Here in Canada, we are required to do at least one of medical, surgical, and primary care electives. Everything else is to your choosing. If it is anything like our system here, there are two schools of thought: maximize elective time in your specialty of interest before your application is closed or rotate through multiple smaller disciplines to get a better sense of what’s available. Obviously, the former works best if you are sure what you want to do and the latter when you are still undecided.
However you decide to go, always try to diversify your locations to better understand how other places differ or appeal to you. Also, try to work with respected members of the programs. Sometimes there is no guarantee but you should always consider who will be assessing you and who can write you a strong reference letter.
I opted for longer rotations initially in internal medicine to get more informed reference letters and pursue enriching and interesting electives after the application closed. There was no more need to impress anyone for a reference letter and nothing I did after would allow me to change my application anyways.
It is definitely a balancing act and you just need to find what feels right to you. Take care and best of luck.
To everyone following me on Tumblr, I send my sincerest apologies. You might find a lot of answered questions tonight from me populating your dashboards. I need to do something to keep my mind off of things.
Sitting in the deafening silence of the call lounge with nothing but my thoughts to occupy me, I wait. My phone has yet to buzz with the tease of a new consult. My mind races about tomorrow’s match results.
Did I make the right choices? Will I match? What will happen if I do not?
Tonight will be the longest call shift of my life.
I don't know where you find the time to write but I love your blog! How much have you invested in it?
Thanks for the compliment. I honestly cannot tell you how muchtime-wise I have invested into this blog. I would probably say “far too many hours.” Financially however, my total investment to date is the healthy sum of: $10.
The return on that investment:
2,396 total posts
356 text-based posts
718 photo sets
518 sets of questions answered publicly
1025 sets of questions answered privately
And there is still room to take that ten dollar bill further as I hope to continue blogging into residency and beyond. Thanks again for your question and take care.
What would you say are 3 of the biggest sacrifices you've made for your medical studies?
That is a very tough but excellent question. For the four years of medical school, I have sacrificed many things.
One sacrifice was time to explore. When people ask about applying to medical school, I never dissuade them from waiting, taking a year off, or worrying about being too old. Being a little late to the game never hurt anyone. In the time I have been in school, I have not taken the opportunity to travel or pursue my interests outside of medicine to the extent I would have hoped. A sizeable part of my twenties, a time typically dominated with a youthful exploration of the world feels cut short. While I am sure there will be a chance to do some of this in the future, it will never match the freedom of flexibility of these years allotted to medicine. In some ways, these “not-so-distant” opportunities always feels just out of reach.
Another sacrifice was family and friendships. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to send my regrets for a gathering with friends or family because of studies, exams, or a long/night shift. The impact of medicine can bleed into the home when your friends lose touch and your family support is strained in these circumstances. It can sometimes be very isolating.
Last but not least, I have sacrificed my health. It is not by nature that we were intended to work sleeplessly through the night, to eat irregularly by day, and to stress constantly. With the right practice and mindset, we can avoid some of these factors but we never really escape them entirely.
Everyone makes sacrifices and I have made mine for a higher calling. It is a passion for the practice that drives me forward. I truly believe that the rewards of this challenging yet fulfilling career are worth the time and dedication I have put into it. Having said that, every choice comes with a price and that should never be overlooked.
Hi, I've been a follower since the former of your tumblr chronicling, and I must say, as I go through the posts of your fourth year experience and how, in general, you're concluding your medical school career, I really can't help but be astonished by how much you've progressed. And your seemingly collective demeanor through the rigor/pain of med school is amazing as well. I wish you the best of luck with your engagement, work prospectus and future in general. I truly hope all goes well :)
Thanks a lot for your comment and for your continued readership!
I am always humbled when I think about the people who have been reading this blog for all these years. It has been an amazing journey.
Thanks for your well wishes and all the best to you too. Take care.
The ‘free market’ approach to healthcare means seeing more patients in less time. We’ve lost the human connection in health reform.
This is a call to begin a spirited discussion centering on such real healthcare reform. I am not naive to the hard economic realities of healthcare delivery or how civil discussions on reforming healthcare payments need to continue. However, meaningful and lasting solutions will not be found in models that commoditize health and continue to be based on a foundation of reward and punishment alone. They will be found in models that bring back the joy of healthcare to professionals who deliver it – physicians such as me and countless others who seem to have lost the single most powerful driving force – purpose.
musemcnamee:Correction - Anesthesia: Emergency Drugs; Propofol, Succinylcholine, Ephedrine, Epinephrine, Glycopyrrolate, Phenylephrine. Oh, and probably some Fentanyl and Midazolam. :)
You are absolutely right. However as a student, the anaesthetist has always been the ones carrying the medications and they are probably best served in their hands should something go wrong. This is a case of being above the pay grade. Alcohol swabs are great though for medication preparation, IV starts, and other routine tasks.
Re: your post "Specialized Supplies To Keep In Your Pocket". Do you think you could create a more comprehensive list for multiple different rotations? what you found to be essential, most useful? I think it'd be handy note for me to go back to, once I'm ready to start my clinical rotations… Thank you.
Sure. Look for my extended list of pocket supplies next.
I'm an undergraduate who will be applying to medical schools this year. I'm really scared to even try. I experienced a sexual assault in my third year (I'm a fifth year) and the university refused to let me retake the classes from that period in which I made Cs and Bs, as the advisor told me it couldn't be proven. I've been keeping straight As to keep my honors, but how can I explain the poor grades from that time and my comeback without explaining why?
I cannot imagine how difficult that is an ordeal to go through. No one should have to endure that and I certainly can understand why you would not want to talk about it.
I am sorry to hear that your university has not allowed you to retake the course. I feel that perhaps the best way to explain it would be true to its essence without going into the details. For example, you could ascribe it to a traumatic event in your life at the time that really affected you during that period, something that affected your life on many levels, including school. However you decide to describe it, also highlight the positive turnaround afterwards. By all accounts, you are typically an A student and with a lot of support from your peers, friends, and family, and more importantly a strong will in yourself, you were able to achieve your original performance once again. If they go prodding for details, those are grey-zone questions that are generally not allowed and you should not have to answer them.
While I do not know you personally, I do not think you should be scared to try to apply to medicine. If you have a passion for the practice, and you love the challenges and rewards of being in medicine, then I think it is always worth a try. Everyone is scared to some degree, but we all have so much more to give than we think is possible. If anything, your experiences in all aspects of life make you unique and give you a unique lens through which you interact with your patients. And that is worth trying for.
I wish you the best in life and on all of your future endeavours. Take care and good luck.
The end of any week calls for a wind down song. Though my week does not really end until tomorrow night because of call, I think there is no harm in starting a little earlier. This is the sound I need.
“On March 27, 1897, whilst eating some soup, [J.W.] aspirated a bone. This accident was followed by attacks of violent cough and dyspnoea, which, however, became gradually less… On direct laryngeal examination by mean of Kristein’s spatula, the patient being seated with his head strongly deflected to the left, I saw in the right principal bronchus a white mass. On the following day I introduced, under cocaine anaesthesia, a straight tube of 9 millimeters diameter and of 25 centimeters length through the larynx and the trachea until I came near the foreign body. The curvature of the trachea was thus removed, and the foreign body could be seen distinctly. I had great difficulty in catching hold of the foreign body, using a pair of slender forceps which had specially and quickly been made. The difficulties were great, as at that time…I was still without the necessary practice which enables one to look easily, and even more to operate, through long tubes. Eventually I succeeded in catching the bone and in extracting it. The patient was able to return home the following day.”—
Gustav Killian, 1902.
Direct endoscopy of the upper air-passages and oesopghagus; its diagnostic and therapeutic value in the search for and removal of foreign bodies. J Laryngol Rhinol Otol 17:461, 1902.
I have been very busy over the past few weeks and have since had a amassed a pack of questions in my inbox waiting to be answered. This is about the first half of the questions that I have. The remainder will follow in a subsequent mailbag. I apologize for the delay.
A team of surgeons from Johns Hopkins recently came up with a safer, better method of replacing skull fragments after brain surgery. This is good news for anybody who might need a little work done on their noggin in the near future, as doctors have been using the same method since the 1890s.
Hi, I am currently a third year in community college and recently switched my major to microbiology, and am hoping to work in the medical field one day. I've done extensive reading of what med school & residency entails, and also the amount of prereq classes I need to take before I transfer. I just worry about what other people will think, since people quickly presume that an individual being in CC too long is lazy etc. Does age really matter? Does med school run the whole gamut in terms of age?
Age does not matter at all for medical school. One of my classmates entered school in his mid-40s; another classmate is in her early 40s. There are certainly less and less individuals as the age bracket increases but our class demographic covers the spectrum.
Unfortunately, a pressing issue arose while recording and I had to stop my broadcast early to attend to it. My sincerest apologies to everyone who took the time from their day to come by and listen. I will try to talk about CaRMS another time.