For those in the transition period between graduating from Medical school and starting the journey as a Resident doctor, you must be familiar with the Match system. In this post, I’ll be talking about the residency match system in North America.
The match? So is this an online dating system for Medical Doctors? Well, not entirely wrong. Graduating as an MD is not the end of the journey as a Doctor, to be “practice-ready” we usually work towards a residency program. For those not familiar with medical jargon, a residency program is basically further training in the choice of field one would like to pursue practicing as a Doctor. This could be as a Family physician or a specialty of choice such as Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Surgery etc.
The match usually occurs once a year with an initial round of seats being available from programs in different departments from various hospitals and a second round where remaining seats from the 1st round that go unmatched are brought forward. In Canada, we have CARMs and NRMP in the US. Being Canadian (even though a CSA and considered an IMG) I’ve had my mind set for Canada for a while, so forgive me if my knowledge is partial to the Canadian Residency Match System.
To begin with, we create a “profile” in a specific matching portal where our CVs, LoRs, Personal statements and lots of other documents are submitted (it’s a long tedious process), we then search for our programs of interest(s) (the suitor) to which we apply too. Those of us who get lucky get called for an interview (the first date!) and then a ROL is submitted where we rank the programs we applied to based on our preference and interview(s). On “Match day” we come to know whether or not we have been selected into a program. And once we do match, well that’s how we start our journey in a new committed relationship as a Resident Doctor!
It’s a joyous moment, beyond words, to express when you see the sentence ” you have matched…”. Those who have scored an interview and matched – congratulations! You deserve this! All the hard work put in is being paid off. Know that the reason you have come far is that you deserve it and even though the journey ahead is going to be tough and nerve-wracking, you are meant to go even further. So don’t give up.
But, what if?
Unfortunately, like any relationship out there we don’t always score at the first time. It doesn’t mean you are not good enough or not meant to be a Doctor. But just like when we are out looking for the “right one” to spend the rest of our lives with, its either not the right time or the right program.
As human beings, we are all here for a purpose that is not known to many of us. We have to live the life given in order to find what we are meant to be or do. We may not realize, but every living day, every moment has been created for us to move towards the bigger picture. And it is known that we become stronger human beings more from our failures than success stories.
It’s hard when the one thing you have put all your energy into doesn’t appear when you need it to. It can really bum you out! I know, cause I did not match or even get an interview. So yes, it’s not a great feeling. Despite all the hard work, exams, application process and fees, you do hope for something good. It was not easy reading through all the rejection letters … “Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applicants this year we …”. But I did. I moped about it for some time and even questioned my very existence and purpose in this process. I allowed myself time to heal (very important – went through many tissue boxes) then asked myself “Well Umi, what next?”
Next, is to get up again and start strong! go through my CV, personal letters etc and see where I can improve. Read more, study harder, apply to different jobs trying to enhance my experience. Basically to have a goal and keep going at it.
Point is, I know I have a purpose yet to fulfill because I’m still breathing and my heart is still beating (Lub Dub) and until then, will keep moving … and so should you!
Have any questions regarding the match system in Canada? Leave a comment below or contact me via e-mail 🙂
CaRMS: Canadian Residency Matching System
NRMP: National Residency Matching System
CSA: Canadian Studied Abroad
IMG: International Medical Graduate