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How on Earth did this happen? 
3rd-Jul-2007 01:37 pm
Somehow, in the midst of all this studying, I completed my third year of medical school. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but like a thief in the night, the fourth year medical school has snuck up on me. Needless to say, it's left me with some serious issues and pressing concerns.

First, I have to apply for this thing known as a "job." Granted, I wasn't one of those "straight through" medical students, and I've had more than my fair share of job interviews. However, the fact that I haven't been on one in over half a decade is a little worrisome, and I was hoping all of you could suggest some helpful hints for interview day--provided, of course, that an interview makes it my way. That said, perhaps having a paycheck in my hands again will be worth all of this trouble. :)

This ERAS thing... Tricky, tricky. I know it needs to be completed ASAP--the early bird does get the worm. What should I be looking for in programs that I'm applying to? What shouldn't I be looking for? Can someone explain this call schedule shorthand that appears on the FREIDA website? What do you like about your programs, and what do you absolutely loathe?

I'm taking Step II CK at the end of the month--it's crunch time. What was a help, and what hindered your performance? Any last minute study advice?

As always doctors, your advice is much appreciated. Fire away.
(Deleted comment)
9th-Jul-2007 02:12 pm (UTC)
Right now Emergency Medicine is the front runner, though I want to take a serious look through all the electives I've lined up for myself.
3rd-Jul-2007 10:15 pm (UTC)
Applying: You should talk to a mentor in whatever program you're applying for. They can give you the 411 on programs regarding work hours, research, resident satisfaction, etc. I mainly looked at places that had fellowship opportunities for the field I wanted (Geriatrics after Internal Medicine) or places I might want to live.

Step II CK: I really liked Boards & Wards and Secrets. It was way easier than Step 1. Two-three weeks studying is what I wished I had limited myself to (I studied for a month).

Good luck!
4th-Jul-2007 05:20 pm (UTC)
What call schedule shorthand?

I know it's difficult to do so if you're applying to a lot of programs, but try to do electives at any program you're seriously considering. Real electives, that represent what the program is actually like. At interviews, try to talk to the residents outside the hospital to get their true opinion about the program.

For step II CK, I used Secrets and QBank. Served me very well.
18th-Jul-2007 02:19 pm (UTC)

- Write out your answers to 15-20 "most commonly asked" questions, making sure you use an ANECDOTE in each answer rather than just a description. Stories are remembered, adjectives are not. Borrowing or buying an interview guide with sample questions and answers helped me. Practice saying the answers a couple of times.

- Schedule interviews for your favorite programs toward the middle or end of your interviewing months. For example, if you interview at 12 programs, the "best" programs should probably be #5 through #11. (By the time your last one comes around, you will be burnt out and you may not do as well.)

- You may, if you wish, send a "thank you note" the day after the interview to any interviewers who made an impression on you. Do not send a crappy, generic hand-written card (my personal opinion). A typed letter or a brief email will look more professional in your file (yes, they do sometimes get saved). In it, tell them exactly what you liked about their program, why you think it's a good fit for you, and tell them you want to come and hope to work there (if you mean it).


- Is the hospital making money, or losing money? This is definitely more pertinent for specialties with a lot of floor work such as surgery or medicine, as EM sometimes has great residencies at county hospitals that hemorrhage money all the time. But if the hospital is making money, the ancillary staff will generally have better skills; they will usually be better educated; they will often be more professional. This usually means better morale and less scut (starting IVs, blood draws, getting your own EKG's, wheeling patients to radiology, etc) for you.

- I would not pay too much attention to whether a residency has nightfloat or not. I went into residency thinking (having been told by residents) that I should look for a nightfloat because it improves your quality of life. What I realized as a resident was that no resident who says nightfloat is better, has actually ever been to a hospital where they didn't have it! Grass is greener on the other side, but in my experience nightfloat does not improve things by much (think Q4 with nightfloat vs Q5 overnight without nightfloat, but you get post-call day off).

- Is it where you want to live? Enough said.

- Q3 is call every 3 days. Q4 is call every 4 days. And so on.
- If it says "nightfloat: yes" that means that on your floor months you may have "long call" but generally not overnight call. If it says "nightfloat: no" this means you will be in the hospital for 24 hours.
- In the ICU, usually there is no nightfloat, so even at hospitals with nightfloat you will still have several weeks of overnight call yearly.
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