Monday, February 2, 2015

medical monday : importance of the rank list

There may not be an official link-up anymore for the Medical Community to meet up, but that doesn't mean there isn't information and stories to be shared!  I'm not necessarily going to make this a typical thing but I did have stuff I wanted to share during this busy time for medical students finishing their interviews and making their NRMP Match lists.

Over the past 2 years I have posted a lot of things pertaining to our personal journey getting to where we are currently (into our 2nd year of Kyle's Gen Surg residency program in a completely new state with our first house and first kid).  You can read more in the links at the end of this post.

This post is about the importance of your rank list.  Real life style.  We were lucky when making our list that our #1 choice was also the city that we liked the best with the program with the best perks, but after filling that #1 spot in our list making, it got a lot more murky.  Thankfully, we got our #1 spot on Match Day.  And we don't regret it one bit.

Not only is Kyle extremely happy here, but I am as well.  Sure we could have made members of our families much happier by staying put in Louisville, and I would have probably been fine with staying where we already had a Community of support with nearby babysitters, but Kyle most likely would not have been nearly as happy in his program as he is here, and that would have seeped into our daily lives.  Kyle is legitimately friends with his coworkers, I am legitimately friends with their wives.  We have never been made to feel "bad" for having a baby during first year; in its own way, this program has been very "family friendly" for a Surgery program.  We never felt weird bringing Myles along to the interview dinners, and several of the other residents would immediately take him from us so we could be sure to eat.  

But it isn't just that, in the past week alone, I met a few of the girls for our monthly get-together, this month, our hostess of the month, Julia, picked a painting class for us and brought a ton of snacks while Beth brought the wine.  I was pretty exhausted from my day with Myles but it was exactly what I needed.  Such a great time with those girls every time we are able to hang out and just have others who understand this life.

Later in the week, I got to be a part of a meal train that was organized for one of our new moms in the program. Her husband was on nights so she needed someone to just hang out in the evenings so she could talk to someone that could actually talk back to her for a little bit.  Getting to meet baby Jack was a big bonus to my week! Thankfully Kyle was able to be with Myles during both of these events so I could participate and see my friends.  

Then, this Saturday was the big yearly exam for our residents, the ABSITE (American Board of Surgery In-Training Exam).  Its kinda a big deal.  So every year (weather permitting), their Program Director (who takes the test with them), invites everyone who isn't working afterward, out to his farm to eat some chili and do some skeet shooting with shotguns!  It was a great way for everyone to just chill out after months of studying, even if the main topic of conversation was the test.

I cannot tell you how important it is to consider your happiness when making your list.  Don't just pick a program because it is "the best in the country".  Pick it because the residents you meet seem to really like each other and you can see yourself fitting in with them.  Pick it because it is what is best for you and your spouse.  Pick it because the location has things you will love to get out and do.  Of course there isn't much time outside of some residencies, but there is time, and if you have people around you and stuff to do that you love, it makes the bad days a mere blip on your way to your much coveted days off. 

Past posts of information 


  1. This is great advice! Before residency it's hard to even understand what factors there could be to consider besides the program's reputation and location. Peter's list had a couple of tiers in the final ranking - the 4 "best" programs, somewhat ordered by our preference of their cities, the 4 next best also ordered by our preference of their cities, and then 2 more that he really didn't want but would rather go there than not match. I don't feel like I knew enough about any of them to consider happiness - but then again I went along on zero interviews. I think your advice is so helpful and hopeful for people going into residency, especially if they have a family.

    Also, isn't it crazy to think how different life could have ended up? I'm convinced that there were several programs on the list that we would have ended up at if Peter had ranked them #1 instead.

  2. Great advice. Totally agree. I'm glad that you're enjoying your residency location.


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