EM Today: Updates from the Interview Trail

Originally Published: Modern Resident, February/March 2010

Original Article Author: Alex Fisher, OMS-IV
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine

Submitted by: Saadiyah Bilal (Publications Committee Co-Chair)

The interview season for EM is over! I’m not going to miss it. Most students would agree that by now, they have had their fair share of traveling, disruption and trying to balance a meager student loan budget with the costs of it all. The good news is there is light at the end of the tunnel, and you are moving one step closer to becoming a brilliant and dashing EM doc!
At this point, rank lists are completed and Match Day awaits! I hope that you have sent thank you notes to your interviewers, and in one case, actually showed up in the right state for your interview (some hospitals with the same name can be found in different states).
You may also wonder if there is any data showing a correlation between the number of programs ranked and the chance of a successful match. There is. For example, according to data from NRMP from the 2009 match, ten ranked programs equal about a 97% chance match for U.S. seniors.
Charting Outcomes in the Match: Characteristics of Applicants Who Matched to Their Preferred Specialty in the 2009 Main Residency Match. [Internet Resource]. National Resident Matching Program (U.S.); Association of American Medical Colleges. 3rd ed. 2009. Available from: http://www.nrmp.org/data/chartingoutcomes2009v3.pdf. Page 64. 
If you take anything away from this article, understand how the match algorithm works. Your rank list is combined with program’s lists in the NRMP computer, which creates the optimal match of resident to program. Remember, by submitting a rank list, you are agreeing to become a resident at the program you match. Similarly, the programs are required to actually hire you as a resident if you match with them! If you are not already familiar with the algorithm NRMP uses to create the perfect match, I would like to inspire you to do some independent research and find out more about the process. An excellent reference is Iserson’s Guide to a Residency. The book goes into intricate detail concerning interviewing, choosing a residency, the match, etc. You may also want to sign up for EM Select, a web-based program that makes the residency application process easier to manage (see below for more information).
I wish you success on Match Day. Emergency medicine beckons.