After a grueling number of years in medical school, fourth-year medical students are now anxiously awaiting a match to one of the residency programs they applied for. With so many applications for residency in the air, the pressure leading up to Match Day can be immense.
This Match Day, if you don’t land the placement you wanted, don’t lose hope—medicine is a career of refocusing expectations. Just take it from Dr. Joshua Landy, critical care physician and co-founder of the medical app Figure 1. He didn’t just imagine his worst-case scenario, he lived it.
Dr. Sharon Vorona, British physician and Figure 1 Medical Director, was extremely nervous for her match day results. “I didn’t want to be around anyone if I failed,” she admits. Luckily, her story has a happy ending too. Watch it below.
You will have your own Match Day experience, for better or worse. Then what? Whether you’re exactly where you wanted to be, or you’re across the country, here are three things you should know to survive your first day of residency, from members of the Figure 1 community.
- The attendings have your back. Every July, U.S. hospitals prepare for an influx of new doctors — medical students who have finally made the transition to intern or resident. There is a popular notion (known as “the July effect”) that patient safety is at risk during this time due to the mass arrival of inexperienced trainees. Research is inconclusive on this, but experienced professionals say patient care is not adversely affected. Why? Because the attendings are always on the lookout for you. If you fear a mistake, just breathe and remember you have a number of seasoned colleagues you can lean on. Your patients will be better for it.
- Accept your limitations. You are human. On your first day, remember you don’t know everything—and that’s okay. As a resident, you will face uncertainty. Be open to learning from each experience and move on. Remember, every experienced physician has been where you are now.
- Listen to your patients. For some interns, nerves take over and they forget how to engage with their patients. “They’re so wrapped up in the process—the notes, how to write orders—that they forget how to doctor,” said a body imaging fellow on Figure 1. Talking with patients to take a relevant history and answering questions empathetically is critical to developing good bedside manner. In the end, it’s always worth the time and effort you put in.
Good luck, medical students! Still nervous? Here are a couple more tips for you to keep in mind.