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Researching the programs that might suit your needs

After you complete your USMLE exams, the next step is to prepare for the match. Here are a few tips which will be useful in your preparation.
Researching the programs that might suit your needs
 
Few things to look for in programs
1. Academic Affiliation – Are they university or university affiliated?
Academically affiliated programs let you work with medical students. These programs are also viewed as more ‘scholarly’, and as a result, can help you get into a sub-specialty, research, or academic medicine (that is, becomes an Attending). The negative is that the support (blood draws, IV sticks, and patient transport), pay, and general treatment of residents are often worse than non-university programs. The reverse is true for community (non-university) programs.
2. Presence of other residencies/fellowships – These strengthen a program educationally because there’s more of a willingness by the other departments and sub-specialties to actually teach. Private doctors tend to be more interested in the bottom line ($$$) and less interested in helping you learn.
3. Board pass rate – This is for the qualifying exam that people in your specialty take after residency. Ask the program director for your specialty—about where you can find this information.
4. Stability of the program – These questions include
--Do they have full accreditation, and for how long (this can be found on www.acgme.org under ‘listings of accredited programs’)?
--Are they about to be merged with another residency program, and if so, how will this affect your training?
--How long has the program director been there? If he/she hasn’t been there too long, why did the old program director leave?
--Do the hospital(s) where the programs are located have enough patients (both number and variety) for your education, needs and interests. It goes without saying that important issues to you such as lifestyle, academic reputation, and location should be explored as well.
--Are the residents reasonably happy and content or do they persistently ‘bad mouth’ the program?
Program information can be found on the web or by writing the respective programs. Also, find out about their requirements and IMGs- need to know the type of visa they will be sponsoring.
Doing externships in your first choice program can strengthen your chances of matching there! If not at that program, then one that is in that area of the country leading to increased familiarity with the other residency programs in the general area.
The argument against doing an externship at your first choice is that you could screw up and give the powers that be a negative impression of you. I believe it takes two people to make a negative impression. If your first choice is a place where either you were not comfortable working or they didn’t extend themselves to help you work, then maybe it shouldn’t be your first choice after all.
One last word regarding externships: Usually these are sub-internships on the general hospital wards. Sometimes you can arrange externships in sub-specialty rotations such as cardiology or nephrology. These can be a bit more laid back in terms of workload, but you are on the periphery of the residency program when you work in a sub-specialty. If you choose this route then you need to be more aggressive in talking with attendings and going to conferences in order to learn more about the program and to make a good impression.
So after you know what to look for and have gathered the facts, it is time to put together a balanced application list for ERAS.
The documents that you need to submit to the ERAS:
  1. Completed Common Application Form
  2. Personal Statements
  3. Letter of Recommendations
  4. Transmit USMLE transcript ( manual or automatic)
  5. Medical school transcript
  6. Photos
  7. MSPE ( Dean’s letter)


Researching the programs that might suit your needs

 

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About USMLE

The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the United States. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) sponsors USMLE.
The Three Steps of the USMLE
Step 1 tests the important concepts of basic sciences basic to the practice of medicine. It also places special emphasis on principles and mechanisms underlying health, disease, and modes of therapy. Step 1 ensures mastery of the sciences that provide a foundation for the safe and competent practice of medicine. It also tests the scientific principles required for maintenance of competence through lifelong learning.
Step 2 CK tests the medical knowledge, skills, and understanding of clinical science essential for the provision of patient care under supervision. It also includes emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention. Step 2 CK ensures that due attention is devoted to principles of clinical sciences and basic patient-centered skills.
Step 2 CS tests your capacity to practice and provide good medical service in real-life situations. It also tests your communication skills.
Step 3 tests your medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science essential for the unsupervised practice of medicine. Step 3 provides a final assessment of physicians assuming independent responsibility for delivering general medical care.

 

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