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alohaahola: My experience for Neurology match
作者:USMedEdu
发表时间:2009-03-16
更新时间:2009-03-16
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发信人: alohaahola (crazydoc), 信区: MedicalCareer
标 题: My experience for Neurology match
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Mon Mar 16 18:20:04 2009)

Here is my experience for Neurology and Preliminary IM.

1. Deciding on Your Specialty: I only applied to Neurology and
Preliminary IM programs as my background fit Neurology the most and there
are some sub-specialties in it that I am really interested in (Sleep,
Interventional pain, Neuro-Onc). Accordingly, I asked all of my LOR writers
to mention Neurology in their letters; I think this gave me some extra
points as dedication is what small specialties are looking for (they don’t
want you to transfer out after PGY-1). Also, Neurology is becoming
competitive for the following 2 reasons: A. It is now part of NRMP instead
of the SF match which means more applicants. B. The US medical school
Neurology rotation is now in the 3rd year instead of 4th year, a lot of
students are drawn to it because they’ve had the rotation. A side note: I
really don’t think it is a good idea to apply to more than 2 specialties as
you tend to say wrong things during the interview. Here are some useful
websites: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/forumdisplay.php?f=35 http://www.usmleforum.com http://www.prep4usmle.com/forum/81

2. Observership and LOR: For Neurology applicants, try your best to do 1
Neurology OB and 1 IM OB and get recommendation letters from these two
physicians to comment on your performance in a US hospital setting. I did 3
OBs (1 IM, 1 Neurology, and 1 Rad/Onc) at my home institution and got their
letters. My 4th letter is from my boss who is a PhD. Now here is the tricky
part: how to impress those MDs when you don’t have your own patient? Try to
be nice to everybody, especially your attending’s own nurse/secretary.
Their words mean A LOT to the attendings. You want the nurse/secretary to
say that your are nice, sweet, and funny. Also, for outpatient environment,
get a pocket book and ask some relevant questions after each patient
encounter. Chat with the residents when they are not busy and try to help
them when you can. Answer questions during rounds but do not make the
residents/medical students look bad as nobody likes Smart Asses. Basically
be humble and accommodating yet still try to grasp opportunities to impress
the attendings with your knowledge, personality, and work ethics. The best
time to do OB is between April and July. You should have a rough draft of
your Personal Statement done before July as the LOR writers will want to
read it before they do their letter.

3. Personal Statement and Supporting Documents: My PS is very “八股文”
and here is a very good website with lot of PS samples: http://ww.medfools.com I used their PS editing service. In addition, my boss worked with me very closely for my PS; a native English speaker’s input is very critical to have a good PS. Try to get all other supporting documents sent to ECFMG by the last week of August; this will ensure everything be scanned by September 15th. It is not necessary to apply on September 1st; however, definitely try to do so by the middle of September to enhance your chance of getting IVs. The very first batch of IVs came around the middle of September.

4. Selecting Programs: Before applying to programs, try to read through
their website for specific requirements: graduation year, GC/H1/J1, and US
clinical experience are the most important things to notice. If a program
has very strict 5-year graduation limit on their website and the PD is from
Indian, don’t waste your money on them. For those borderline programs, call
the Program Coordinator to see if you should apply. Try to do this before
the end of August as the PCs will become really busy after that and won’t
pick up the phones. Also, for Preliminary Year program, if you graduated
more than 5 years ago, definitely avoid those “nice”, “cushy” programs
in desirable cities. I made the mistake of applying to Manhattan and CA
preliminary IM programs and did not get even a single IV from those places.
Me and my other Chinese friends this year got Preliminary IM interviews
from the following states: CT/NY (excluding Manhattan)/MD/DC/MI/MA (
excluding Boston)/OH/MO. Definitely go over the requirement for every single
program from those states and apply to all of the ones that you meet
requirement. Also, the following websites are good to learn about programs: http://www.scutwork.com/cgi-bin/links/page.cgi?d=1 and http://www.baseportal.com/cgi-bin/baseportal.pl?htx=/digitaldoc2002/Icompile&localparams=1&range=0,75

5. Interview Scheduling: Apply to as many programs that you meet
requirements as you can; this is not the time to save money. For Neurology,
I applied to 80 programs and got 25 IVs; for preliminary IM, I applied to 70
programs and got 12 IVs (a few were coordinated via Neurology). IV season
runs from late October to the beginning of February. I attended a total of
14 Neurology and 8 Preliminary IVs in a 3-month periods. Schedule the places
that you are the least like to end up at the very beginning of the season;
you will need 2-3 real interviews to polish your skills and to be good at
selling yourself. I interviewed at my top 4 Neurology choices on December
4th/9th and Janaury 7th/15th. I was refreshed after Thanksgiving break and
Christmas/New Year. Plus, the holiday season gave me some time to go over my
performance and correct mistakes. A lot of Neuro programs have their IV on
Friday so don’t schedule Preliminary IVs on those days. Instead, try to
attend Preliminary IV on Saturdays, around holidays, or in the middle of the
week, etc. This will eliminate potential conflict.

6. Interviews: I read through “Isersen's Getting Into a Residency” and
“Next Day Job Interview” and watched “Interview Powers”. I collected all
the questions that were listed in those books and came up with my own
answers. I literally encountered all of the questions I prepared for at one
point or another. Some of the really challenging questions are: “Your
research work is quite on track, why do you want to go back to Clinical
Medicine?” “Will you feel comfortable being told what to do by someone who
is much younger than you are?” “You have been to quite a few IVs, how
would you rank us among them; how can you convince me that you will come for
sure?” “What made you decide to come to US and stay here when China is
developing so fast?” In addition, I was asked to present an interesting
case many times at various places, definitely more than 10. I started
wondering whether I have a sign on my forehead saying “ask me to present a
case”? Here is a very good website for Neurology cases and I got my two
from there: http://www.bcm.edu/neurology/case.html A little trick is to present a case that is not the interviewer’s immediate expertise area; this will make you sound like a real scholar and give you an opportunity to teach the interviewer something he/she does not know already.

7. Communication with programs: Here is what I did and it worked for me:
A). I emailed all the PDs of the programs that I did not hear back by the
first week of November and introduced myself using the “Application Follow-
up” letter, I expressed my sincerely interest in the program and ask for
the opportunity for an interview. B) After the interview, I sent PD (
sometimes Chairman as well if I was interviewed by him/her) a thank-you
email/letter (whichever works for you). C) I sent to all the programs that I
have visited a hand-written “Season’s Greeting” card before New Year. D)
I sent all programs that I was going to rank an “End of the Season” email
/letter by the end of January/beginning of February. E) Also, I updated
programs about the progress I have made (particularly recent or future hand-
on US clinical experience) whenever it became available.

8. Keep your spirit up and find a few “Match Buddies” I was very
fortunate to have friends going through the process with me and I really
appreciate the advices and encouragements from them. They are all smart,
energetic, and genuinely nice people; I wish all of us the best of luck in
our future careers.

Appendix I:

My credentials: graduated in 1999; no clinical experience; Steps1/2 around
95; Green Card; US PhD in Neuroscience; I have around 10 first-author papers; research award; media reports, book chapters, my own grant, good job title, etc.

Appendix II: IV list and the date that I received them:

Neurology: Medical College of Wisconsin (09/12); Methodist Hospital in
Houston (09/18); Medical College of Georgia (09/26); Stony Brook University
(09/29); Cleveland Clinic, OH (09/30); U of F at Jacksonville (09/30);
Washington University (10/01); Tulane (10/01); University of Vermont (10/07)
; Beth Israel Manhattan (10/07); University of Kansas (10/08); NS/LIJ (10/14
); Loma Linda (10/15); NYU (10/16); LSU (10/?); UCSD (10/24); Seton Hall
University (NJ JFK Neuroscience Institute; 10/30); U of Virginia (11/06);
University of Chicago (11/11); Emory (11/13); Tufts University (11/20);
Drexel (12/05); UTMB Galveston (01/?/2009);

Preliminary IM: NYMC-Richmond University (09/19); St Agnes Hospital (09/24);
Moses Cone Hospital, NC (09/25); Harbor Hospital (09/29); Griffin Hospital
(10/03); Flushing Hospital (10/03); Methodist Hospital Transitional Year (
via Neurology; 10/06); Huron Cleveland (10/13); JHU/Sinai (10/14); Howard
University (10/30); Weiss Memorial Hospital, Chicago (via U of Chicago
Neurology; 11/17); New Hanover Hospital, NC (01/15/2009).

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