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himym123

How to be competitive for general surgery

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Hi everyone,

CC3 here, recently completed my general surgery rotation and I absolutely loved it. I was surprised because I never thought I would be interested in the subject matter of general surgery, and never really thought about specializing in it until now. For the past 1.5 years I've been doing research and building a network in a surgical subspecialty, which I feel I'm fairly competitive for. However, I enjoyed general surgery far more and am now considering switching over.

Problem is that I have 0 research or connections in this field, and I'm at a loss for how I can make myself a good candidate.

Considering how competitive gen surg was last year, is it too late to start building a competitive application for the specialty? If not, what can I do in the next ~9 months of clerkship to help my application? Does someone like me have any shot at some of the more competitive programs, like U of T?

I'm really glad to have found a specialty I enjoy so much, but it sucks that I discovered it so late in the game. At this point, I'm considering sticking with the subspecialty given my better chances of matching there.

Thanks for your advice!

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At least the attitude at my institution is that research matters far less than how you are clinically. If you have research in a surgical specialty and the general surgeons/residents liked you while you were rotating with them I'm sure you'll do just fine in gen surg. 

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Do at least an additional elective in general surgery, or a general surgery subspecialty (surg onc, colorectal, HPB, thoracics, etc.)

Try to publish a case report.

Keep the good attitude during your rotations.

 

Good luck!

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6 hours ago, himym123 said:

Hi everyone,

CC3 here, recently completed my general surgery rotation and I absolutely loved it. I was surprised because I never thought I would be interested in the subject matter of general surgery, and never really thought about specializing in it until now. For the past 1.5 years I've been doing research and building a network in a surgical subspecialty, which I feel I'm fairly competitive for. However, I enjoyed general surgery far more and am now considering switching over.

Problem is that I have 0 research or connections in this field, and I'm at a loss for how I can make myself a good candidate.

Considering how competitive gen surg was last year, is it too late to start building a competitive application for the specialty? If not, what can I do in the next ~9 months of clerkship to help my application? Does someone like me have any shot at some of the more competitive programs, like U of T?

I'm really glad to have found a specialty I enjoy so much, but it sucks that I discovered it so late in the game. At this point, I'm considering sticking with the subspecialty given my better chances of matching there.

Thanks for your advice!

You can always apply to both, at this point you definitely could easily match to general surgery since you haven't booked your electives yet. How do you feel about your other surgical subspecialty? If you feel similar to both, you may want to keep one leg on each boat for now, since you may switch back. 

You definitely have a shot at more competitive programs still, you have about a year to make the transition so its not too late. Do some deep thinking, if you really feel like gen surg is your passion and it trumps the other field you are interested in, then i would start networking, getting involved in research as well as shadowing and making contacts. 

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You have received good advice. I'm in a competitive surgical specialty. I was not a gunner and had the least experience or knowledge of all the applicants. My soft skills are what pushed me over the edge in the selection process. I had zero research experience and this was not a factor. I was considered a good fit for the team whereas the gunners weren't. They all had more electives than I did.

I also applied to 2 other fields and considered that any of the 3 would be fine with me. Be flexible, go for both and let the Interview Panels decide for you. Best of luck.

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