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FailureToThrive

Dermatology -> Ophthalmology

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Hi, I'm an M2 (soon to be M3) and my entire CV is pointing very clearly towards dermatology (research, volunteering, leadership activities, etc.)

I recently realized that I prefer ophthalmology over dermatology, and I have to pick my electives in less than a week. 

I am thinking of doing research and spending the ENTIRE summer shadowing in my home faculty's ophthalmology department (in order to get more facetime with my home faculty, which is where I have the most chances of matching seeing as I'm currently not a competitive applicant) but I plan on KEEPING my dermatology accomplishments because they're pretty cool (they're very much related to my hobbies like med tech, photography, etc. so I do want to be asked about them during an interview).

 

How should I organize my electives?

Since there's an 8 week elective cap, I was thinking of doing 8 weeks in ophthalmology and spend my remaining weeks in derm (approximately 4 weeks). Essentially, splitting between both specialties because I would like to match into ophthalmology but I also still like dermatology over other specialties/fm. My fear is that both dermatology and ophthalmology will think that I'm not a serious candidate for either specialty and I would risk going unmatched. Any advice?

 

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I think you already know what adcoms will think. Splitting your application between derm and ophtho is risky to say the least, especially if you will have electives in both and research in both. If you’re set on ophtho, go all out: do the research, do the 8 weeks electives. But do the remaining electives in something else to distance yourself from derm. Something like ENT to show your surgical commitment, rheum for the interesting inflammatory stuff, ID etc that generally relate to ophtho. 

Elective caps may be for the better, but unfortunately splitting your application between 2 of the top 3 competitive programs is really unwise in today’s CaRMS environment. 

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9 minutes ago, FailureToThrive said:

Hi, I'm an M2 (soon to be M3) and my entire CV is pointing very clearly towards dermatology (research, volunteering, leadership activities, etc.)

I recently realized that I prefer ophthalmology over dermatology, and I have to pick my electives in less than a week. 

I am thinking of doing research and spending the ENTIRE summer shadowing in my home faculty's ophthalmology department (in order to get more facetime with my home faculty, which is where I have the most chances of matching seeing as I'm currently not a competitive applicant) but I plan on KEEPING my dermatology accomplishments because they're pretty cool (they're very much related to my hobbies like med tech, photography, etc. so I do want to be asked about them during an interview).

How should I organize my electives?

Since there's an 8 week elective cap, I was thinking of doing 8 weeks in ophthalmology and spend my remaining weeks in derm (approximately 4 weeks). Essentially, splitting between both specialties because I would like to match into ophthalmology but I also still like dermatology over other specialties/fm. My fear is that both dermatology and ophthalmology will think that I'm not a serious candidate for either specialty and I would risk going unmatched. Any advice?

Ophthalmology and Dermatology are quite different, so applying to both may harm your application to both. 

If you are interested in Ophthalmology, i would suggest sticking to just Ophthalmology and try to distant yourself from Dermatology going forth.

Like ZBL suggested, do some electives in Neurology or back-up with Family Medicine. 

Edited by ArchEnemy

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Well, I disagree with ZBL. You don’t know where lighting will strike. I applied to 3 fields, 2 of which were highly competitive. I knew that I would be personally and professionally fulfilled in all of the 3, so, in my mind, although I had to rank my choices, they were all equal. I was a gunner in one of the specialties which did not select me, and I was the least qualified of all Interviewees in the field that selected me, mainly because of my soft skills which led them to conclude I would be s good fit. Had I put all my eggs in one basket where I was a gunned, I likely would not have matched. I love the surgical specialty that selected me and I never considered it before M4.

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14 minutes ago, Bambi said:

Well, I disagree with ZBL. You don’t know where lighting will strike. I applied to 3 fields, 2 of which were highly competitive. I knew that I would be personally and professionally fulfilled in all of the 3, so, in my mind, although I had to rank my choices, they were all equal. I was a gunner in one of the specialties which did not select me, and I was the least qualified of all Interviewees in the field that selected me, mainly because of my soft skills which led them to conclude I would be s good fit. Had I put all my eggs in one basket where I was a gunned, I likely would not have matched. I love the surgical specialty that selected me and I never considered it before M4.

While this is a fair anecdote to bring up to show that things can work out well with multiple competitive application disciplines, to be equally fair it should also be noted that this occurrence is not particularly common - lightning strike as you said. 

CaRMS data indicate that not a single person matched to ophtho or derm as their second choice discipline in 2017 or 2018, and that generally applicants matching to ophtho or derm have at least 3 electives in that specialty. 

I think it’s more likely that you’d go unmatched than end up in a different competitive specialty as your backup, but obviously as Bambi has described there can be exceptions to the rule. 

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One thing to note is that I'm a Quebec student and I only plan on rotating/applying within Québec, while focusing on french schools primarily.

Most people I know who got into quebec schools have only done 1 stage in their specialty of choice (including competitive surgical specialties like ORL, and derm)... 

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36 minutes ago, FailureToThrive said:

One thing to note is that I'm a Quebec student and I only plan on rotating/applying within Québec, while focusing on french schools primarily.

Most people I know who got into quebec schools have only done 1 stage in their specialty of choice (including competitive surgical specialties like ORL, and derm)... 

I think that's important to note and does change the possibilities.  I know of other people who have had the exact experience wrt to derm vs ophtho as you and matched into ophtho in QC.  Obviously, getting research, etc. done would really be helpful and making sure you secure electives.  I think Neuro would be a better complement to ophtho vs derm, however.

I'm not sure if you'd have a competitive application in either outside QC, but at the end of the day where you do your residency doesn't matter that much.  

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5 hours ago, FailureToThrive said:

One thing to note is that I'm a Quebec student and I only plan on rotating/applying within Québec, while focusing on french schools primarily.

Most people I know who got into quebec schools have only done 1 stage in their specialty of choice (including competitive surgical specialties like ORL, and derm)... 

Wait, you mean like they literally only did one elective in competitive specialties and ended up matching? Or do you mean something else by stage? I thought that would be a rare exception, not something many people successfully do. Is matching in Quebec just less competitive in general? (sorry I know nothing :ph34r:)

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8 minutes ago, #YOLO said:

also quebec is a joke...its easy af to match to competitive specs...most quebec ppl i know got 0 interviews outside of their province for competitive surg specs. 

Quebec = Laval Sherbrooke UdeMontreal, not including McGill right? 

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35 minutes ago, #YOLO said:

i dont think u realized u like optho more than derm...i think u realized u just love cash moneyzzzz baby

nothing in common between Derm and Optha....lolz OP wants to get into the #1 highest paid field as opposed to the #2 highest paid field...

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25 minutes ago, YesIcan55 said:

nothing in common between Derm and Optha....lolz OP wants to get into the #1 highest paid field as opposed to the #2 highest paid field...

In terms of ratio of pay to amount of work/lifestyle - derm>ophtho any day - if I could do Mohs or more American-style Derm I would 100% do it. Canadian derm doesnt have nearly enough procedures to satisfy me. Surgical residency is still a surgical residency. 

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6 hours ago, #YOLO said:

i dont think u realized u like optho more than derm...i think u realized u just love cash moneyzzzz baby

Yeah that's the concern I have for applying to both, but I'm sure once the doctors get to know me, they will know that that's 100% not me haha.

They're actually strikingly similar:

1. visual diagnosis

2. they take care of the specific problem from start to end (relatively independent from other fields)

3. lots of procedures, a nice mixture between medical and surgical treatments

4. fast pace (you see a ton of patients every day, compared to something like internal med or psyc)

5. similar lifestyle (this is obviously a big factor, I care much more about time and flexibility than pay)

There's nothing quite like Ophthalmology, but I see derm as a cousin.

 

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16 hours ago, MedP111 said:

Wait, you mean like they literally only did one elective in competitive specialties and ended up matching? Or do you mean something else by stage? I thought that would be a rare exception, not something many people successfully do. Is matching in Quebec just less competitive in general? (sorry I know nothing :ph34r:)

A lot of people have successfully matched to very competitive specialties with a single elective at French-speaking schools in QC.

The pool of applicants is much smaller b/c of the language barrier.  Also - In the past grades were used which cuts down the pool even more.  

Now, with P/F I think the match in QC will experientially be very similar to ROC - depending on interview, electives/evaluations, LORs, research, interest, shadowing, ECs.

 Likewise, with the elective-cap, ROC also is experientially beginning to look more like QC.  

In theory, the current situation could create more opportunity for QC to ROC and vice-versa.  

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On ‎4‎/‎4‎/‎2019 at 6:32 PM, FailureToThrive said:

One thing to note is that I'm a Quebec student and I only plan on rotating/applying within Québec, while focusing on french schools primarily.

Most people I know who got into quebec schools have only done 1 stage in their specialty of choice (including competitive surgical specialties like ORL, and derm)... 

I did only 1 elective in a highly competitive surgical specialty and was chosen. There were 80 applicants, 40 interviewees, 3 residency spots. Most of the interviewees were gunners, lots of rotations, research, etc., however, not one of them got selected. Of all interviewees, on an objective basis of knowledge, I was probably the least qualified. However, based on my soft skills, I was considered to be an excellent fit! And their evaluation and selection proved to be correct, so the Panel knew what they were doing. On the other hand, I was a gunner in another field, which included a publication - I was interviewed and not selected. So, you never know where lightning is going to strike, and anything is possible. 

 

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