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Starfish31415

Unmatched....Is it still possible to specialize?

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Hoping for advice from anyone w experience applying to CaRMS a second time around. So I unfortunately went unmatched Thursday after applying broadly to anesthesia. I had a good number of interviews but I guess they didn't go as well as I thought. Our school's dean essentially told us that family and pathology are our only (realistic) chances at entering medicine now. But after 2 years of dreaming of a specialty where I might go on to do a fellowship in critical care, it's extremely difficult to switch gears and focus on family medicine for 2nd iteration. 

So I wanted to ask... is it true that once you're unmatched there's an almost negligible chance you'll be able to enter a semi-competitive specialty? Even if I did another year of electives/research, would the stigma of having been unmatched negate all the additional work/experience I have over other applicants? 

Thanks in advance!

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2 minutes ago, Starfish31415 said:

Hoping for advice from anyone w experience applying to CaRMS a second time around. So I unfortunately went unmatched Thursday after applying broadly to anesthesia. I had a good number of interviews but I guess they didn't go as well as I thought. Our school's dean essentially told us that family and pathology are our only (realistic) chances at entering medicine now. But after 2 years of dreaming of a specialty where I might go on to do a fellowship in critical care, it's extremely difficult to switch gears and focus on family medicine for 2nd iteration. 

So I wanted to ask... is it true that once you're unmatched there's an almost negligible chance you'll be able to enter a semi-competitive specialty? Even if I did another year of electives/research, would the stigma of having been unmatched negate all the additional work/experience I have over other applicants? 

Thanks in advance!

A classmate of mine went unmatched last year to a highly competitive surgical specialty. He took a year to improve his applications, and was able to match to that surgical specialty this year. It is definitely not impossible. But in the second round, this classmate of mine backed up with Family Medicine.

In regards to the stigma of going unmatched, I think preceptors are starting to realize that there are more and more capable candidates who are going unmatched, and are less likely to judge them before working with them.

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Hold up, if you want critical care then why all the talk of doing another year of med school before seriously pursuing round 2? There’s an anesthesia spot left over and a bunch of IM spots which can also lead to critical care

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19 minutes ago, ZBL said:

Hold up, if you want critical care then why all the talk of doing another year of med school before seriously pursuing round 2? There’s an anesthesia spot left over and a bunch of IM spots which can also lead to critical care

Definitely going to apply second iteration. That anesthesia spot is a long shot though. And I'm going to try to go for IM as well but it'll be hard with a CV so geared to another specialty. Right now just trying to figure out if I would be truly okay saying goodbye to specializing if I were to match to family second iteration

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1 hour ago, Starfish31415 said:

Definitely going to apply second iteration. That anesthesia spot is a long shot though. And I'm going to try to go for IM as well but it'll be hard with a CV so geared to another specialty. Right now just trying to figure out if I would be truly okay saying goodbye to specializing if I were to match to family second iteration

I am so sorry to hear that you went unmatched this year. I actually applied to anesthesia and IM and had good number of interviews in both specialties and matched to anesthesia. It is definitely possible to parallel plan with these two specialties well. pm me If you want to chat 

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It is most certainly a possible option to still get your choice next year. You will hear many things. Some physicians will tell you that going unmatched in this new era means nothing, they don't care about it due to the current issues. Some older physicians will tell you however that you are damaged goods. It hurts. You will also realize however when talking to alot of these physicians that they have really no idea how the new match system works or how you should rank programs. I had many people tell me not to waste my time with my top choice this year, Radiology, as it was too competitive. If you truly know how the match works you know that ranking long shots above realistic expectations WILL NOT HURT YOU. 

I'm glad I did not listen and tried to not get discouraged as I matched to Radiology this year. Your biggest support will be a mentor in the field, if you don't already have one find one quick, preferably at your home school.

I also heard alot that I should just "settle" and do Family medicine, the funny thing is that I received zero interviews as I applied across the country for Family. Family is a great choice but I knew I wouldn't be happy doing it and no one wanted me for it. Despite references and electives in family the climate for the match has changed, it's a different world and it's alot about luck and who you know. It's an unfortunate situation. 

Please keep your head up high, it will be the worst year but you'll get through it. Now that I've matched my wife and I plan to do some advocacy work. No one wants to rock the boat while waiting to match the next year, don't. Hopefully those of us that matched after not and our colleagues can push for the change that's needed.

For reference, my school offered minimal support so I could not do electives. I continued working with a mentor in research, attempted to do a Masters which funding flopped on and needed to support my wife and kids. You will have the worst time getting a job as an MD. I eventually found employment but they threatened to fire me if I went to residency interviews... I quit. I'm very happy now but still looking for ways to make some money until July. Sold my car, left our rental to live with family. LOC maxed. It's been a heck of a year.

Lean on family and friends for support.

Good luck and God Bless.

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@silvantes Thanks for sharing! That sounds like the most difficult year ever, but i'm glad everything worked out for you in the end! The emotional and psychological toll of doing a 5th year is definitely the biggest barrier to taking that path for me. Talking to people at my school, it seems like every other person is struggling with some form of anxiety/mood challenges, regardless of match results. Can only imagine how much worse it would be to do a 5th year with minimal support.

Thanks everyone else for your input as well :) I think I will request a meeting with my home school's PD, just to get a sense of what the climate is like in anesthesia for unmatched applicants, before making a decision. 

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6 hours ago, ana_safavi said:

Have you thought of FM-anesthesia?

I've definitely been giving serious thought to that! Unfortunately it seems +1 docs won't see many of the aspects that I find the most interesting and which drew me to the specialty in the first place. The exception of course being extremely remote places where anything goes. 

Definitely an option tho... we'll see come April 11th :S 

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