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Elective Location - Surgery


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Wondering thoughts on elective cap for 2021 graduates and elective location whilst pursuing two surgical specialties (GS + 1 surgical sub-specialty).

 

As someone who is interested in two surgical specialties but doesn't have ties to any place in particular for residency, what would be the recommendation for elective selection/location? Currently I am equally interested in General Surgery and a surgical sub-specialty. Would it make sense to equally distribute my electives across the two fields and spread the electives across the country?

 

Note: I am an M2 and thus things could definitely change depending on the programs/schools I am interested in, but just looking for some advice on how someone would organize their electives in the above scenario.

 

Much thanks! 

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I would think you would want to do electives where you think you will apply as they will get to know you otherwise than on paper and this will be helpful. You need not spread yourself across the country, but if for example you are in TO, go for an elective out West so all will see that you are truly flexible in location, but pick the location where you will likely apply. There is no way to judge where lightning will strike, I believe there is always a home school advantage. Also, think about where you will want to practice, have family and friends. Networking is important at all stages so consider this aspect as well. It is important to be flexible, I applied to one surgical specialty and 2 other fields, all of which I considered would make for a stimulating career, and I left it to others for the ultimate decision. Obviously, I had to rank my choices but in reality all 3 were equal in my mind. Good luck!

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2 hours ago, Bambi said:

I would think you would want to do electives where you think you will apply as they will get to know you otherwise than on paper and this will be helpful. You need not spread yourself across the country, but if for example you are in TO, go for an elective out West so all will see that you are truly flexible in location, but pick the location where you will likely apply. There is no way to judge where lightning will strike, I believe there is always a home school advantage. Also, think about where you will want to practice, have family and friends. Networking is important at all stages so consider this aspect as well. It is important to be flexible, I applied to one surgical specialty and 2 other fields, all of which I considered would make for a stimulating career, and I left it to others for the ultimate decision. Obviously, I had to rank my choices but in reality all 3 were equal in my mind. Good luck!

Thanks for your response Bambi. I have been following your posts and you give genuine advice for those interested in pursuing surgical specialties.

I find it difficult to spread myself broadly but I suppose after CC3 perhaps I’ll have a better understanding of my interests and the system to help tailor my elective approach. Side question: how important do you think shadowing physicians in the two different fields are? Most of my colleagues are shadowing quite routinely. Although I did this in first year to get a better sense of my interests, in second year with EC involvement, research and studying for upcoming exams, I find it difficult to find time shadowing. 

Thanks again!

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I personally find shadowing to be somewhat useful when it comes to small competitive specialties. It really shows dedication and it helps you network. You'll meet residents and staff by shadowing. If you are planning on applying to a specialty and you use a reference letter from your home school, try to shadow at your home school, ideally with your preceptor. This way, when they write your letter, they can mention that dedication. 

If you don't have time, ask yourself why. This is the best time to really assess your own capabilities and to push yourself. How much workload is too much for you? What will this workload be like in residency? This might help you make a specialty decision. 

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4 hours ago, Edict said:

I personally find shadowing to be somewhat useful when it comes to small competitive specialties. It really shows dedication and it helps you network. You'll meet residents and staff by shadowing. If you are planning on applying to a specialty and you use a reference letter from your home school, try to shadow at your home school, ideally with your preceptor. This way, when they write your letter, they can mention that dedication. 

If you don't have time, ask yourself why. This is the best time to really assess your own capabilities and to push yourself. How much workload is too much for you? What will this workload be like in residency? This might help you make a specialty decision. 

Currently I am just struggling to find time between 9-5 during the weekdays to shadow due to school, ECs and research. I definitely see your point though, Ill try to find some closer-knit contacts within these fields and form more longitudinal relationships. Thanks for the advice!

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I did some shadowing in one field, really to network in the field with a physician I knew impacted the selection process for CaRMS. Was it beneficial? I really don't know, but I got the interview I was after and cannot judge what impact, if any, this may have had. I did not shadow otherwise. I too had no time, even without ECs or research.

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