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Late decision to pursue OBs/GYN?

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Hi, I'm applying to CaRMS this cycle, and I just finished my OBs/GYN rotation and LOVED IT. I am seriously considering switching plans and applying to OBs/GYN. I was able to get a strong letter from a preceptor I worked with during this rotation, but the problem is that due to COVID students at my site weren't allowed in the OR. She let me scrub a few times on my last day with her but I wasn't very impressive since I'd never done it before. 

I really enjoyed this rotation but I'm worried it's too late to switch. Most of my electives are done, I just have one more pre-CaRMS in January and then 1-2 more after applications are due (which I guess could still count towards showing interest in the specialty?).

I was initially only applying to FM and a non-surgical specialty so all of my electives are in those. None of my research is related to OBs/GYN either. Is it possible to be a strong applicant for OBs/GYN if you haven't spent a lot of time in med school working on surgery-specific skills? The people I know who want to do surgical specialties have been working on those skills for a long time and I'm not sure if I stand a chance since I don't have those skills yet. 

Has anyone had success in a similar situation? Also, I know sometimes people transfer into different residency programs - is it unlikely to be able to go from a non-surgical to a surgical specialty?

Thank you!


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I applied into OBGYN as a super late interest (like fell in love with it a couple weeks before CaRMS closed late interest) and applied in with an application that screamed psychiatry and/or family medicine... and I was interviewed. I wrote a strong personal letter talking about how I had fallen in love with this discipline I'd never even considered before and how my core OBGYN rotation happened right before CaRMs closed and that's where I discovered I really unexpectedly liked OBGYN. I hadn't done my surgical rotation at the time I applied and interviewed in Carms. So I had zero surgical skills aside from the couple weeks I spent on an OBGYN core rotation, zero electives in OBGYN (all my electives were done at that point) and zero research in OBGYN. I wasn't even a member of the OBGYN interest group. I was just a clerk who showed up, worked really hard, was unapologetically enthusiastic to learn and honest when I said to my various preceptors "I never thought I would like this, but I really really love it. It's a problem because I really want to apply for this residency even though it's a late interest and OBGYN is competitive and I don't even have an elective. I know it's a Hail Mary but if I don't try I will regret it - will you help me pull this off by writing me a good letter?"

It was a great experience to interview for it and everyone was very kind when they found out my story and really went out of their way to give me honest and realistic answers to my questions and to give me a really honest account of what my life would look like if I matched to a OBGYN/Surgical residency. I eventually decided it wouldn't be the best fit for my life at this point and wound up ranking and matching to psychiatry as my first choice discipline (with no regrets) but OBGYN was in my rank list and I will forever have really fond memories of that rotation/discipline.

Obviously CaRMS is never a guarantee and what worked one year may not work every year or with every program but if you really truly love it then apply for it. Write an honest personal letter talking about why you love it and how you came to love it as a late interest. You may match to it or you may not, but I wouldn't let the fear of getting a "no" stop you from going after the "yes". Program directors want good residents who work hard and want to be there. Being a pleasant, enthusiastic and hard working resident is not discipline specific, it's a combination of personality and personal values - good program directors know that. Everything else is teachable. 

As for residency transfer... transfers are a shot in the dark but not impossible. Few of them overall are successful but there are still plenty of stories of unlikely transfers working out so, again, no reason not to try for it if it's something you really want (and if you don't match to OBGYN in CaRMS).

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Don't worry about the competition, just focus on yourself. Gunners do not necessarily win I have learned from my happy experience. I may be an outlier, but with virtually no surgical experience, I landed a residency spot in a small surgical specialty, beating out the competition, and am now entering the practice. I wish you every success. I sent you a PM. :P

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