On Tuesday February 8th, we hosted a Twitter Spaces panel with four amazing interns who shared their thoughts on how to create a rank list. We also welcomed a stellar guest moderator from the Medical Student Pride Alliance, Wyatt Moss. As the deadline of March 2nd approaches for rank list submission and certification, we wanted to share some of their thoughts in a format that can be accessed at any time. We have compiled notes from the session and included some recommendations below. Special thanks goes out to our intern panelists for sharing their time and wisdom with us.
Key Take Away Points
Dr. Farrah-Amoy Fullerton: Be yourself! Don't pretend to be someone you aren't because you'll have to keep pretending to be that person for 3 years. You don't need that extra stress during residency.
Dr. Kevin Chiang: Put your happiness first, above everything else. Make sure your rank list reflects what you value most. The things you can do outside of the hospital for your wellness are as important as the program itself.
Dr. Rieffe Dia: Go with your gut. At the end of the day you want to be happy with your day to day life because no matter where you go, you will be working hard in residency.
Dr. Keisha Odunze: Trust the process, you will end up where you are meant to be. Whatever your non-negotiables are, stick to them, be true to yourself.
What aspects of your personal identity did you consider as you were creating your rank list?
Start by asking yourself: Who am I? What makes me, me? How will I feel most supported inside and outside of the hospital?
Once you have asked the above questions, begin to examine how residencies have shown support for residents and patients with identities similar to your own.
For one panelists, having a supportive environment meant identifying people within the residency program that could act as mentors.
For another, this meant identifying Black mentors within the program who could share the experience of being Black in healthcare and pediatrics.
Multiple panelists agreed that asking about how patients, who you share identities with, are cared for at the program. This helped them identify the programs actual commitment to a diverse and supportive working environment.
Look at what makes you happy outside of the hospital. How do the communities that the programs are in fulfill what will make you happy, even (and especially) the little things.
For one panelist, proximity to their favorite fast food, Popeye's was a little thing that regularly contributes to their wellness.
For another panelist, access to good food, brunch spots, and opportunities to hit the city to relax was very important. Other panelists agreed that the opportunity to work hard and play hard was very important.
For another panelist, considering proximity to family and friends was very important. At the end of the day, the people you can easily go home to at the end of the day can make or break your residency experience.
Finally, consider those little pet peeves you have, what little things will drive you crazy? For some, this may be the call schedule or the amount of time allotted for didactics.
Now that you are at your program, do you think that the virtual interview/second look/etc. gave you an accurate picture of the program? Is there something else you wish you would have considered when making your rank list?
All panelists agreed that there were some major pros and cons to the virtual process:
Pros: Much less expensive recruitment season for applicants and easier to schedule interviews as travel wasn't necessary.
Cons: Harder to gauge the vibe at programs and the vibe of the cities they are in.
One panelist mentioned that the resident vibe drove the top 5 programs on his list. He found that seeing how residents interacted on the socials and reaching out to speak to individual residents really helped get a better vibe for the program.
One panelist found a lot of guidance from the important people in her life including friends and family. She recommended asking these important people "which interviews did I leave the most excited from?" She also recommended asking yourself the same question, what interviews and socials gave you the most life?
All panelists agreed that now is the time to trust your gut, make your decision, and stick to it. Get out there and relax until match day. As cliché as it is, you will end up where you are meant to be, even if that isn't your #1 program.
The panelists all shared a few key items they would have considered differently:
Do: consider the call schedule. Do you prefer 24's or night float. How much cross-coverage do residents have while on electives?
Don't: worry as much about specific rotations, pretty much all programs have the same rotations in varying orders as they have to comply with ACGME standards.
Do: follow your gut and strongly consider the vibe of the program and your happiness above all else.
Don't: stress about that spreadsheet you made with all the program information. In the end, most panelists felt that didn't have significant utility when making their final decisions.
For more specific considerations, check out our prior blog post by Dr. Kevin Chiang. He details a great list of factors to consider along the way.
How did you assess the IMG/DO/Queer/URiM/etc. friendliness of programs prior to ranking? What did programs do to make you feel seen/affirmed in your identity?
All of our panelists enthusiastically agreed that actions speak louder than words. What are programs doing to recruit and support IMG/DO/Queer/URiM/etc. residents?
You want to ensure that programs are ready to invest in you as a blossoming pediatrician. Will they continue to support you after match day as you launch your career?
Ask specifically about diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and expect specific responses.
Ask about the program's response to the pandemic and how supported residents have felt.
Ask about opportunities for advocacy efforts and the diversity of the patient population. What supports are in place to serve patients who are marginalized by the healthcare system?
Take a look at program websites where they feature residents. How many DO's, IMG's, or URiM folks are represented?
One panelist found that some programs were ready to admit that they were not as diverse or DO/IMG friendly as they would like to be. She found that their responses to how they planned to change that spoke volumes. So don't be afraid to ask the tough questions.
Find residents with whom you share an identity or experience and ask them directly about how supported they feel at the program. Ask them about how they feel as a member of the the team, do they feel included and valued by their colleagues?
Along with our panelists, we at FPR want to wish everyone the best of luck creating rank lists and with the Match on March 18th. We love to hear from you all, so please reach out via email or social media with any questions.
- Tyler & Adaobi