Confused about how residency matching works? Here is a brief break down of how the strategy and residency match process plays out. Every medical student needs to know how to go the extra mile to succeed in CaRMS.
What is the Match?
Explaining how it works can get a little complicated. In Canada, the match is a national search that is held every year (the US has one as well at around the same time of year). It is when teaching hospitals across the country set about hiring doctors out of med schools. You can think of it as a job interview, but with extra steps.
It is considered an essential part of a physician’s training. Residency matching is where you will develop the skills and knowledge connected with your specialty. If you have the goal of being a family-oriented general practitioner, you still need to specialize in general practice. It is during your residency that you will have the guidance, additional studies, and on the spot learning to hone your skills over several years. The critical difference between this stage of your studies and the previous ones at med schoolis that this time you will have a salary.
The match is definitely a high-pressure time in your life. Some students have reported it to be like trying to get into med school all over again. The complexity and scale of this process are such that a CARMS residency matching strategy session is recommended so that the process is more manageable and altogether smoother. This is usually the route students select because if they do not match – meaning the program chooses them, and they choose the program in return – they have to wait a year before trying again.
How Does a Match Happen?
Firstly, your school must certify your eligibility to match. Then you enter the program and select your future employers/teachers. That might sound straightforward, but there is a lot of decision making and research that has to happen before the selection. The residency directors go through the applicants rigorously, and their selection methodology can be very opaque. This is why strategy sessions are recommended.
You should make sure your med school has adequately prepared you for the process. The more you know about how the directors make their choices, the better armed you will be to meet their criteria. Match programs provide data, and you can use this for a comprehensive data-driven strategy.
The admissions process for medical school and the selection procedure for the residency of your choice is not as formidable as it sounds. There are many tools at your disposal to help you along the way if you seek it out. The most important part of the system is that you have begun to do your research on the subject already, which is a point in your favour.
Don’t be intimidated by any of the data you encounter in your search for a good match. cIt’s only been put there to test your resolve.