Allopathic Emergency Medicine Residency

Q:  How did I decide on Emergency Medicine?

  • I was a paramedic for almost 10 years prior to med school and I went to medical school with the express purpose of becoming and EM physician.

Q:  How long did the application & interview process take me?

  • My first interviews were at the end of Sept of ’08 and my last interview was Jan of 09, there were 10 interviews in all that I went to.

Q:  What was I looking for in a residency program?

  • Large volume, strong EMS component, plentiful peds, trauma and critical care.  A place where the EM residency was strong and well established.

Q:  Did I register for both allopathic and osteopathic ERAS sites?

  • Yes I looked at both MD and DO EM programs

Q:  How did I decide between pursing an allopathic or an osteopathic residency?

  • Although there were a few DO EM programs that met my criteria for what I wanted, far too many were at community hospitals (not tertiary care centers) with low ED volumes (some less than 40,000 visits per year) that simply didn’t allow you to see enough types of pathology and were didn’t have the academic support or resources available to the MD programs.

Q:  How many programs did I apply to?  

  • I had started looking at EM/IM before settling on EM categorical, but all said and done I sent out something like 25 ERAS applications

Q:  How many of these programs did I rotate at during 3rd and 4th years?

  • I rotated at 5 of the places I sent applications to.

Q:  How many programs offered me an interview?  When did I schedule my interviews?

  • I was offered interviews at about 22/26 of the places I sent in applications.  I scheduled most of my interviews for Nov/Dec

Q:  Did I cancel any interviews?  How did I go about cancelling interviews?

  • I cancelled about 12 interviews (mostly for EM/IM programs I was no longer interested in and the DO programs I didn’t want to go to after closer examination).  To cancel an interview I simply sent an e-mail to the program and then withdrew my application from the program on ERAS.

Q:  What is a (insert specialty) Residency interview like?  Any interviewing tips?

  • Most EM interviews seemed fairly laid back, although after a while the programs all sounded the same.  If you like a program something just clicks and you know so fairly quickly,

Q:  Did I go on any second-looks?  How did I schedule my second-looks?

  • I went on one second look, simply because I had rotated at most of my other top choices.  I called the program and arranged for a day to shadow in the ED and talk to the program director again.

Q:  When did I decide on my rank order list?

  • I knew my rank order list after I was done my last interview about 6 weeks prior to needing to submit my list.

Q:   Where did I match?

  • Penn State-Hershey Medical Center Emergency Medicine Program.

Q:  Any other comments that would be helpful for those applying to my specialty

  • As much as you would like these tips to help, I think they are only useful in the broadest of strokes since the match (at least the allopathic match) is very nebulous and to be honest I never felt like I got a great read off of anyone.  Places I thought liked me didn’t and places I thought I had made a mediocre impression liked me a great deal.  There is still a great deal of randomness in this whole process so besides telling the students to work hard, make a good impression by rotating at a place and getting good letters...who knows.