APPLICATION YEARMS 4 and Beyond
Now that you have decided to pursue a career in orthopedic surgery, it’s time to apply for a residency position. This is the year that everything comes together. You will be tired. You will be anxious. But it’s going to be awesome!
There are a lot of aspects to juggle this year. Here are the big four.
1. subinternship/away rotations
This is where the rubber meets the road. You’ve set up your rotations and now it’s time to get yourself out there! Spending an extended period with a particular residency will give the program a solid impression of who you are and your potential. Get up to speed with your orthopedic knowledge. MSK is not well covered in medical school so you will have to spend extra time familiarizing yourself with the topic. Prepare academically to the best of your ability but remember to be a real person who can interact well with your fellow mankind.
2. the Application
The good old paperwork. This part may seem tedious but if you don’t submit all the required forms by the correct deadline, you just simply won’t get in! Introduce yourself to your application administrative staff and buy them some chocolate, cookies, etc. No matter how well you plan ahead, you will likely have to ask for some favors.
It probably seems like only yesterday that you were writing a personal statement for medical school! But believe it or not, you have grown a lot. Start drafting your statement early because applications will be due while you are in full away rotation mode. It will be hard to switch gears when you are waking up early to pre-round and staying up late reading for cases.
Start early on your letters of recommendation as well. Hopefully you’ve fostered some mentorships during the prior years of medical school. Start requesting letters from them at the beginning of the year. You’ll also likely need letters from attendings you meet on your away rotations. It may feel strange asking for a letter from someone you’ve known only for a couple weeks but if you have done a good job, they deal with the time frame every year and will still be able to provide a good letter.
Step 2 or Level 2 will also need to be completed this year. Do well (especially if you didn’t do great on the first one) and do it early.
3. The interview
Never underestimate the power of a good interview. After months of integrating quickly into a busy service and quietly making a reputation for yourself, the interview is a completely different animal. Now is your chance to confidently tell your potential colleagues and future mentors who you are and why you deserve a spot. Applications begin to look very similar after you read enough of them but a good impression on an interview day can really set you apart. The best part of interviews is how predictable they are, lending themselves to preparation.
See our blog posts on interviews below.
Four steps to a successful residency interview.read more
What not to say during an interview.read more
How to “show not tell” during an interviewread more
Top 10 questions asked during residency interviews. Be prepared to answer these on the interview trail.read more
4. Have a backup plan
The hard reality is that orthopedic surgery is a very competitve specialty. Many very qualified and excellent candidates go unmatched. While it may be tempting to ignore this until the dire end. Don’t get to match day without a backup plan!
See our blog posts on the topic below:
In Episode 5, I talk to Ayesha Yahya, who will be an intern at WellSpan York Hospital this year. She has had an unconventional road to orthopedics. Ayesha started her career as a researcher and got into medicine unsure of what specialty she would pursue. Recently,...read more
Words of advice from a research fellow turned orthopedic resident. How a research fellowship can be an alternative pathway for orthopedic hopefuls who don’t match straight out of medical school.read more
A one to two year orthopedic research fellowship is an alternative pathway for pursuing orthopedic surgery for those interested in academic medicine or who don’t match directly into an orthopedic surgery residency.read more
When should you do a traditional rotating internship? Tips and tricks on how to optimize your chances at matching into orthopedic surgery as an intern.read more
Come up with a backup plan. What you can do now to prepare for the possibility of not matching into an orthopedic surgery residency.read more
This year will be challenging. When you get tired of sleeping in different beds every few weeks and introducing yourself to new people every few days, it can be easy to lose track of why we signed up for this whole doctor thing in the first place. But! remember that this year is not just a means to an end. Soak it up.