Full Episode Transcript

Hello and welcome to the very first episode of the Road to Rank podcast. My name is Dr. Steven Krueger and I’m here to give you advice for a successful residency match! Thank you so much for tuning in today. I am so excited to get this thing started. My goal today is to tell you about myself and my plan to get you into residency. We do have a lot to cover though, so let’s dive right in! I grew up outside of Boston, I did my undergrad at Boston College, and then I went straight into medical school at the University of Massachusetts. I applied to residency during the 2017-2018 cycle, and successfully matched into dermatology as well as a competitive transitional year internship program. With residency applications still pretty fresh in my mind, my goal now is to guide medical students along what I’m calling the Road to Rank, starting with the preclinical years all the way through to Match Day. I’ll be speaking mostly about my experiences in the dermatology match specifically, but my hope is that students preparing to apply to any of the competitive medical or surgical specialties will benefit from these tips. Admittedly, this is my first time recording a podcast, so bear with me as I figure this all out! I’m doing this to share my thoughts on a crazy process with what I assume will be a pretty small but incredibly talented audience. And on that note, has anyone told you lately how impressive you are for being in this position right now? If not, you’ve come to the right place, because I’ll be doing a lot of that in the episodes that follow. My goal is to motivate you, to make you realize that you have what it takes to match into the specialty of your choice, and most importantly to ease your anxiety without causing any more of it! Now I do want to give my main disclaimer which you’ll hear from me over and over again, which is that what’s contained in this podcast is my advice only and should definitely not be taken as an end-all-be-all. The truth is there are many roads to a successful match, and mine is not the only one! I always tell med students they should be asking ten different people for their opinions on key decisions during this process, and then go with whatever feels right for you. You should be talking to as many different people about career-related advice as possible. Talk to upperclassmen, recent grads, residents, attendings, and ask them about absolutely anything career-related, from things like what to do with your summer after first year, to boards studying techniques, to third year and fourth year clerkship scheduling, to the VSAS and ERAS systems, interviews, recommendation letters, the pre-interview dinners and interview days, even post-interview communication, and then of course setting up your rank list. Even while I was in the process of finalizing my rank list, I was still calling the previous year’s grads and asking them about how they approached their lists and any advice they may have had for me. So with that important piece out of the way, let’s turn to some NRMP (that’s the National Resident Matching Program for those who don’t know) statistics for the 2018 match. I think this provides a pretty good idea of what applicants are up against these days. In 2018, the number of people who registered for the match reached an all-time high of almost 44,000 people, for 33,000 total positions. Let me give you a quick breakdown of some of the notoriously competitive specialties. Let’s start with orthopedic surgery. So in 2018, there were only about 740 spots offered for 1000 applicants. For dermatology, there were 420 or so spots for 650 applicants. For the plastic surgery integrated residency, there were about 170 spots for 230 applicants. And for vascular surgery, there were only 60 spots offered for 90 applicants. So this all sounds pretty intense, right? But it’s not all gloom and doom, I promise! Here’s the good news: over the past five years, the number of available residency spots has actually been steadily increasing! So for example, from 2014 to 2018, vascular surgery offered 9 additional spots, plastic surgery offered 35 more spots, derm offered 46 new spots, and orthopedics offered 47 new spots to residency applicants. Okay, so armed with this information, here’s the roadmap of what’s to come in this podcast. In the coming episodes, I’ll be discussing a number of topics. I’ll start with the preclinical years, then research & publications. We’ll do an episode on the fifth year option, away rotations, fourth year scheduling, and how to build your network. We’ll also talk about the application process and letters of recommendation, your prelim programs, how to approach the interview day, and of course setting up your rank list. If you’re lucky, I may even wrap all this up with a motivational speech, so get excited! I think most of the information I talk about in this podcast should stay relevant for many years to come, but you should know that subtle changes in the process are always happening. I want to try my best to keep these episodes short and to the point, so let me end here for now. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time by emailing steven@roadtorank.com. I’d love to hear your feedback so that I can improve and keep delivering useful content. You can also ask me just about anything, and I’ll do my best to respond to you as soon as possible, though I am still a busy resident. I’m also going to make it a priority to answer listener questions during these episodes, so please send all your questions my way. So without further ado, let’s get started. First up on the Road to Rank is an episode on the preclinical years. I hope to see you there!