Medical Match-maker, make me a Match!

After 4 long years of blood, sweat and (for some) tears, thousands of graduating medical students will be matched with residency programs today, March 15th, Match Day. These assignments, typically starting in July, will further their medical training for the next three to five years, which is as intense as the match process itself.

Graduating medical students are put through extensive interviews with potential programs and fill out cumbersome applications. The top picks for medical centers and the students are entered into a computer program to make the assignments using an algorithm, all in the name of fairly matching the freshly minted resident and the residency program.

So how do they transition from student to resident? It is exciting, but it can also be uncomfortable as they become self-aware of their gaps of knowledge, but any deficits are often identified early on so that development and training plan can address the resident’s unique learning needs. Naturally, there is also a lot of change in a short amount of time. The Association of American Medical Colleges offers these “Transition Tips”:

Manage Your Finances

  • Determine when and how you will be paid—weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. If direct deposit is available, take advantage of it — it’s the easiest way to have your paycheck deposited into your bank account.
  • Understand the repayment terms and relative cost of your loans in your portfolio. Take full advantage of your borrower rights. If you have questions, contact your loan servicer(s).
  • Establish a system for maintaining financial records. Get organized. Review the Debt Management Relies on Good Record-Keeping fact sheet.
  • Determine your insurance needs. What type of insurance do you need — disability, accident, life, malpractice, or another type of insurance?  How much insurance will you need?
  • Create a budget. Budgeting will help you live within your means. Review the Budgeting Basics: Managing Your Money During the Lean Years fact sheet.
  • Establish financial goals. Having goals will help you focus and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve your goals.
  • Determine your housing needs. Weigh and consider the advantages and disadvantages of renting vs. buying.

Manage Your Time

Develop a healthy work/life balance. Determine your work/duty hours as well as any vacation time that is available to you. Take time for yourself.

Know your employer’s policies. Learning the details regarding sick leave, FMLA, maternity/paternity, military service leave, and other types of benefits can help you should you need to take advantage of these employer benefits. Understanding how your employer’s continuing medical education policy can also help you prepare for future expectations.

Survival Tips

  • Read major texts and journals specific to your area of training. You won’t have time to read everything.
  • Leave the hospital on your time off and do something that you enjoy.
  • Exercise professionalism always. Remember: you are part of a health care team

General Tips

  • Make a copy of your diploma before framing it.
  • Read your contract carefully.
  • Keep track of student loan information. Utilize the MedLoans® Organizer and Calculator (MLOC).
  • Save money and prepare for USMLE Step III.
  • Know what support services are available. Your residency program coordinator can assist you.

To celebrate Match Day, some physician organizations are jointly hosting online celebrations using #Match2019. Participants and the medical education community will be posting pictures, videos, and congratulatory messages. If you have any pictures or stories of Match Day 2019 in Arizona, send them our way and we’ll include them in a future blog. After all, these students are the future of medicine in our state. And together, with them, we hope to take another step toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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