Tag Archives: Residency Interviews

Med Schools Hate When Students Have Jobs. Some People Take the Risk Anyway.

Share

Perhaps no school would recommend working during med school, but plenty of people do it.  

TL;DR

  • Sometimes, you just don’t want to take that extra loan money.  One option: a part time job.
  • But that is risky–the time you devote to that job could have been spent on studying, and perhaps could decrease your chances at those competitive residency programs.
  • But there are medical students who make the choice to work, and some jobs might even help your chances.
reject photo

Eliza wrote to us at theshortcoats@gmail.com because, as an older, married medical student with a young child in an expensive city, she wondered what our thoughts were on students who work during medical school.  We invited her on the show so M3 Nathen Spitz, M4s Abby Fyfe and Nick Lind, and M1 Grant Stalker could find out more about her choice to work as a therapeutic yoga teacher, and discuss some of the equity issues surrounding work during medical school.  And Nathen offers some ideas about paying jobs that can actually be a benefit to medical students in their academic lives.

We also discuss the Biden administration’s new mental health-focused initiatives, especially those focused on healthcare workers, as outlined in the president’s state of the union address. 

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Continue reading Med Schools Hate When Students Have Jobs. Some People Take the Risk Anyway.

Why Med Learners are Asked to “Reflect,” And What Does It Even Mean?

Share

How students should think about reflection when the word isn’t always well-defined.

TL;DR

  • Whether it’s a class assignment, a personal statement, or a scholarship essay, students are often commanded to reflect on their experiences.
  • Reflection is can be a useful part of understanding what you are becoming. But what that means and how to do it are frequently not well defined.
  • Our M4 co-hosts discuss whether their fears about the residency application process were well-founded or just wheel spinning.
reject photo

Listener Empirica Soberface (not her real name) called in to ask us about reflection–something medical learners are often asked to do during their education–saying that it doesn’t come naturally to her. So Dave invited Cate Dicharry, the director of the Writing and Humanities Program here at the Carver College of Medicine, to come on and give us her thoughts on this common assignment. M4s Emma Barr and Madeline Cusimano, M3 Ananya Munjal, and MD/PhD student Riley Behan-Bush are on hand to supply some of their ideas on how best to process what it is they’ve been becoming.

Emma and Madeline also discuss the fears they had about interviewing for their future residency jobs, the anxiety that many senior medical students are feeling right now, and whether their fears were realized or proven to be wheel-spinning.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Continue reading Why Med Learners are Asked to “Reflect,” And What Does It Even Mean?

Electronic residency Application Service Glitching…Again?

Share

More tales from Residency Interviews

TL;DR

  • Puzzled by the interviewer’s question? You can fumble around with the answer, or answer a question that wasn’t asked.
  • Did the Electronic Residency Application Service screw some applicants (again)?
  • We get to know this week’s cohosts using interview questions they might actually enjoy answering.

This episode is sponsored by Panacea Financial, a division of Primis, Member FDIC. See how they are helping med students and doctors with better banking built just for them at https://panaceafinancial.com/.

reject photo

We’re not going to lie: amid reports that ERAS is glitching yet again, this week’s episode is kind of a bitch fest. If you want to hear about the problems associated with medical education, this is the episode for you. And hey, if you thought that med school was hard simply because there’s a lot of studying, well, this ep will broaden your horizons a bit on that front.

To take the curse off all that crankiness, Dave decided to get to know his co-hosts with some questions that he recommends interviewers ask instead of “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Continue reading Electronic residency Application Service Glitching…Again?

Nothing is Out of Your League

Share

Stop gatekeeping yourself

TL;DR

  • A question Dave found on reddit inspired this week’s topic: is there any program or school that is “out of your league?”
  • Co-hosts recap their recent residency interview experiences.
  • We practice answering absurd residency interview questions.
reject photo

Today’s episode is sponsored by Panacea Financial, a division of Primis, Member FDIC. Check out their PRN Personal Loans to help cover board exams or application costs, with decisions in as little as 24 hours and great interest rates!

As usual, Dave was casting about for something to talk about on the show when he stumbled across a question by reddit user roboticnephrotomy who is worried about an ideal residency program being “out of his league.” M4s Nick Lind and Emma Barr, M1 Zach Shepard, and MD/PhD student Riley Behan explain why this is nonsense.

Nick and Emma discuss their first residency interviews, and Dave forces the whole crew to consider some of the more…well, ridiculous interview questions they might run across now or later in life.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Continue reading Nothing is Out of Your League

The Obscure Document Residency Programs Use to Decide If You’re Worthy

Share

The Medical Student Performance Evaluation (or dean’s letter) will be sent to all your potential employers. Let’s talk about what’s in it!

TL;DR

  • You may have heard of the dean’s letter. It’s sent to all residency programs, one of the things they’ll use to choose who to invite for an interview. But do you know what’s in it…and that it’s creation begins on your first day of med school?
  • YouTube announces blanket ban on vaccine misinformation, and axes the biggest misinformation peddlers.
  • Can The Short Coats pass the 2021 IgNobel Prize Winners Quiz?

Today’s episode is sponsored by Panacea Financial, a division of Primis, Member FDIC. Check out their PRN Personal Loans to help cover board exams or application costs, with decisions in as little as 24 hours and great interest rates!

To Dave, it sometimes feels like the process of medical education is as complex and opaque as the actual medical knowledge it works to impart to students. In this elaborate system, absolute transparency is difficult to achieve, but there’s one thing Dave thinks students should keep in the backs of their heads from day one: the medical student performance evaluation (MSPE, or ‘dean’s letter’). That’s because this document will be sent to all their future employers, including their residency programs. And those programs will use it (and other data applicants and colleges supply) to decide whether to invite you for an interview. Yet Dave has the impression that many don’t even know what’s in this important document–which includes comments from residents and attendings on their personal qualities and performance–until just before they begin to apply for residency! That’s a problem for some students who, upon reading it for the first time, find that there’s a pattern of behavior that they should have addressed long ago. Dave discusses what all students need to know about this important document.

Also, the 2021 IgNobel Prizes for improbable research have been awarded; YouTube bans all vaccine misinformation and the peddlers of bogus vax claims; and California begins using a controversial–but effective!–technique to help people who use drugs kick the habit: paying them to stay sober.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Continue reading The Obscure Document Residency Programs Use to Decide If You’re Worthy

Awesome, More application Hoops!

Share

Get ready for new application requirements (and to pay more money?)

TL;DR

  • CASPer seeks to help schools understand applicants’ non-academic and people skills. It’s never been validated, but more and more schools are using it.
  • Some residency programs have begun using ‘supplemental questions’ as so-called objective measures like STEP 1 and STEP 2 CS fall away.
  • Are these new hurdles useful? Or do they add to the burden of becoming a doctor for no reason?

Dave had never heard of CASPer before (Iowa doesn’t currently use it), so he was surprised to hear that a bunch of schools–and more all the time–are using it to outsource their judgements of applicants’ so-called ‘soft’ skills like ethics and collaboration. However, there are reasons to doubt CASPer’s utility, including that it’s not clear it’s actually measuring these things. And while it costs students a small amount per school (‘small’ being a relative term, especially if the student is cash-strapped), what does it cost the schools who use it and how much of that gets passed on in tuition?

And in their never-ending quest to find the ‘best’ applicants, residency programs are finding new ways to evaluate them, such as requiring answers to ‘supplemental’ questions that sound an awful lot like a secondary application. And the part that includes signaling the applicant’s program preference seems a wee bit suspicious to Dave, MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, M2 Nicole Hines, M2 AJ Chowdhury, and M4 Mackenzie Walhof.

And is Britney Spears being subject to reproductive coercion by her conservators?

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Continue reading Awesome, More application Hoops!

Did Match Day Implode?

Share

How did COVID affect the 2021 Match?

This week’s sponsor, Panacea Financial (Member FDIC) is giving away $500 to five students participating in the 2021 Match. Check it out!

Match Week is huge for senior medical students. It’s the week they find out if they will continue their training (yikes!), and where in the country they will go to complete it…and this year’s match was even more-than-usually anxiety provoking due to COVID.

Were our fears–of large numbers of unmatched applicants, programs with many unfilled positions, and students unfairly penalized by virtual interviews–realized? We try to figure it out with the stats available to us just an hour before recording.

This Week in Medical News

Some Grand Rapids, Michigan residents were very bad on Instagram. Hey, future and current students–keep other peoples resected organs off social media, and while you’re at it, you really aren’t supposed to take pictures in the OR without consent. M’kay?

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Is Medicine A Calling, or a Job?

Share

Which take on medicine is best for patients and provider mental health?

Dave and the gang–including M1s AJ Chowdhury and Alex Belzer; M4 Holly Conger; and MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk–take a look at the prevalent idea that medicine is a “calling,” somewhat like religion is for many. That’s an imperfect analogy, but there are parallels. People talk, for instance, about the sacrifices, the altruism, the service, and the requirement that doctors be at all times upstanding and display exceptional integrity. This view has some obvious benefits for the profession, including that its practitioners are laser focused on being the best physicians and people they can be.

But that view of physician-hood carries with it a lot of weight. When medicine is viewed as a calling, being a physician may become one’s primary identity. And when perfection remains frustratingly out of reach, the risk is that you’ll come to view yourself as a bad person and not as a doctor who is still learning. At least, that’s what Dave worries, but is it true?

Plus, Holly brings us up to date on life as an M4, especially her search for a residency position.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

“Preference Signaling” –the Future of Applications?

Share

Preference Signaling Tokens may be a way to combat over-applying for residencies, but the schemes have a ways to go yet before they’re ready for prime time.

Dear Residency Program: I love you. Do you love me? Check YES or NO!!!

Dave noticed something he’d never heard of before: a company offering ‘tokens’ (for a fee) that could be used by residency program applicants to signal their love for particular programs.  The general idea is to combat the common applicant strategy of applying to as many residency programs as possible to be sure  the applicant gets a match.  While this strategy is quite reasonable from the individual applicant’s perspective, it causes problems for both programs and the general body of applicants because those extra applications flood programs with candidates that may not actually be interested. 

Then he found out that the Otolaryngology Program
Directors Organization will be doing something similar, and Aline Sandouk, Eric Boeshart, Emma Barr, and Nicole Lacina explore a analysis of who wins and who looses in such a scheme.  

Plus Dave creates an educational game to help students plan how they’ll react to common odd situations.  And by educational, he clearly meant “educational.”

We Want to Hear From You

Do you think Preference Signalling is a good idea? What if medical schools adopts the idea?  Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a kick to hear from you!

More Signs that Med School Will Be Different This Fall

Share
Photo by lauralizzy13

[This episode is brought to you by Pattern. We hope you’ll check out their disability insurance offerings for docs at http://patternlife.com/partner/shortcoat.]

As many of us are, The Short Coats–including this week’s M1 co-hosts Nathen Spitz, Maddie Wahlen, and Caitlin Matteson–have been gazing into their cracked crystal ball to discover the new shape of medical school amid the pandemic. In a previous episode, the crew prognosticated on how interviews would change (and how you can be sure those changes won’t scuttle your chances for interview success), for instance…and it turns out we were right! Adding some certainty to that, the Association of American Medical Colleges has cancelled all its conferences until July of 2021. So yeah.

Sandgroper Largemun, an anonymous listener from Australia, wants to know some ways that he can stand out in medical school to land that choice residency. Good thing you wrote to us at theshortcoats@gmail.com, Sandgroper, because we have ideas for that!


This Week in Medical News

Dave thinks heartthrob Dr. Fauci’s sun is setting as a leading member of the President’s COVID-19 task force. What do you think?

We Want to Hear From You

Has your outlook changed at all since the lockdowns began? Are you feeling optimistic? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.