Match Day (March 18th for 2022) is a monumental moment in a physician’s career. It signifies the day when medical students learn the institution where they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives, depending on specialty, training as a resident physician.
There is a tremendous amount of work, accomplishment and anxiety heading into Match Day, including for those students who unfortunately will not match. Conversely, for those who do match successfully, there is a sense of closure, knowing they’ll soon be heading to residency.
The time between making a match and starting training around July 1 will pass in the blink of an eye. That’s why – after celebrating Match Day – it’s important for residents-to-be to plan for what comes next.
Here are seven essential steps to use to prepare for what happens after Match Day:
- Connect with your new program leadership.
This includes the program director, program coordinator, chief/senior residents, memorable interviewers and/or faculty that share clinical or research interests. They will all be excited to hear from you and get to know you. A short email, text, phone call or Zoom call can act as perfect icebreakers.
- Prepare to receive, finalize and review your residency contract.
There usually isn’t much to negotiate, but you’ll receive all your onboarding materials from your residency program by email or mail. This will include several key items and paperwork. Ensure you sign your contract!
- Pass it on.
Share feedback and key lessons learned during the recruitment cycle with underclassmen at your medical school (particularly the MS3s who will soon start their residency application process). You will have a fresh perspective on the latest match cycle, which makes you an expert.
- Thank and spend time with family/friends/mentors.
Intern year is busy. Take advantage of the time leading up to residency to catch up with all those individuals who mean the most to you and who helped you reach this point.
- Prepare to move.
Unless you’re staying at the same institution for residency, get ready and start planning logistics for relocating, whether it is across town or across the country. This includes finding a place to live, planning transportation and moving accommodations. Also be sure to manage your finances as your first paycheck may not be received for several months (and loan money and/or credit cards may or may not cover the gap).
- Don’t learn more medicine.
There will be plenty of time for this during residency. Your program will prepare you during orientation for whatever rotation you will start as an intern. Medicine will be the rest of your life. Do anything but medicine during this time.
- Have fun.
You’ve worked hard your entire life, and you’ll soon be working even harder. Do things you love but weren’t able to take full advantage of the last few years of medical school. Try to be outside as much as possible (because many hours working inside the hospital are in your future).
Most importantly, get excited for the next step in your journey as a physician. In just a few short months, you will be someone’s doctor. Congratulations on achieving this incredible milestone!
Jason Reminick, MD, MBA, MS is the CEO and Founder of Thalamus (https://thalamusgme.com), the premier cloud-based interview management platform for graduate medical education (GME) training programs. He is passionate about medical innovation, education and technology, with publications in leading medical journals including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), The Journal of Graduate Medical Education (JGME) and Anesthesia and Analgesia. He matched during a particularly unique recruitment season disrupted by Hurricane Sandy and has been working to innovate the UME to GME transition ever since.