COVID 19 Interfering with student seeking residency positions.

COVID 19 Interfering with student seeking residency positions.

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We have all been affected by covid but until my last MS4 student rotation, the true realization of multiple concerns taxing students. Outside rotations are required to enable the student to introduce themselves and display their skills to program directors. This insight provides the prospective resident about the residency and program director.

Hospitals and schools are prohibiting these outside rotations. Canceling them with as little as a weeks notice, sending the student scrambling to fill this valuable needed time and possibly changing to alternative less desired specialty programs. The following are words from a prospective Ophthalmology resident.

“During the COVID crisis healthcare has been turned on its head for 4th year medical students, this made the tradition of away rotations; a part of residency application which allows students as well as residency programs to get to know applicants on a more persona basis, a very difficult task. With the constant ebbs and flows of the COVID pandemic, federal and local governmental restrictions are also fluid. This has resulted in cancellations of rotations with short notice. Of course, these cancellations are out of the control of the rotational programs as well as the medical students vying for rotation spots. We must all do our part in fighting the pandemic. The issue is that this situation leaves students with doubt and anxiety I. How to obtain rotation spots as well as exposure into the fields that they want to enter. As a 4th year osteopathic medical student applying for ophthalmology, audition rotations are a very important piece of our application. To be a successful ophthalmology applicant, one must demonstrate absolute excellence in academics and research. In addition, excelling in audition rotations give program directors a chance to see how we function in applying our earning to real-life workflow that ophthalmologists encounter in the clinic and operating room. In addition, audition rotations are an opportunity for students to obtain strong letters of recommendations for their applications. With the problematic nature of audition rotations this year, program directors may not get the chance to see in person the number of applicants they had in the past. This leaves the student unable to obtain an audition rotation at a disadvantage.

n my case I have been cultivating my application for ophthalmology before and during medical school. I have achieved a top quintile rank in my medical school and scored 97th percentile on national board examinations. In addition, I have authored 3 publications in high impact journals, one book chapter in an ophthalmology textbook, and 2 obstructs which were presented at national ophthalmology conferences. All that was left for me to try and compile the best application possible for ophthalmology was to secure audition rotations and perform to the best of my ability. While preparing for audition rotation season during my 4th year I have had numerous cancellations of rotations which I had previously been accepted for, some with as short as a one-week notice. In addition, medical schools around the country are limiting the number of audition rotations that a student can undergo in order to help prevent the spread of COVID. With the cases of COVID beginning to rise again, it is not out of the question that all rotations (even local home rotations) for medical students shut down once again. This is not a problem that is contained to applicants of ophthalmology. Medical students applying for all specialties are facing the same issues with rotations. With these truly novel circumstances facing 4th year medical students, it will be interesting to see how residency matching is affected during the cycle of 2021.”

I have always promoted residencies, either by advocating for new programs being established or maintaining our current ones. I would ask that every physician assist at our students in their plight to advance their education and their dreams.

Judy L. Davis, DO

Posted in Scope Fall 2020 on Oct 31, 2020