Congratulations! You’ve made it! You’ve finished medical school. Not only did you overcome many challenges, like the early-morning lectures and times you stayed up all night to cram for the nerve-racking exams the next day. You’re one step closer to becoming a full-fledged medical practitioner.
Now you can proceed to the next phase of your medical career: Medical residency. Keep in mind that you need to do as well as possible in this stage of your training. You’ll learn a whole lot more about a specific branch of your field, unlike in medical school, where you were taught a wide range of medical knowledge. Receiving such in-depth firsthand training will make you quite capable at that branch, letting you help lots of people and save lives.
Here are the usual medical residency application steps to help you understand them with some tips to come out on top.
Step #1: Meeting the Requirements
There are several requirements to meet before you may apply for medical residency. They vary from hospital to hospital and country to country. But, generally speaking, programs ask applicants for pretty much the same requirements.
For example, some of the common ones in the US and the UK are:
- A Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree from an accredited medical school (US)
- Passing certain tests or examinations, like the Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) (US); the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) (US); the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test (UK); and the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test (UK)
- Certain certificates, like Certificate(s) of Good Standing (CGS) (UK) and the one from the US’ Educational Council on Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) that you need if you went to a medical school outside the country and Canada
- Eligibility to work through citizenship, a visa, or a resident alien permit (US)
- Registration or licensing from all the medical regulatory authorities of the counties where you held it in the last five years (UK)
- Sponsorship by an approved sponsor (UK)
Step #2: Applying
All medical residency applications in the US are processed through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).
The ERAS is a program run by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The AAMC is a nonprofit organization representing most of the medical schools and teaching hospitals in the country and Canada.
To apply for a medical residency through the ERAS, submit the required documents and examination or test scores:
- Your medical school transcript
- Your USMLE or COMLEX score
- A personal statement
- Your curriculum vitae (CV)
- Letter(s) of recommendation
- Performance evaluations
- The other materials requested by the program you’ve chosen
The ERAS will send the information to the hospital where you want to go. All of this is done on the MyERAS application page.
In the UK, medical residency applications are processed through General Medical Council (GMC) Online, on the My Registration section. You need to set up an account to be able to apply. Before you do, make sure you’ve met all the requirements:
- You’ve completed an internship
- You passed the PLAB test
- You’ve been granted registration with a license to practice within three years of passing Part 2 of this test
- You possess “primary medical qualification” (PMQ)
- You passed the IELTS test
- You can send a copy of your passport’s pages with your photo ID and signature
- You can provide details of your medical and nonmedical experience or other activities (e.g., clinical attachments, unemployment, maternity leave, study leave, vacation, career break) during the last five years
- Employer references
- Declaration of your fitness to practice
You’ll be asked to pay a fee for full registration with a license to practice before you can submit your application. You can’t without paying. You can save your application and come back to it if needed.
Step #3: The Interview
If you’ve met all the requirements and stood out from all the other applicants, the hospital will invite you over for an interview.
This may very well be your only chance to show the person behind your CV and why you should be chosen to fill one of the few coveted positions in the medical program, so make it count.
To stack the odds in your favor:
- Speak clearly
- Highlight everything you want the program to know about you that will give you an edge over the competition, like your relevant positive experiences and accomplishments, how you’re a team player, and your medical knowledge
- Learn as much as you can about the program to be able to answer specialty- and program-specific questions well
- Take your time answering questions
- Be honest (e.g., be open about any gaps in your training or deficiencies of your application)
- Ask questions that show you’re engaged and sincerely want to learn more about the program (e.g., questions about the curriculum, the program’s philosophy, new programs, future goals, how the program meets your professional needs, and what sets it apart from the others)
- Be professional, but stay calm, be confident, and try to have fun to avoid seeming rehearsed or too serious, which could turn the interviewer(s) off
Step #4: Getting Matched
Medical residency programs now use algorithms to compare and match applicants. All of you will be notified if you were matched to an illustrious program in your hometown to a low-ranked program five states away, or not at all.
If you don’t get matched, you can:
- Make calls to find out if there are residency programs in your hometown that still have openings
- Get help from your students’ affairs office
- Consider filling positions nationwide
- Take some time off to do research or take an MBA until you can start the whole process again next year.
Receiving your medical residency is a crucial point in your journey of becoming a true-blue medical practitioner. How well you do determines whether you’re cut out to practice the specific branch of medicine you’ve chosen to help people and save lives. Stay on the right path by getting all the requirements in order, applying properly, giving the best possible interview, and keeping your head up if the going gets rough.
1) Residency Application. AAMC.
2) Applying for registration as an international medical graduate. GMC.
3) Rose Raymond. “TIPS FOR FOURTH-YEARS If at first you don’t match, what’s
3 Dec. 2016.