Monday, November 10, 2014

Interviewing for Residency: Fascinating Experience

I've now been on four of the twelve interviews I have scheduled. I am amazed at how formative an experience it has been. I had two pools of programs that I looked at: programs that would be good for innovation and research (and future fellowship) and programs that would be open to my choices not to prescribe, sterilize, and abort. I expected that there would be few to zero programs that offered both. In fact, the program that I thought would be closest to "both" was my home program. I collected names of programs in three main groups:
  1. Did a CMA conference attendee, One More Soul, or another Catholic med student friend recommend it? (If yes: on list until eliminated due to financial concerns.)
  2. Do they have an open fetal surgery center? (If yes: on list.)
I add three token applications: my home programs--the one attached to my med school and the one on the campus I did my clinicals on--and that OB/GYN Mecca, Parkland. I felt that a native southerner who really wanted to go into OB/GYN wouldn't not apply to Parkland.  (Dumb reason to apply.)

I assumed that most of the academic centers would refuse an applicant making my choices. I thought that when I informed them of my decisions, they would write me off. I thought I had to decide on a future in the next eight months: will I be a napro doc or an academic researcher with a different fellowship?

To my shock, the answer might be "both!" I have interviewed at three community programs and one academic center, and three of them have been very open to my choices, including the academic center!

I am learning about myself, too: I like good surgery numbers, I like autonomy, I like peace and serenity. So I like the programs that let residents have a life, I like areas without too much traffic, I like single hospitals and few off-service rotations, I like good relationships with faculty, and I like a rich Catholic (sub)culture. I don't really care about simulation centers, and I don't rate being buddy-buddy with all my fellow residents as a high priority, because I'm a private person. To my surprise, I like pretty hospitals and good weather more than I thought.

I still can't decide whether I think it's important that I be able to do research. I'm still trying to figure out what futures I should prepare for. But I'm encouraged: it looks like I might be able to become a researcher and a pro-life physician. I'm most excited about some future interviews!


  1. How exciting! Good luck with your residency applications! I myself am preparing to apply for psychiatry. I like that you take everything into account, including traffic and weather, and that you're being honest about it. I can feel ya, sister! (You're of the fairer sex, right? Been a follower of your blog and I always think you're a woman :p)

    May God bless you and keep you x

    1. Psychiatry!! Good for you, blessed be God! The deepest and most fundamental illness in the sickest people is mental. I am a huge defender of mental health maintenance, and I just wish it was easier to provide. Wow, the world needs to pray for its psychiatrists. Most people have no idea how much good you are going to do.

      /psych soap box. Yes, I'm a woman. I nee to make that clearer, maybe.... Our femininity is such an important gift for ourselves, our families, and the world; I should really tout it more. How are you choosing your rank list?

    2. Aww thanks for your kind words! :) Yes one of the reasons I like the subject so much is because it overlaps with spirituality. Psychiatry is especially interesting if, like me, you come from a country where the ancient animistic traditions are still deeply ingrained in the society's mind, despite now being Muslim majority.

      Well here residency programs are all university-based, and only state universities can have them. So our options are pretty limited, which can be a good thing in a way because we won't be bogged down with choices. My first choice is the one that happens to be the oldest med school/hospital/research complex in the nation. But I choose it primarily because it's the closest one to my hometown. And it's one of the best too, so it's always worth a try :) Environment-wise, well because the place is quite old and they haven't renovated in a while, it doesn't look so appealing, at least from the outside...

      You know, it's interesting to follow your thoughts on open fetal surgery. I don't think it has ever been performed here... And if I'm not mistaken, here it belongs to pediatric surgery, not ob/gyn...