Draft Day for doctors has medical school seniors sweating
The nation will get a good look this week at the future faces of medicine. Friday is Match Day, when medical school seniors find out where they will be doing their residency training.
Matches are determined by ranking students’ choices of programs and programs’ choices of students. It’s the high-pressure equivalent of Draft Day in pro sports.
But the students find out sooner, on Monday, whether they matched at all. Residency programs learn then how many of their positions were filled. On Wednesday, unmatched graduates get offers for unfilled positions. They have two hours to say yes or no.
Last year, 528 seniors did not initially land a slot. Physician organizations and others have cited this as evidence that the U.S. faces a residency shortage and that Congress should boost graduate medical education funding. Mona Signer, executive director of the National Resident Matching Program, said most of those students eventually were placed. But many didn’t get the specialty they wanted. “Everyone can’t be a dermatologist or an orthopedic surgeon,” she said. States also are competing. Many doctors start practice in the same geographical area where they trained. Given the scramble for primary-care physicians, Florida and other states have increased GME funding to lure future doctors to their borders with more slots.
Last year, 18,156 U.S. medical school seniors vied for 26,392 first-year positions, nearly half for primary-care specialties. While this year’s figures aren’t available yet, there typically are up to 8,000 more positions than U.S. senior students. The extra slots are filled by U.S. citizens and foreign students at international medical schools.
Medical students eagerly await Match Day.