The best turn-down EVER

Most of your fourth year of medicine is taken up by the application for residencies. Those of you who remember speaking with me after I got into medical school may recall me saying something along the lines of, "all the pressure's off now, I'm a doctor no matter what!"


Turns out it is, in fact, occasionally extremely difficult to get into certain programs - including emergency medicine, which is what I happen to have decided upon. The residency programs, overall, have something like a 33% acceptance rate - roughly 80 applicants for the 28 spots nationwide last year. Ouch.

The analogy I've developed to explain this is that I've fallen for the most beautiful, most popular girl in school, and everyone wants to take her to the dance. It's still worth the effort, in my mind, to ask her out, but I have to operate under the assumption that she'll say no. However, Emergency Medicine has a friend. This friend is named Family Medicine, and Family is easy. I mean, she will put out for ANYONE. She's not quite as attractive as Emergency, but she'll get you where you want to go - specifically, via the CCFP-EM program, which is a third year of family residency which lets you work in ERs.

I get the occasional disgusted look while explaining my analogy, but it's a decent framework.

Anyhow, a large part of your application for the residencies is your reference letters; you're essentially expected to get a reference letter for every rotation or elective you do in your field of choice. This is tough in ER, since you tend to spend very little time with any given doctor because your schedules rarely coincide. I've been trying to get references out of rotation coordinators, since they see all my evaluations from other doctors, but failed in the case of one from the University Hospital.

His excuse? "I can't give you a letter because I'm in rural Zambia."

Seriously. If I had a nickel for every time a girl turned me down because "I'm washing my hair... in rural Zambia, " or "I'm dating someone else.... from rural Zambia!" I'd be a richer man today.

I have to stop going after girls from rural Zambia.