Medicine From The Trenches

Experiences from undergradute, graduate school, medical school, residency and beyond.

You Have Matched!

A hearty “Congratulations” to all who matched! This is the next step in your medical career no matter where you matched. On Friday, you will find out where you matched; some taking the news with tears and fears. Make no mistake, if you didn’t match, the future becomes more uncertain but certainly not bleak. As I have stated in other posts, those who didn’t match should be aware of the current S.O.A.P process and should be working on getting a training position for next year.

If you have matched, some things to work on as soon as you can:

  • As soon as you know where you will be training, get in contact with one or two of the senior residents to find out which textbook(s) is (are) the major reading material for your program. Purchase the book(s)(electronic or paper) and start reading.
  • Make a list of the sentinel journals for your specialty and start reviewing articles. You need to practice evidence-based medicine. Getting a head start on your journal reading helps to make journal reading a habit.
  • Start a physical conditioning program if you have been relatively sedentary during medical school. Aerobic exercise (30 minutes per day) can help reduce stress, help with stress and keep you healthy. Make physical exercise a habit along with journal reading. Even on your on-call days, you can walk/run the steps for a quick work out which will keep you more efficient in the long run. You will also sleep better if you are in good condition. Add some strength training too.
  • Find a place to live if you are moving. Don’t put this off because you need to be comfortably in your residence before orientation week in your new hospital. Your home should be simple, convenient for commuting to the hospital, restful and useful for your lifestyle. Though you won’t be spending tons of time at home, you need for your home to be your haven in your off hours. Make sure you have a washer and drying in your residence. You don’t want to be heading to a laundry room when you need to be sleeping.
  • Get your paperwork done for your training license as soon as you get information from your program. Some states have many tasks for you to complete before you can be licensed for training purposes. The sooner you get this done, the better.
  • Take a week or so off but do this long before you start your program. You need to have a bit of fun but using too much time in vacation before you start your PGY-1 year can be a problem too. Complete off time is great but not an escape.
  • When you get your residence, scout out several routes to the hospital so that you know how to get in even if there is a problem with weather, roads and other mishaps. Make sure your car or bicycle is in good repair with a good back-up plan.
  • Learn how to cook and take your meals into the hospital. Trust me, hospital food in most cases, is not great for keeping you healthy. I cooked on my days off, put a week’s worth of meals in the freezer and carried them in for my call days and nights. Good nutrition is key to good learning and training.
  • Learn a good organizational system for your ward work. I used an Excel program complete with dropdown menus for my sign-outs; still use this system. Learn to make check-off sheets to stay on top of your patients and their needs (lab tests, radiographic studies).
  • If you can, arrive a couple of days early to get familiar with your hospital’s physical layout, systems for dictation and record-keeping. Do a recon mission that will save you time in the long run.

Finally, this is a great time of learning and professional development. Having some organization is key to keeping your head in the right place. Enjoy the experience so that you can take advantage of every minute of residency with a positive attitude. Don’t underestimate the value of a smile on your face because you are learning the tools that will make you a good physician.


14 March, 2017 - Posted by | medical school, organization, residency |


  1. I’ve followed and enjoyed your blog for a long time! I am a rising fourth year and will be applying to general surgery residency this coming fall. Once things get a little calmer after applications and the interview process, I am planning on doing some reading to prepare for intern year. I will definitely find out which textbook my program uses once I (hopefully) match and get started on that, but I wanted to see if you had any other recommendations. I was thinking of going through:

    1. Lawrence’s Essentials (used for third year clerkship, thought a reread would be good; do you recommend the Lawrence’s Surgical Specialties book as well?)
    2. Dubin’s EKG book
    3. Pestana’s fluids/electrolytes book (saw you recommend this on SDN, I think my library has a copy)

    Thank you for your maintaining such an amazing blog, I’m a career changer and have been reading it since I started my pre-med courses almost 7 years ago. Take care!

    Comment by John Marston | 31 March, 2017 | Reply

  2. I will be sure to share your tips with my brother 🙂

    Comment by Potential Doctor | 15 March, 2017 | Reply

  3. Thank you for the tips! One of my brothers just matched and is eagerly awaiting Friday to find out where he matched to!

    Comment by Potential Doctor | 15 March, 2017 | Reply

  4. Thank you so much for your advice over the years. I matched!!! Can’t believe this is happening right now.

    Comment by Abe Arhin | 15 March, 2017 | Reply

    • To AA:
      Thank-you for your kind words. It’s an amazing time so enjoy it.

      Comment by drnjbmd | 15 March, 2017 | Reply

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