EM residency difficulty

Does anybody know of a chart that lists residency programs by difficulty. I’ve heard that dermatology and opthamology are very difficult, but where do others shake out on the list? How competitive is emergency medicine? How about surgery?

WashU has a decent website here where they talk a little bit about how to rank whether or not a residency is competitive. The “ROAD” acronym is widely used - Radiology, Opthamology, Anesthesiology, Dermatology. Urology is also very competitive. Surgery has been up and down in competitiveness, I believe its currently on a more competitive trend again (If you search for posts by njbmd, Nat posted some info about people interviewing in surgery at her program this year).

As for Emergency Medicine - it is becoming more and more competitive. It’s starting to become regarded as a lifestyle specialty along with some of the other lifestyle specialties, and thus it is becoming a lot more attractive. It’s still not as competitive as the traditionally competitive residencies, though.

If you look through the stats that are linked on WashU’s page from the NRMP, they are a little misleading though. You might look at the fact that 33 spots went unfilled in EM in 2006. However, if I remember correctly, not all of those spots were actually offered via the match. MLK did not fill its positions through the match this year, there was another program that didn’t fill its positions through the match, and then there are a couple programs that, for whatever reason, don’t rank enough people to fill during the match. I believe after it was all said and done, there were actually only a couple of open EM positions and they filled very quickly.

If you have some time to kill, I suggest you browse the Residency forums on SDN. There is tons of good information on the EM forum - and there is a PD who regularly posts. Some of the other specialties also have PDs that post in the forums. Just a warning though - do some browsing on your own for quite awhile on the EM forum before posting a “How competitive is EM” thread. You’re unlikely to get a serious answer (eventually someone might throw a "check the FAQ’s or “do a search” at you).

Hope that helps.


Go to http://www.dghems.org/home.php. Denver Health has an excellent reputation and they have wonderful faculty. The program (if you follow the link and click on program info) is very good - you get cycled through 5 hospitals, so you see many different cases and patient populations, and you get familiar working in many different environments. Dr. Shockley also talks about what makes a ‘good’ EM residency. It’s slanted towards DG, of course, but it’ll give you some good ideas.