Today is Match Day. At this point last year, I was receiving my LONG White Coat in a ceremony that is unique to Howard University College of Medicine. Beginning at 10AM, the seniors and guests go to the medical school auditorium where we sit according to our class numbers. These numbers are alphabetically determined and correspond to the numbers that we have generally had since we started school. I started out as Number 12 but graduated as Number 9 since some folks ahead of me in the alphabet changed their names due to marriage and went further down in the alphabet.
We have a nationally known speaker who gives us a speech that generally centers around the special role that we have a physicians. Being in Washington, DC is a good location bacause we have convienient access to some pretty good speakers who do not have to travel far. The speaker for my Long White Coat Ceremony was LaSalle LeFalle, Jr who is a former president of the American College of Surgeons and holder of many patents on the anastomotic devices for bowel surgery. He was terrific.
After the speaker, we are called up to the stage individually and cloaked by a clinical faculty member with a long white coat bearing our names with MD behind them. It was pretty sobering to have a long white coat that said Natalie J. Belle, MD Department of General Surgery. When you put that coat on, you have the first feelings that you are now responsible for the health and care of your patients. You can’t plead that you are the medical student and you didn’t know any better, you are the physician and your patients are your responsibility. You realize that anything lacking in your education at this point had better get learned in the next couple of months as you move out of your apartment and to the location of your residency.
By this time, we see the secretary in the Dean’s office, enter the auditorium with a stack of white envelopes. We are given an envelope that has been carefully sealed with our names and a small thumbtack bearing our numbers. We will all open our envelopes at the noon mark and all at the same time. We also have our cell phones poised to call our friends at other medical schools. In my case, it was to call my family and let them know where I would be.
At noon, by the clock on the wall in the auditorium, you could hear a collective rip followed by the release of balloons and plenty of yelling. Well, I was headed for the University of Virginia in Charlottesville! I proudly placed my thumbtack flag in the middle of the state of Virginia, the lone flag in Virginia. There is nothing like being a pioneer and setting out on your own. Number 9 Flag sat in the middle of Virginia with the next closest flag sitting in Georgia!
That was 365 days ago and now, I am having the time of my life doing the job that I was put on this earth to perform. Yesterday, my faculty advisor gave me the results of my evaluations for my surgical rotations. The highest number that you can achieve is a perfect 7. Anything above 5 is considered excellent and anything above 6 is considered honors. You are scored in several areas from clinical and surgical knowledge to professionalism and work ethic. My total average was a whopping 6.5. I have worked my “guts” out and then put in some more. My advisor was extremely pleased with my scores and said they were outstanding. He said that he was generally surprised that I had been able to achieve such high marks and that I was probably a “natural surgeon”. I can’t wait to share my scores with my mentors from medical school especially Dr. Kirk Williams, ENT Surgeon. I learned so much about work ethic and surgical excellence under the wing of Dr. Williams. My other mentor is Dr. Geoffrey Thompson, endocrine surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Both Dr. Williams and Dr. Thompson were instrumental in shaping the way that I approach patient care.
My goals for the rest of the year are to continue reading and studying so that I can build on my surgical knowledge. There are hundreds of surgical procedures that I have to be able to outline from skin incision to skin closure. I memorize each step and each surgical anatomical landmark. My other goal is to get into the OR as much as possible. Every surgeon has to learn by operating. The more that I operate, the better technical surgeon I will become. I study far more outside of medical school that I ever studied as a medical student. The nice thing, is that I have a point to all of my studies.
In 365 days, Mary Renard will be opening that envelope and donning that long white coat with Mary Renard, MD displayed above the pocket. It will be interesting to see how she enjoys the experience. Dave Kelley will be doing the 365-day growth post and I will be happily operating like a fool and enjoying every suture.
Congratulations Dr. Kelley on getting that long white coat that says, David Kelley, DO, Department of Anesthesia.!!!
Natalie, the Surgeon!!
Nat, my dear friend…Match Day was a wonderful occasion. We all convened in the library, the MSU MD students, faculty, PDs, underclassmen, the admin staff & my KCOM classmates. We elected for the mass opening. We all filed by as our name was called to collect our envelopes – then, as a group - just as we trained, we opened them up to learn of our destiny.
I was fortunate to secure a surgical internship at Dartmouth University. As I have already mentioned elsewhere, I was super lucky to have already secured my slot in a double-residency, also at Dartmouth, in Anesthesiology & Medical Leadership/Preventative Medicine. In 5 short years…I am confident that they will fly even faster than med school…I will have earned my Board elgibility in both Anesthesiology & Preventative Med and have earned my MPH (masters in public health) from Dartmouth Univ.
Not that I am a glutton for punishment or afraid to be gainfully employed again, but I still plan to also undertake a fellowship, post-residency. This may well change, but I am most intrigued by Critical Care Med. As Dartmouth also offers one of those fellowships, my tenure in Lebanon/Hanover may extend out to 6 years. Who knows & who cares…this all so much fun that it just does not feel like work.
Congrats again Dave…
Congrats Nat on the great score!!! If anyone could do it, however, I knew you could! I love seeing someone so positive about their 'job'.
Wow, the title of this thread is very appropriate…Match day did come very fast! It seems like only yesterday that I was just starting gross anatomy.
How cool to get a long coat on that day. We pretty much just had a big party. Thanks to some smooth politicians in our class, we were the first class in the history of my school to actually offically be excused from clinical duties on Match Day. We went to a local pub at 11, where there was a buffet spread. (at U of Tennesse, there really isn't a good place to do this…auditoriums are used for various noon conferences) At noon, we lined up to get our envelopes, and we could open them as soon as we got them. So the excitement gradually built up. (I'm headed to the University of Rochester for surgery!) As soon as all the envelopes were distributed, the list of the whole class match was passed out. It was very cool to see where everyone was going. Only 40% of our class is staying in TN, which will be a source of frustration for the administration (the objective is to get the majority to stay). However, many people are going to top notch programs as well.
Interesting to note that 20 of my class (of about 160) went into general surgery. It was unexpectedly competitive, and 5 of those people surprisinly didn't match. All easily landed prelim slots at programs they had ranked, and those I spoke to said the program directors were as surprised that these individuals hadn't matched as we were (and had ranked them relatively highly). By the time match day came, they were all reasonably content and some had been told that the program would try to work it out for them to stay beyond the prelim year. I'm very pleased that all of us surgeons to be had great support from our residents here. Several of the surgery residents showed up at our match day festivities (the only residents to do so) and a couple of the fellows (who had given an number of us tons of advice) were nearly as excited as we were - they would have come had they not had to stay and operate. I stopped by and found these fellows on my way home, taking them (at their request) a copy of my list, which they eagerly grabbed and studied. Though only 3 of my classmates will stay here (8 categorical slots) all the residents have been very supportive and excited for all of us.
Then when I got home, there was already an email from U of R, saying when to show up and informing us that they will be putting us through both ATLS and ACLS (many of my classmates will have to pay for those things on their own prior to starting)
That evening, another lavish party with food and drinks for free. The whole day cost something like $10,000, but not a cent came out of our class funds as we have several students in the class who excell at getting sponsors.
Now for the past week and a half, we are now the resident experts on the match. Third year students find those of us in their area of interest, flock around us, asking us tons of questions about the match. There were session hosted by the student governement for M1-3 on what it might take to match that we run. It's been very fun.
Now pretty much all that's left to do is arrange a move and graduate!
Natalie, I hope I can come even close to your performance in the coming year. Congrats on a super score and your hard work paying off.
|QUOTE (md03 @ Mar 31 2003, 05:26 PM)|
|Wow, the title of this thread is very appropriate...Match day did come very fast! It seems like only yesterday that I was just starting gross anatomy. |
Now pretty much all that's left to do is arrange a move and graduate!.
Now you can let the Senioritis sink in. You know where you have matched, you know that you are going to graduate. After you graduate but before you start ACLS/ATLS you can totally enjoy being a physician. Wait until you are on call for the first time and the nurse calls you to handle something. At first, you are startled that they actually DO what you have ordered, then you get that sinking feeling that you make a huge mistake. I can tell you from experience, that the only mistake involves not getting out of bed and looking at the patient. If you "eyeball" everyone on you list before you turn in, you have an idea of who will give you problems in the middle of the night.
I am too happy to have intern year getting to a close. I still feel stupid about some things but my operative reports are getting pretty nice. It is still scary having to dictate things. Dictation is the thing that takes the greatest amount of time to get used to doing. If you learn to dictate a great discharge summary before you start, you have gotten half the battle out of the way. Talk slow and don't eat while you are dictating. Say "Thank-you" when you are done.
Natalie ( Down here in Salem, VA at the Veteran's Hospital which is 200 miles on the otherside of nowhere)