Students looking to enter the field of medicine constantly stay on their toes all through their studies. As thousands of students vie for a single seat in a medical school in any U.S. city, the competition resembles a cut-throat battlefield. Riddled with such competition, students these days have started venturing a foot out in other countries in the vicinity of US to pursue a career in medicine and receive a credible degree. Mexico, Cuba and the Caribbean islands are three such favorite locations for US students, since they offer the most premium standard of education, without breaking their ban ks.
Surrounded by a sense of peace and serenity, the Caribbean islands offer US students a great opportunity to kick-start a career in the field of medicine. Which is why it’s not uncommon for students to keep a lookout for the best Caribbean medical schools and leave no stone unturned in getting an admission in the med school of their choice.
Residency, and why Students Fear it:
Residency! This single word has the power to raise Goosebumps on the skins of students who are yet to complete theirs. It’s not so bad once you have gotten your feet wet in it, but it can be really taxing on the students, both physically and mentally. However, since it is indispensable for ensuring a thriving career in medicine, residents put up with it with a smile and a curtsy. There is no doubt in their minds, however, that the long working hours offer a unique learning curve which gives them the necessary experience required to cope up with the challenges that they will indubitably encounter once they have jumped into the battlefield.
However, the process of securing a medical residency placement can take a toll on students if they take this matter very lightly. The graph from the Association of American Medical Colleges reveals an ever widening chasm between the ever burgeoning number of med school grads seeking out residencies and the number of residency slots which are available to accommodate them. This further adds to the apprehension of students, making them wonder if they are eligible enough to qualify. If you are also looking to apply for a residency in any medical school in the US/Canada/Caribbean region, you need to act quickly as it usually involves 3 important steps.
Since the road to a successful placement is quite bumpy, students need to be totally focused on their goal and serious in their approach. Let me give you a quick insight into the 3 steps that you need to follow in order to successfully apply for a residency.
1. USMLE Step 1 Exam:
A below average score can rain over your hopes of garnering a successful residency placement anywhere in the world. You need to keep in mind that this test isn’t just a means to graduate from your medical school, but to get into a viable residency program. In the US and adjoining areas, the average step 1 score comes around to 217. Once you get a score of 217 or more, you have a pretty good chance of applying for credible residency programs.Another factor that can perk up your chances significantly is if you excel your first time. The longer you take to finish the USMLE steps, the less promising your chances are.
2. USMLE Step 2 Exam:
Your clinical knowledge comes into play here as you need todemonstrate it aptly in the step 2 exam. It is all about showcasing your talent and demonstratinghow competent you will be as a physician. So it is in sharp contrast to step 1 exam and you need to keep this aspect in mind to get a quality score. You can achieve your goal by getting a similar or higher score that you achieved in the step 1 exam. Make certain that you leverage the experience accumulated in your clinical rotations to ace the test.
You need to study as hard as possible while going through each individual rotation. Hard work always pays off and in order to glean your coveted residency position, it’s a quintessential. A sharp mind and an ability to memorize information in quick time is the key here.
3. Clinical Grades and Letters of Recommendations:
While you are laboring away in the wards, you can achieve excellent clinical grades. You can also perk up your clinical grades by actively participating in conversations. You can’t achieve success by just going through the motions. To become a high achiever, you need to act like one or risk stumbling to the back of the pack.This is why I urge students to not be complacent with whatever they are doing and instead work industriously to accomplish high clinical grades.
Your hard work in clinical rotations will also come to the fore when you ask your seniors or the attending personnelfor a letter of recommendation (LOR). This is an extremely criticalaspect of your overall residency application. LOR not only demonstrates your éclat as afuture physician, but also showcases your personality, work ethics and competency,which can be major deciding factors when it comes to securing you a residency position in a program of your choice.
Gone are the days when you can easily assume that just passing through the medical school will result in residency spot for you in the medical institute or hospital of your choice. Again I am emphasizing on this aspect that your entire career as a clinical physician depends upon your successful residency program. And for this you need to pay attention to the above mentioned 3 steps and what is described in them.
If any of you need any further clarification about any aspect stated above or want to share your wonderful thoughts with other readers of this blog, please feel free to use the comments section below in this regard.