The Human Side of the Residency Shortage/
A Personal Story
Today I am going to share with you the “human” side of the Residency shortage. It is the story of my husband’s personal journey to becoming a doctor.
I met my husband almost 50 years ago at the
of Illinois . When we first began to date my “husband” told
me that he planned to go to medical school and would be studying very hard. So I had been “warned”…He needed to get “A”s
in his classes in order to get into medical school. After we had been dating for awhile, I would
sometimes try to “find” him between college classes to hang out. I knew some of his favorite libraries to
study, and I would try to seek him out.
Once he knew that I might look for him, he varied his study locations so
he would not get tempted to quit studying if I found him. He was truly the most dedicated student I had
ever met! I remember that during Spring
final exams one semester, he studied so hard for his physics final that he
scratched the corneas of his eyes. His hard
contact lenses did not move around enough to get lubricated while he was studying. So he was given a doctor’s note to skip the
exam and told not to study any further.
During the summers he would work on his vocabulary in preparation for
the MCAT exam. He never stopped working
toward the goal of acceptance into medical school. Champaign
But, I really remember the day he received his acceptance into medical school. It was his 21st birthday. His parents had called me from
saying they had received his letter from the U of I Medical School and wanted
to bring it to Chicago to see him
open it. They asked me not to say
anything so it would be a surprise. I
held a little party at my college apartment and his parents were hiding in the
bedroom. Once the festivities began,
they came out to the living room and presented their son with the letter. We all watched him open it, and then I saw
tears streaming down his cheeks….That was a momentous day in all of our
lives! It also meant another 4 years of
exceedingly hard work, aiming toward the next goal, getting into a good
residency program. Champaign
I would say that in the nearly 50 years my husband and I have known each other, Medicine has been at the epicenter of our lives. It has dictated where we have lived, when, where, and how long we take vacations, etc. My husband has always loved the Tradition of Medicine, it has a very rigid and rich protocol. He loved the field of Medical Education and always wanted to become the director of a Residency Program, which he did.
My husband ended up taking 2 residencies and a fellowship: Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and a Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship. That amounted to 8 years of training added to 8 years of college and medical school.
But why did I tell you this story? I wanted you to know how traumatizing this Residency Shortage is on people just like my husband. Just think of the devastation a fully qualified doctor graduate is feeling the day he/she finds out they did not match into a residency! All that hard work and dedication, leading up to the last required step toward becoming a licensed physician, would have been for naught!
If you have listened to my prior blogs, you understand there is a good chance the unmatched doctors will never match into a residency in lieu of the current situation. The extreme number of applications in today’s “Match” will favor the “cream of the crop” which has risen to the “top” numerically. I cannot imagine the depths of despair these unmatched doctors are feeling. I can NOT, I CAN not, I CAN NOT!