The Match is over, now what?

Residency Program Insider, March 25, 2008

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The residency coordinator plays a huge role in successfully transitioning the former medical student into the world of residency after Match day. How do I know?  Residents always talk about what their Match day felt like, and how I impacted them. The following are some tips for how to make your post-Match day transition as smooth as possible.

Generate excitement about your program for the incoming group

Get your new interns excited about beginning their residency by sending them information about their fellow classmates. The coordinator and the program director are the two people who know most about the incoming group and are best suited to work on this project. Take the information you learned about the residents from interviews and their applications to develop a Match announcement. 

The announcement can be a PowerPoint presentation, fact sheet, or tables of information about the incoming group. I prefer a PowerPoint slide show featuring the resident's name, medical school, and picture. Then I add some interesting facts from their application. Facts might include:

  • Number of languages spoken
  • Research projects
  • Presentations
  • Interesting rotations

I sometimes include information about hobbies or where they obtained their undergraduate degree, but generally I avoid getting too personal.

I also put a few introductory slides into the presentation, such as what states the students are from, number of women versus men, hometowns, birth places, and other interesting statistics.

Send this announcement to your department colleagues and the incoming residents.  Everyone will appreciate the introduction.

Another way to build enthusiasm is to call the matched group on Match day, and leave a message of congratulations. They are probably out having fun, and when they return home and hear the message, their excitement will continue to build.

Make "credentialing" and other tasks seem easy

This time of year is one of the busiest for coordinators. There is so much that must be done to get these new residents ready, and the matched student is the key to getting the job done. Take advantage of the medical students' mental attitude. Right now, the student has very little school responsibility but he or she is still in the do-do-do mode. Send a directional memo to the matched students. In my experience, most residents treat this memo like a to-do list, and they simply check off the tasks one by one.

Here are a few things to include in that memo:

  • Tell them exactly how to initiate licensure for your state and send them the licensure website. Give them the information to get the job done, and they will jump on it.
  • Give them direction about required American Heart Association courses.
  • Be very clear about start date. I even tell them during their interview what the start date is so there is no misunderstanding.
  • Send them two copies of a letter verifying employment and salary. They will need this letter to do things like buy cars and rent apartments. If they have the letter, they will be less likely to call you - which can save you time, too.

Organize your data

Organize all of your information about the new group as early on in the process as possible. Use the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) data points to help you.

For example, download the following information into a spreadsheet:

  • Full name of the matched student
  • Degrees
  • Social security number
  • Birth date
  • Birth place
  • Medical school
  • Date of graduation

With all of this data organized in one place, you can easily provide this information to any professional organization that needs it.

Require that the resident brings his or her new contact information on the very first day of residency. Once you collect their new addresses and phone numbers create a similar spreadsheet as the one described above. It is much easier than going into separate files and extracting the information. To ensure they bring the information, remind them with a phone call and e-mail.

If your facility collects the license plate numbers of residents before issuing them parking spaces, it is a good idea to collect that information from them now, as well.

I also make sure I have an organized file of the incoming residents' photos. You can do this by requesting an electronic photo of them before they arrive, using the photo from the ERAS, or photographing the residents on their first day. Print the photos in color and distribute them to departments and individuals who frequently work with the residents to help them identify the new group.

Congratulations on making it through the Match!


Denise Catalano
Coordinator, Medical Education

Emergency Medicine
MetroHealth Medical Center
Cleveland, OH

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