home
RSS
Why your waiter has an M.D.
March 16th, 2012
07:29 AM ET

Why your waiter has an M.D.

Anthony Youn, M.D., is a plastic surgeon in Metro Detroit. He is the author of “In Stitches,” a humorous memoir about his Match Day and becoming a doctor.

I met Sam* in the OR a few years ago. A polite surgical technician in his early 30s, we’d often chat after work.

Sam obtained his medical degree from a school in Eastern Europe prior to immigrating to the United States. Now he spends his days cleaning surgical instruments and his nights working in a restaurant.

“Someday I’ll be a surgeon, just like you,” he says to me.

How did this happen? Sam had a bad Match Day.

Medical training in the U.S. involves four years of medical school followed by 3 to 6 years of residency training. International graduates must also attend residency in the U.S. if they wish to practice here.

On Match Day, graduating medical students learn which residency program they’ll be joining. Residency determines a physician’s field of medicine. For a young doctor to become a pediatrician, for example, he or she must complete a pediatric residency.

This year Match Day occurs today, March 16.

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) couples prospective applicants with residency programs, sort of like a medical version of eHarmony. Each applicant makes a list ranking the residency programs in their order of desirability. The residency programs do the same with the applicants, and the NRMP matches them up.
Not all graduating medical students get matched.

According to the NRMP, last year 971 graduates of U.S. medical schools were shut out, accounting for 5.9% of U.S. grads. Graduates of international medical schools fared even worse - less than 50% of them obtained a residency.

That means more than 7,000 doctors were left with a diploma that said “M.D.” but no guarantee they would be able to use it.

Just like Sam.

So what are all of these doctors doing?

The majority of unmatched grads obtain a temporary one-year residency spot with no guarantee of future training. They then reapply the following year with hopes of landing a permanent, multi-year residency position.

Others wind up performing research in labs prior to re-entering the Match. Still others abandon their dreams of becoming a practicing physician and exit the medical field altogether.

This situation is only going to worsen. Due to the pending doctor shortage, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has called for a 30% increase in medical school enrollment, or 5,000 more doctors each year. College universities have responded to this demand, with 18 new medical schools currently in the process of opening.

The increase in the number of medical students would lead to an increase in residency positions as well, right?

Wrong.

Since 2001, the number of first year residency positions has increased by 3,000, compared to a whopping increase of 6,500 applicants. The slow growth in residency positions is likely due to a 15 year freeze in Medicare support. The current federal budget problems make lifting the freeze unlikely in the near future.

So what does this mean?

For an unmatched M.D. like Sam, it doesn’t bode well. After going unmatched his first year, he tried to match again the following year, but failed.
As the years pass, it’s becoming more and more likely that Sam will never be able to use the degree he earned.

I watch Sam meticulously clean and rinse the surgical instruments, his hands moving steadily and purposefully. There is not an ounce of unused motion. The fluidity and grace in his hands remind me of my surgical mentors.

Then the sad realization hits me. It doesn’t matter how much Sam wants it.

He will never be a surgeon.

*Sam’s name and identifying details have been changed to protect his privacy.

Update: The National Resident Matching Program has matched 95% of U.S. medical school seniors this year - the highest rate in 30 years, according to a press release sent out on Friday. The largest residency increases were seen in internal medicine, anesthesiology and emergency medicine. Also, 510 more international students were matched than were matched in 2011.


soundoff (895 Responses)
  1. stornobrzinol

    Thanx for the effort, keep up the good work Great work, I am going to start a small Blog Engine course work using your site I hope you enjoy blogging with the popular BlogEngine.net.Thethoughts you express are really awesome. Hope you will right some more posts.

    http://www.stornobrzinol.com/

    May 14, 2021 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. FmrfEncox

    use paypal to buy cialis http://cialisee.com/ how much does cialis cost

    May 14, 2021 at 23:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RebfZisse

    cialis edmonton http://rcialisgl.com/ – generic cialis 40 mg cialis online

    May 15, 2021 at 04:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. FmrfEncox

    cialis without persriction http://cialisee.com/ cialis professional

    May 15, 2021 at 04:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. combigan

    buy generic combigan buy combigan online

    May 15, 2021 at 06:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. cyclosporine

    cyclosporine pharmacology buy cyclomune usa

    May 15, 2021 at 08:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. stornobrzinol

    Very interesting topic, regards for putting up.

    http://www.stornobrzinol.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. priligy

    dapoxetine 100 mg dapoxetine 10 mg

    May 15, 2021 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. GtnbCrulk

    viagra premature ejaculation https://jokviagra.com/ viagra in the water

    May 15, 2021 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. combigan

    generic combigan brimonidine tartrate 2%

    May 15, 2021 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. avana

    avanafil cost avanafil buy

    May 16, 2021 at 02:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. JebgEncox

    best canadian pharmacy trusted canadian pharmacy Augmentin

    May 16, 2021 at 22:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. LbsoZisse

    cialis 20mg shopping https://ucialisdas.com/ – cialis with dapoxetine generic cialis online

    May 17, 2021 at 05:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. AnooEncox

    how long does viagra take to take effect http://llviagra.com/ nitroglycerin contraindicated with viagra

    May 17, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RebfZisse

    generic cialis 20 mg https://rcialisgl.com/ purchase viagra cialis paypal

    May 17, 2021 at 20:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. BbshMile

    natural viagra https://loxviagra.com/ – viagra com free sample best way to take viagra

    May 17, 2021 at 23:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. LebnEncox

    Theo-24 Cr https://xlnpharmacy.com/ canadian prescription

    May 18, 2021 at 06:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. JebgEncox

    Floxin http://pharmacylo.com/ canadian 24 hour pharmacy

    May 18, 2021 at 08:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Anjelica Oliger

    A motivating discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you need to write more about this subject matter, it may not be a taboo matter but generally people do not talk about these issues. To the next! Many thanks!!

    https://extraproxies.com/tag/clever/

    May 18, 2021 at 15:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. LebnEncox

    diuretics http://xlnpharmacy.com/ pharmacy price comparison

    May 19, 2021 at 06:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. GtnbCrulk

    100mg viagra http://jokviagra.com/ cost of viagra at costco

    May 19, 2021 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. AnooEncox

    viagra tablets for men price http://llviagra.com/ viagra gЕ‚Гіwny skЕ‚adnik

    May 20, 2021 at 02:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. BbshMile

    generic viagra usa https://loxviagra.com/ mom gives son viagra

    May 20, 2021 at 06:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. LbsoZisse

    can you buy cialis with no prescription https://ucialisdas.com/ – viagra cialis melbourne site:au how can i buy cialis online

    May 20, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. cyclomune

    cyclosporine pharmacology cyclosporine eye drops

    May 21, 2021 at 02:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RebfZisse

    walmart pharmacy cialis price http://rcialisgl.com/ where can i buy cialis 20mg

    May 21, 2021 at 06:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. AnooEncox

    venden viagra en farmacias http://llviagra.com/ – viagra somministrato a donne herbal viagra in qatar

    May 21, 2021 at 10:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. chloroquineorigin

    chloroquine cancer https://chloroquineorigin.com/ clonidine hcl raoult coronavirus chloroquine price in india

    May 21, 2021 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. chloroquineorigin

    clonidine hcl clonidine nivaquine chloroquine new zealand https://chloroquineorigin.com/

    May 21, 2021 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. chloroquineorigin

    https://chloroquineorigin.com/ buy chloroquine online malarone clorochina hidroxicloroquina

    May 23, 2021 at 02:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. LbsoZisse

    viagra and cialis https://ucialisdas.com/ generic cialis forums

    May 23, 2021 at 06:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. cyclomune

    cyclomune cyclosporine cost

    May 23, 2021 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Soosteemocush

    cialis cost buy generic cialis online with mastercard buy tadalafil tadalafil online with out prescription https://tadacipetadalafil.com/ – tadalafil drug

    May 23, 2021 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. AnooEncox

    is there a generic pill for viagra https://llviagra.com/ viagra pua

    May 23, 2021 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. LebnEncox

    Medex https://xlnpharmacy.com/ Tadalis SX

    May 23, 2021 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. JebgEncox

    canadian prescription drugs cheap pharmacy no prescription Inderal

    May 23, 2021 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Tritreviewifind

    cialis at canadian pharmacy canada generic tadalafil cost of cialis tadalafil price walmart https://tadalafilww.com/

    May 23, 2021 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RebfZisse

    cialis for women dosage http://rcialisgl.com/ cialis daily online

    May 23, 2021 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. مدیر بیمه

    Pretty part of content. I simply stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to claim that I get actually loved account your blog posts.
    Any way I'll be subscribing on your feeds or even I success you get entry to consistently fast.

    May 23, 2021 at 22:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. مدیر بیمه

    I don't even know the way I ended up here, but I assumed this put up was once
    good. I do not know who you might be but definitely you're going to a famous blogger in the event you are
    not already. Cheers!

    May 23, 2021 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. GtnbCrulk

    how long do the effects of viagra last https://jokviagra.com/ viagra vs.levitra

    May 24, 2021 at 00:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Tritreviewifind

    tadalafil dosage https://apcalisetadalafil.com/ – cost of cialis buy cialis pills buy generic cialis online with mastercard https://tadacipetadalafil.com/

    May 24, 2021 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. brimonidine

    combigan side effects brimonidine side effects

    May 24, 2021 at 01:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Soosteemocush

    https://cttadalafil.com/ generic cialis tadalafil https://cttadalafil.com/ – tadalafil drug side effects for tadalafil

    May 24, 2021 at 05:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. brimonidine

    buy combigan brimonidine tartrate ophthalmic

    May 24, 2021 at 05:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. tausAffessy

    tadalafil generic what is tadalafil tadalafil online with out prescription canada generic tadalafil https://tadagatadalafil.com/

    May 24, 2021 at 07:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Soosteemocush

    https://apcalisetadalafil.com/ generic cialis tadalafil buy tadalafil tadalafil side effects tadalafil brands

    May 24, 2021 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. brimonidine

    buy combigan online combigan generic prices

    May 24, 2021 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. LebnEncox

    safe canadian pharmacies https://xlnpharmacy.com/ canadian pharmacy no rx needed

    May 24, 2021 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. tausAffessy

    https://cttadalafil.com/ tadalafil brands tadalafil online with out prescription buy tadalafil tadalafil drug

    May 24, 2021 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.