Monday, February 14, 2011


So today was the day, the day that I found out not only what type of doctor I am going to be, but where I am going to be for the next several years.

And the winner is.......Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby Pennsylvania for Internal Medicine!!!! The goal is to do a fellowship in Pulmonary/Critical Care medicine after that and finally be an Intensivist/Critical Care physician in the ICU.

As promised, I will go through what I did and why I did it.

Let's start at the beginning. When I was making my list of residency choices, I was gung ho about going into Emergency Medicine. I was, after all, a 20 year veteran as an EMT. And it only seemed natural. While was rotating through the emergency department is always felt right. However there were several things that were going against me. First and foremost, Emergency Medicine is very competitive and there are a lot less spots than there are applicants. So, I needed to be realistic. That being said, while looking into the Osteopathic programs that were available, there were only 3 that I could realistically apply to. I forgot to preface that the decision was made not to move from the area, but that I would apply to programs that were within a 1-1.5 hour driving radius of my house.

The other Emergency Medicine programs were all Allopathic and from looking at the residency classes over the years, many had not had a respectful number of Osteopathic physicians within their programs. So that already told me that there would be very little to no chance of getting an interview there let alone match into their program.  So I had to decide what to do about a backup plan and decided on Internal Medicine. I liked seeing patients, especially in the hospital but I was not crazy about taking care of little kids. Then came my fateful rotation in November in the ICU.

From the first time that I started that rotation, I felt like it was right. That was especially true after one of the Intensivists started teaching us and while waiting for a patient to come up we had a very interesting conversation about critical care. The more I spent time in the ICU, the more I realized that I loved it there and so I became very torn. What to do? EM or IM to pulm critical care.

I added a couple of combined EM/IM and EM/FM programs and interviewed at a few. Then came the time to rank my list. I started receiving bad news that I would not be ranked at one location for Emergency Medicine and slowly I was coming to see that EM was probably not going to happen. I then received a phone call from Mercy Fitzgerald telling me that I am going to be ranked very high and they feel that the program and I were a good fit. Three days before submitting my list, I received a phone call from a combined program telling me that they were ranking me high. So there was a chance that I can do both EM and IM and eventually do critical care medicine.

Why did I set my rank list the way that I did (no, I will not post my rank order or the other places that I ranked). There were several things that I looked at:

First, what type of doctor do I see myself. Then I looked at the didactics. How were their teaching? Did the residents like the teaching style? Did I like the teaching style? From one of the places that I rotated at, I knew that I did not like their teaching style so, while I ranked them, I did not rank them high.

Then I looked to see what benefits the program offered. And most of them had very similar benefits so this was not a big deal.

I looked at a time frame. how long until I can finally be done with training. IM=3 years, Fellowship=3 years, EM/IM=5 years fellowship =1 year. So there was no difference there.

Finally I looked at salary. And there were big, big differences. While one program had very high salary compared to the others, I did not like the didactics. If I am not going to be happy, no amount of money will compensate for it. So that did not change. In the end I was torn between my #1 and my #2 but as you know, there can be only 1 and therefor I had to make the decision.

In the end, I matched in a location where it was close to home, had a good salary and benefits, had good didactics, and in the end would train me to be the doctor that I want to be.

Now, my focus will be to graduate from medical school, and enter into residency with my eye on getting that fellowship in 3 years. No holds barred.


  1. Congratulations! Good luck as you start your residency!

  2. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!you are truly an inspiration to all......

  3. Congratulations! Best wishes to you as you wrap up med school and begin the next leg of your journey!

  4. Congratulations! I had to look up the word didactics, so I got to learn a new word today. Yay! I have heard it before but was too lazy to look it up. That is good that you found a good school with the qualities you wanted. That is great!