GRAND FORKS, N.D.–Opening envelopes that held the answers to where they will spend the next few years of their lives, 61 senior medical students, members of the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) Class of 2014 at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, learned where in the United States they will hone their skills as resident physicians. On Match Day, March 21, medical school seniors across the country found out where they will complete their residencies, a period of advanced intensive training in their chosen medical specialty before independent practice as a physician. Depending on the medical specialty, medical school graduates complete anywhere from three to seven years of residency training after medical school.
Match Day is the culmination of The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), a private, not-for-profit corporation established in 1952 to provide a uniform date of appointment to positions of graduate medical education or residency in the United States. Each year approximately 17,000 U.S. medical school seniors participate in the residency match.
Early in their final year of medical school, U.S. senior students apply to the residency programs at which they would like to train. Directors of those programs review applications and invite candidates for interviews, typically in the fall and early winter. Once the interview period is over, applicants and program directors submit rank-order lists to the NRMP. Program directors rank applicants in order of preference, and applicants compile their lists based on their preferred medical specialty and the location of the training programs. The NRMP then feeds the rank-ordered choices of the students and directors into a computer, which provides an impartial match between the two groups. In the third week of March, at the same time across the country, students open envelopes to find the results of the match.
"Last year we matched 100 percent of our graduates in a year where there was the largest number of unmatched U.S. graduates ever," said Joycelyn Dorscher, M.D., associate dean for Student Affairs and Admissions at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. "This year was even more competitive, adding to the stress and excitement for our students and their families."
UND medical students successfully matched in the traditional primary care specialties of internal medicine (8), family medicine (9), and pediatrics (4)—for a total of 21 or 34 percent of the class. Other specialties chosen by this year's class include anesthesiology, neurology, emergency medicine, general surgery, obstetrics/gynecology, dermatology, ophthalmology, orthopaedic surgery, preliminary year, urology, vascular surgery, radiology-diagnostic, radiology-oncology, psychiatry, and pathology.
"Our students have worked very hard to get to this point, and they are ready for the rigors of residency," Dorscher said. "Because they have received their training throughout the state, the citizens of North Dakota should take pride in having contributed to the success of these fine future physicians."