Residency is probably the most important period of intellectual and career development of a physician's life. And no matter what specialty you choose, it's hard. Damn hard. You work long hours for little pay, are responsible for the lives of hundreds, more likely thousands of critically ill patients, and have dozens of attending physicians constantly expecting more and more of you. And through that process, you grow, mature, and develop the confidence that you will need when the day comes when there is no one looking over your shoulder; when you have dozens of people counting on you to lead the ship, when it's your decisions that determine whether a patient lives or dies.
This Wednesday is the day that thousands of future physicians all over the country have to turn in their "rank list". This is a numbered list of where they want to go for residency, from the top to bottom. On the same day, all residencies have to put in a list of who they want to see fill their residency positions. 3 weeks later a computer spits out the "match". Like it or not, the hospital on that little computer generated sheet is your future.
Needless to say, I'm freaking out. I've already gone in and changed my list once. Before Wednesday it will happen again. What it has to come down to is where I think I will get kind of education where I will be competent and confident to manage any medical emergency or trauma that can be wheeled in the doors of my emergency department when I'm the only attending on staff in the middle of the night. I have to keep telling myself that this decision is not about location. It's not about triathlon. It's not about where the best cycling is. It's about my career. After spending 8 post-graduate years in school busting my tail to publish papers and be the best clinician I can be, I owe it to myself to find the best training opportunity to continue my education.
Damn, this is hard...
All will be revealed by the magic computer on March 19th. Unfortunately I'll be on my bike in Estero, FL... hey, I'm not in residency YET!