beau hilton


layout: post title: “I matched. What does that mean, and so what?“ toc: true image: https://source.unsplash.com/OfMq2hIbWMQ tags: - personal - “medical training” - residency - fellowship

- “Harrison Society”

Who is this post for?

This post is mostly for family and friends who are curious about how physician training works, where I am in the process, and why what just happened is awesome.

Getting into medical school is the risky part

I am about to finish medical school. It was hard, but the conclusion was, largely, known from the outset. By the numbers, getting into medical school is much more difficult than getting out of it successfully. Most people pass their exams and graduate. Put into monetary terms, the likelihood that a person will make a physician salary is astronomically high from the second they receive their acceptance email/phone call into medical school. Of course, the fact that a doctor finished medical school tells you nothing about whether or not you would like to have him or her taking care of you or your family.

Getting into the residency and fellowship you want is the next risky part

In the olden days, most doctors began practice immediately after graduation from medical school. Over time, it became common to do an internship, or a year-ish of on-the-job training, in a particular specialty. Eventually a longer period of training called “residency” became commonplace (“residency” was named that because the doctors literally lived in the hospital, which is still not far from the truth). Many physicians start practicing independently after residency, but a large number also go on to do a fellowship, or period of subspecialty training. (For a delightful and brief history of the stages of medical training and how the match works, see Bryan Carmody's blog series).