An International Medical Graduate with USMLE SCORES: Step 1-78, Step 2 CK-79 Pre-Matched in 2008 to an Internal Medicine residency Program (categorical). There were 1700 applicants and only 9 positions, and I got one of them. This is a blog of My Residency Journey: a True Miracle of God

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 964: Last Day of Residency !!

It has been a long time since I wrote in the blog, and I apologize for that. I meant to every day, but it was hard for me. In fact as I write this down its 24 hours since I finished my residency. Normally most residents finish July 1st, but because of some events over the year, I had to make up some lost day and clinic hours. I know that many of you have been following my journey throughout the years and from the bottom of my heart I appreciate your patience. I hope the time I spent here sharing my experiences and views helped lift you up from time to time.

Many things have changed throughout my final year in residency. I lot of trying times and heart ache. One was the farewell of all my the seniors and residents I spent my first two years with. I put my heart out on the line with many of them, and to see them go was very difficult. Also, my father passed away a few months ago. But not all has been sober. I have a new baby boy in my Life !! He was born in October 2011. He is the most wonderful thing I've ever seen.

I'll try to recall some experiences of my third year with many of you. Today I'm still trying to get use to the fact that I finished my residency. I wish that I would enjoy it more, but the stress of starting to work has come fast. In fact, the final 6 months of this year, I have spent trying to get my papers and license in order. There is this process called FCVS, in which you hand in all your paper work and medical school records and they keep it in their database throughout your life, so as to avoid having to ask your old medical school for records, however the process takes an extreme amount of time, if your an IMG. I studied overseas, so my school took months and months to send the paper work. In fact, I still haven't received all my paper work. Instead, I chose to apply directly to the state that I will be staying in: NJ !!

Its difficult to explain how I feel, right now. Its like a marathoner at the end of a long race. There is a sense of personal satisfaction, but also a deep sense of tiredness. You are trying to soak in the moment, and at the same time you just want to sleep for a week. But then again you can't, because you are soon starting a "real" job.

I've decided to work as a Hospitalist the coming year or two. I won't give all the reasons behind my decision now, but it seems to be a growing field in medicine. It offers you a decent salary and also time to spend off to enjoy other things. The trend seems to be working 7 days on and 7 days off. The salary ranges anywhere from $150,000-220,000 with or without bonuses. There are a lot of factors that go into the salary that ill talk about as time goes by. (maybe it might help those of you who are in your last year) Looking for work was a bit of a surprise, and I'll share my experiences. I went on many interviews and I would say that 95% of them were positive, and practically every place I interviewed offered me the position. I'm not sure that says a lot about my qualifications, as it says for the shortage of Hospitalist that are desperately needed in the hospitals. The majority of my class mates became hospitalist and decided to practice out of the state. Only 1 or 2 were interested in fellowships. I think the majority of us just wanted to start working and move on with life.

My last day at the hospital was also one of the saddest. I went to the resident lounge to see it for the last time. I went to open my locker and I found that it had already been replaced with someones name (new 1st year). I was upset for a few seconds, until I realized that its a part of life. I still remember my first day in the resident lounge. I saw three of the graduating senior residents emptying there locker. they seemed in a bit of a hurry and not extremely happy, but then again I was so happy and excited that I didn't dwell on their demeanor much.

Tomorrow I'm heading over to my new hospital. I have to sign bank papers and insurance papers. And I also need a physical and PPD testing etc...

Overall its a new start and new beginning in my life. I wish I could enjoy that it was the last day of residency, but there is a new start and a new beginning coming.

However, my main reason for coming here to write a blog was to give thanks to the person that has helped me the most: God and the people he placed in my life to get me to this point. If not for God there would be no me, and there wouldn't be days like today. I think he placed many people in my walk of life that helped me to get to this point and to give praise to him.

No matter what happens in my life: the heart ached, the triumphs or the let downs, God's goodness has been one constant in my life. I have always felt the loving hand of God around me. A father and a positive friend. Always there to help me and guide me through the toughest times in life. I felt that I neeeded to share my experiences with trying to get residency; with trying to do what seems impossible for many of you: getting residency in the states. I feel that it was truly a miracle of God, and no one will ever take that away from me. I hope in this long journey that I have at least helped one person to feel good about themselves. My only wish was to give someone who reads this hope where there is no hope. To give someone struggling to get residency and finish there career a bit of sun light in the darkness that they might have experienced. I'm not smarter of better than any of you. Whatever blessing nad luck came my way, it was meant for the greater good. It was for a higher purpose. If my measly example can give one of you a ray of hope and can help those struggling with challenges, then every pain that I have felt in life is worth it.

GOd has freely Given, now I only wish to freely give to whoever I can.

Maybe you stumbled along this blog now or before, and you have been struggling to get residency. You feel despair. Your unsure of the future and all you see is darkness and fear. Well, I'm here to tell you to NOT GIVE UP. There is light at the end of the tunnel or there is calmness at the end of the storm. Sometimes that storm last a long time, and many of you have spent months and years in it, but there is a solution and there is a comfort. There are people out there that understand what your going through. I understand the despair and disappointment. And I would tell you friend to take heart. And when you feel alone or that there is no one that understand you, be of good cheer. God is there for you. Jesus and his holy spirit is there to comfort you. Tonight, alone in your room as you lay on your bed or as you drive to work or to the library, open your heart to God. Talk to him as you would a friend, and he will comfort you in your struggle.

Many years ago during a world war, a prisoner was dragged by a security guard to the bathrooms and was throne on the floor of toilets and was told to clean them with his bear hands. As this prisoner lay there humiliated and forced to do the unthinkable, the guard mockingly asked him "where is your God?" The prisoner from the floor looked up to him and said "He is Here with me."

And so in your room now where you read this. In your despair for residency and trying to accomplish the things you most want in life, GOD and Jesus is there with you. Its a very strange thing to explain, But he is there with you. We don't know why bad things happen to good people, but rest assured God is there with you. Even though you walk through the shadows of heart ache and death in this world he is there with you. Crying with you..... (psalms 23)

God Bless all of you...... May God give you peace and happiness in your life.

Don't Give up !! You can DO it !! Believe in Yourself . Work as Hard as you can, and let the chips land where they may...



If God had mercy on my life, why would he not do the same for you?

Some messages of Hope for you:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Day 564 My personal Experience with the Scramble and Advice

With several Days remaining till the match and the scramble, I decided to help. I have been through the scramble twice. I will go point by point.I think it could possibly help many of you.

1.Avoid Paying for Scramble services

There is a simply reason for why you shouldn't pay for a scramble service which basically automatically send off your cv and paper work to 100 program instantly, and that is because on scramble day you need to call EACH And EVERY program you are applying to ! Randomly sending it to a bulk of programs seems like no harm, but there are several problems with it.

* Many of these pay services email programs automatically. Majority of
programs suggest NOT sending emails. There is way too many emails to
read. These program only have several hours to fill their
spots, and they are not going to review all these emails, it just
takes too much time. They rather have paper work in their arms.
* These services send these random faxes and emails to programs that you
might not qualify for. IT raises your expectations. You shouldn't be
faxing programs that you do not qualify for. Don't waste your time and
* Too Expensive.

2. Get an extra friend to HELP you CALL PROGRAMS WHEN THE Scramble STARTS !!!!

As soon as the empty spot list is open in the National Match Registry. have an extra one or two friends on hand that will help you to start calling programs to ask them if you can send your papers. and whether you qualify or not. This is the most important thing to do on scramble day!! you need an extra one or two phone lines.
the secretary will tell you "yes your qualify, and please send your papers." This is perhaps the most important point, because they hear your voice over the phone and will be inclined to view your application. Or they will tell you "sorry we filled the spot" Don't take it too heart, move to the next number. You will hear many rejections that day. Don't waste time hang up and call the next. (I was fortunate to have my wife with me in the scramble twice. She was the greatest help!)

3. Speak Clear English over the phone when calling Program

When these programs hear that you are an IMG, they might think that you don't speak English. So many times when we called, the secretary was so surprised that I spoke English. Speak slow and take your time.If you are not good at English, just take your time speaking.

4. Have A fax at home or Use an online Fax Service (if you can afford it)

This might be hard for some, but you can fax your OWN papers to the programs, after you get off the phone with them. If you cannot afford a fax, then try to use an online fax service if you can afford it. You need to upload the papers to the fax service online, and then after speaking with the program send the fax. I personally don't have any experience with them, but its optional.I always used the fax machine,and it worked almost all the time.

5. The night before the scramble Be prepared with a List of who you will Call

The scramble is the day after the Match. There is no time to waste. start making a list of the programs you qualify for and get ready to call them. If you want review last years unmatched if you want an idea of the programs that will be possibly open. Right it in a neat paper. Make copies and hand them to your friend, and start calling. check the Match schedule site for the time of when the scramble day starts.

6.Be prepared for possible phone interviews

There will be programs that might give you an interview over the phone. be ready and speak slowly. Offer to travel to them for a live interview if you are in the same state !! They will love to see you go personally. (this is highly optional)

7. Prepare all the paper work you are going to send over the fax.

8. If you are in the same state as program,Let them KNOW you are in the same state few miles away!!

And let them know that if they are going to offer live interviews, that you are available to go the SAME DAY! I experienced this once. I was in the same state of the program I called, and they told me to go over for a live interview. IN fact going there changed my life. (following the link of my story on the bottom)

9.Put your ego aside. Call ALL THE PROGRAMS and specialties you Qualify for.

This is not the time to be picky. You need to call all the programs you qualify for. The name of the game now is to get any spot you can!! Put your pride and ego aside. Open all your doors.

10.Use 2 laptops and Have a good internet Connection

Make sure you internet is working.If you have too, tell your friend to bring there laptops to your house to help you.

11. Clear your house for the day. Make your house scramble central. Tell anyone in your house that is not going to help to leave you alone. You don't need any distractions.

12. PRAY the night before the Scramble.

perhaps you might not feel like it, and your heart is broken and you feel lost. This is the proper time to humble yourself and get on your knees and pray to GOD. I don't care if you are religious or not. This is no time for debates. you need help, and GOd can Help you. In the darkness moments of our lives, I really believe that God is there for us. come what may. It is difficult to get through these times, and you might not have the mental energy and strength to even go through the scramble. I still remember the night before the scramble. I had checked my email on match day and read the email that simply said "you did not Match" It was one of the lowest points in my life. It is very painful And many of you reading these will experience this. And from someone that went through 3 three matches and 2 scramble, I can tell you that don't lose hope. Life will hurt sometimes. there is days that shouldn't happen. But being that they do and you can't avoid it, you need someway of getting through it. God will not abandon you. he will carry you and help you get through the scramble, whether it works or not, you would have at least have the strength to get through the 24 hours. If you don't believe in GOd, it doesn't matter. God believes in you. He will help anyone that ask. God doesn't judge you. He will help the worst persons of all of us. Without merit. God will give you hope. you have nothing to lose. Try GOD.

A simple prayer or conversation as you would have with a friend. lock yourself in your room the night before the scramble and talk to God as if he was standing next to you. He will listen.He will help.

I hope this has helped many of you.

Good luck !!!!

God Bless. jesus loves you


You can do it!!!!

MY match Experience & how it changed My life

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 560 Tips from a Program director

It was around 1:15pm in the afternoon when I over heard a conversation from two faculty members in the clinic. Interestingly enough, they were talking about this years match, and about the thousand applications they had just received. The conversation I heard went like this.

Attending: "there are so many applications, and they are all qualified. It so hard to just settle on a few."

program director: "I known what you mean. What I like to do is look over several important points in the CV. I don't really look over the transcript much, as I like to look at a few things. For instance, I like to look at how many letters of recommendation this person has. A lot of times you see someone that has accomplished so much, but only has 1 letter of recommendation. I would like to think that they have met more than one person in their life that can talk about what they have accomplished and what type of person they are. Also when it comes to the letter of recommendation. I like to see long letters of recommendation. I want someone that is talking and writing something meaningful about the application. I also pay some attention to the personal statement. I try to find something that makes them stand out in the personal statement. I want to see something different. Some new experience that I have not heard about. In general also, I like to sometimes see a long CV. I want to see what exactly they have been doing all this time."

I stood there really trying to grasp everything they were saying. I was actually in the room and they saw me there. They really didn't seem to mind that I was there standing. I really found these few tips helpful. I have spoken to this program director last year. You can find our other conversation following this link (

I hope this helps someone. Good Luck this year. You can do it!!!!

God Bless


Day 546 Acing your Residency Interview

I found the following article from an expert on residency interviews. She is a consultant for medical and residency program admissions.


Most residency applicants have not found themselves in the interviewee seat since they applied to medical school. Well, the residency interview is somewhat different from the medical school interview. Because you have now nearly graduated from medical school (for the traditional applicant), no one is trying to assess your commitment to medicine; rather, they are specifically evaluating your commitment to the specialty to which you are applying. They also are evaluating your ability to perform well as a resident and if you will be a good fit for their program. This article will provide some tips to help you succeed, whether you are applying to residency this interview season or in the future.

Clearly articulate your interest in the specialty to which you are applying.
Residency program directors must be convinced that you have a genuine interest in the specialty and a clear understanding of what it means to practice in that specialty. They also want to know that you are motivated and that you will work hard to become an outstanding clinician. The question “why THIS specialty” will undoubtedly come up at every interview, and your answer to this question must be clear and well thought out. Don’t just say the obvious, but try for a response that will set you apart from other applicants. For example, as the associate program director in emergency medicine (EM), when I asked the question, “why EM,” I heard this response more times than I can count: “Well, I liked everything in medical school and I enjoy caring for high acuity patients so EM was an easy choice.” A more memorable response was, “I have been interested in EM ever since I was a patient in the ED during my second year of medical school. As I watched what was going on during that roughly six hour visit, I realized that the emergency physician who cared for me represented the type of doctor I hoped to become: someone who could manage anything that came through the door, was kind and compassionate and cared for a diverse group of patients. My time in the ED as a patient really made it clear that EM was the ideal specialty for me.” You should also try to substantiate your answer by using examples from your rotations in that specialty to illustrate what you like about it.

Be personable, energetic and communicative.

A large part of your residency interview will focus on the evaluation of your interpersonal skills, including not only how well you communicate but your demeanor, enthusiasm, compassion and general attitude. These skills are important not only because any physician, regardless of specialty, must be an effective communicator, but also because program directors are seeking applicants who will be pleasant to have in their program. You will be spending three to five intensive years in this program so interviewers try to match with people who will be a joy to train. To assess an applicant’s ability to communicate, many program directors ask them to describe an interesting case. International medical graduates (IMGs) who are not US citizens are most likely to be asked this question.

Have a clear idea of what you want to convey during your interview.
Why is this important? Many residency interviewers have little interviewing experience and simply do not know the best questions to ask or what information they should obtain. Your interviewer is your advocate on the residency admissions committee, but he or she can present the committee only the information you provide. If interviewers fail to ask you pertinent questions because of a lack of experience, their presentations in support of your candidacy may be weak. So, it is your job as a residency applicant to be proactive; tell them specifically why you are interested in the specialty, what you have done to explore this interest and what makes you a unique applicant.

Be sure to bring up “red flags.”

These red flags include board failures or major gaps in time. Even if such topics do not come up during your interview, they will likely be discussed in behind-the-scenes discussions, and you are sunk if your interviewer does not have a defense for you because the issues were not addressed.

Project a good image.
No, you won’t be evaluated on your attire, but you must appear to be mature, professional and well-balanced. This means you should have good posture, make eye contact with everyone whom you meet, speak clearly and articulately and convey confidence but without any hint of arrogance. Your interviewers are also trying to rule out any underlying psychopathology; a program’s worst nightmare is to have a resident who might have a personality disorder, a hidden substance abuse problem or a tendency to cause trouble.

Have a sense of why you will be a good fit for the program.
It is important to have as much information about the program before you interview. Sometimes this information is easy to find on websites but, if not, you can also learn about programs at dinners or events the night before the interview day (if offered) and at presentations during the interview day itself. While it is important to be authentic during your interview day (most seasoned interviewers can sense if someone is misrepresenting himself or herself), you can tailor your responses to become a better “fit” for the program. If a program is largely community based, for example, you don’t want to emphasize that you hope to become a physician scientist in the future. In contrast, for the large academic program that boasts residents’ scholarly pursuits, you would want to highlight your past academic achievements and mention that you might consider an academic career.

Be friendly and respectful towards the residency coordinator and residents.
Residency coordinators and the residents you meet have tremendous influence in this process. The residency coordinator who has a negative impression of someone often will mention this to the program director. By the same token, residents’ opinions of applicants are also taken in to consideration, especially when they are extremely positive or negative.

Be prepared for specific questions if you are an IMG.
The IMG who is a United States citizen likely will be asked about his decision to go abroad for medical school. When I do mock interviews with residency applicants, I find that most clients initially give this type of answer: “I wanted a different experience and to learn about a new culture.” When I ask for the “real” reason, they reveal the truth: “I couldn’t get into a US school because…. After doing research, I realized I could do well by going to XXX medical school.” I encourage applicants to always tell the whole truth. The IMG who is not a US citizen should be able to discuss why he decided to pursue residency training in the US and his path to residency. As discussed above, most non-US citizen IMGs will be asked to talk about an interesting case.

In summary, remember that most residency interviews are directed and conversational. In my work with clients I find that some interviews are becoming shockingly brief – some clients tell me that interviews last only 10 to 15 minutes. Depending on the program and the specialty, you will have at least two interviews but may have up to five or six. Usually, the more interviews you have, the shorter each individual interview will be. On average, though, an interview will last 20 minutes. This brevity makes it important to have a clear idea of what you would like to talk about on interview day. Also be prepared to talk about the same topics repeatedly since most interviewers are trying to ascertain the same general information.

Here are some topics that you should be prepared to discuss at your residency interview:

* Tell me about yourself.
* Why XXX specialty?
* Where do you see yourself in the future?
* Why do you want to come to this program?
* Tell me about an interesting case.
* Tell me about your rotations in XXX specialty.
* Tell me about your greatest strength and weakness.
* What are some issues in health care today and how will they impact this specialty?
* What are the negative aspects of practicing this specialty?

Jessica Freedman, MD, a former medical admissions officer, is president of MedEdits (, a medical school, residency and fellowship admissions consulting firm. She is also the author of the MedEdits blog, a useful resource for applicants: (