How are residency positions allocated among specialties?

Hi everyone, it’s been a long time since I updated the blog – something like 5 months. I’m in clerkship now, and it’s been very difficult to find time (and ideas) to write.

I did, however, want to put in a plug for a fantastic new Healthy Debate article called How Specialty Positions are Allocated for Medical School Graduates.

For students applying to medical school, it’s hard to imagine that there could be difficulty and challenges after you get in. The truth is that medicine, like any other profession, has its own unique problems that you cannot avoid.

For one, there is no guarantee that you will become the type of doctor you desire. The only guarantee is that you will be some kind of doctor. Want family medicine? Sure, you’ll get in somewhere, as it has hundreds of spots and is one of the least competitive programs in Canada. But want plastic surgery? Well, there are only ~25 spots in Canada. Good luck.

On top of that, even if you do become the type of doctor you desire, where are you going to work? Being a doctor doesn’t guarantee a job. Health care is like any other industry. Surgeons can’t just start operating – they need to have privileges at a hospital with an operating room. It is not uncommon for some physicians in Canada to graduate and be unable to find a job in certain specialties.

The article does a great job of explaining some of these issues, and I highly urge you to read the article and reflect on some of the challenges it brings up.