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TOPIC: Time to Jump Ship?

11 years 2 months ago #29312

  • dinoprost
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Dear Attendings:

I am sure that this forum is full of correspondence of this type, especially following match day last month, but I am trying to gather as much objective advice as possible to plan my future. Firstly, I truly appreciate any of your thoughts in this matter. Secondly, I apologize for the length & narrative nature of this post.
I am writing because I did not match in orthopaedic surgery. I attend an excellent private research medical school, and received respectable but less than stellar Steps (240/236), honored all orthopaedic electives, and participated in both basic science and clinical research in orthopaedics with resultant manuscripts submitted for publication in JBJS. I was originally in the military match, which I had hoped would be a relatively straightforward given what I perceived to be glowing recommendations from both my military and school attendings. I paid a very high price for this hubris.
One program designated on my letter that I was in the top three candidates to rotate there that year, and I told them that I would love to stay train at their program if they would have me. At this time my wife thought about attending graduate school in a relatively obscure field only offered by select universities nationwide. In order to help accommodate her, I told the previous program that I needed to go elsewhere and contacted the new one, fully disclosing both my intentions and my reasoning. I did, however, not rotate at the new one (a giant faux pas), but I had no insight into my peril.
I continued to exist as a candidate in the NRMP match during this time, and attended several interviews. I had expected many more (my school only had 2 orthopaedic applicants this year and my classmate had received many many invitations), but thought this was due to the inevitability of a military match (falsely). When I did not match, I learned instead I was remanded to a transitional residency in the military and had to withdraw from the NRMP, of which I had made a substantial investment at that time. I appealed the decision to remand me to the transitional residency to no avail, even with virtual guarantees of a spot at my home program if allowed a deferral.
In the end, I could not appeal the decision and withdrew from the NRMP. Now that the bitterness and anguish have mostly dissipated, I am left with a very tough decision and appreciate all objective input. Do I try again to secure a military orthopaedic berth this year, or effectively jump ship to another (less interesting) field to avoid what I perceive (again due to my own wounded pride) as a blacklist? Is one year of penance enough? Thank you again for all input and I appreciate your candor.

-Vexed in Virginia
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