Rush Medical College’s fourth-year students couldn’t all be in the same room to find out where they will be headed for residency, but they were all in a matching state of mind.
Wearing identical t-shirts for unity during a virtual Match Day celebration on March 19, they were together in spirit for this momentous occasion, when medical students across the United States simultaneously receive information about their future in medicine. Once the results were emailed by the National Residency Matching Program at 11 a.m.. Rush’s graduating medical students erupted into cheers and tears as they found out where they will be receiving residency training.
“Our students represent the very finest qualities of our profession,” says Elizabeth Baker, MD, MHPE, senior associate dean of undergraduate medical education at Rush Medical College. “They have invested many years of hard work and time, and overcame an incredibly trying year. I couldn’t be prouder of how they persevered.”
“This was a long time coming,” says Rush Medical College student John Ogunkeye, who is set to start a urology residency at Stanford Medicine. “It was definitely a weird year — many of us have matched at places where we’ve never even been — but at the end of the day it’s a dream come true.”
For Ogunkeye and his classmates, Match Day was an emotional milestone during a challenging final year of medical school. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the residency recruitment process was limited to virtual meetings, and students weren’t able to take part in clinical rotations away from their medical school. Away rotations allow students to scout potential residency programs.
“There were so many different variables for us,” fourth-year Rush Medical College student Aretha Boakye-Donkor says. “Especially during the residency process. It wasn’t easy making connections with people at various programs on a video call, but I think more and more residency applicants got more comfortable with the virtual process toward the end.”
Match Day Success
The 124 Rush Medical College students in the Class of 2021 matched with residency programs in 21 specialties and six combined programs at 76 institutions across the country. This year’s top specialties include internal medicine (20), emergency medicine (16), pediatrics (12), general surgery (10), and family medicine (10).
Twenty Rush Medical College students will continue their training with residencies at Rush University Medical Center and four will train near by at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County.
“We made every effort to make sure our medical students got the best possible support and mentoring and ensure they were fully prepared to face the circumstances of this past year,” says Joy Sclamberg, MD, senior associate dean of Graduate Medical Education at Rush University.
Rush’s other graduating medical students will train in residency programs at other prestigious institutions, such as Yale, Beth Israel Deaconess, Vanderbilt and Stanford.
About Match Day
Match Day is the culmination of the process of applying and interviewing for residency programs at health care institutions across the country. Once students are done interviewing, they rank their choices in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) system, and the residency programs in turn rank their top student picks. The NRMP system then matches students with the residency programs.
Depending on a student’s chosen specialty, a residency will last from three to six years and leads to eligibility for board certification in a medical or surgical specialty. The residency is composed almost entirely of the care of hospitalized or clinic patients with supervision by senior physicians.