patwa_karishmaDr. Karishma Patwa

AUA Class of: 2016

Current: Internal Medicine Resident, Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, NY

Residency Interviews Landed During Application Process: 12

Tips for Obtaining Residency

Be Aggressive

Not in a bad way, but you have to sell yourself and you have to follow-up with schools. A lot of the interviews I landed were after e-mailing the program six times, to let them know I really wanted to interview. People who aren’t aggressive enough don’t match, or end up in a program they don’t really want be in.

Time Your Applications Strategically

I don’t think most people know this, in the later months, October through December, the stronger applicants have made their choices or heard back from the maximum number of schools they want to consider—so, they start cancelling their interviews with other programs. This is the time to get ‘aggressive.’ At this point in the process, programs aren’t going to go through a long list of applicants to fill the opening. If you seem really interested and you follow-up they’ll invite you in.

Reach Out to Alumni

This is really important. I have a lot of friends who went to U.S. medical schools, but they don’t really know the struggles we go through as Caribbean students. Talking to people who have gone through the process and been successful helps you to form your strategy when you’re applying.

Apply Early

This is also really important because it will help you to get the most amount of interviews you can. Even if your exams aren’t back by the time Match opens, don’t push it back another year.

But Don’t Be Afraid to Apply Late If Your Scores Are Not In

Actually, I applied really late and matched really well.

Be Confident, Respectful, and Engaging in Interviews

People skills actually do matter here. They’re not only looking for a good resident. They’re looking for someone they’d want to work very closely with and spend the whole day with. Be aware of how you come across as a person. And don’t be boring!

A Typical Floor Day: It’s what any internal medicine doctor should expect.

6:00 a.m. Arrive at hospital.

7:00 a.m. Winthrop does sign-outs: The night team signs out and the day team takes over. Before they leave, the night team tells us about anything that happened overnight that we should be aware of, or anything else we need to do that they’re involved in.

7:30-8:30 a.m. Rounds with senior resident: He or she describes some of the patients, courses of treatment, and any overnight events. Then the senior gives myself and usually a student, a teaching point. Then we cover all 10 patients.

8:30-10:00 Two sets of rounds with Attending Physicians: This is with a private attending. It’s similar to rounds with the senior, but these rounds are multidisciplinary (nursing, social work, PT, and pharmacy included). Everyone gives their input on patients.

10:00-12:00 Floor work: calling consults, calling the primary care doctor on specific cases, putting in and checking on labs, and then making decisions based on the labs that have come back.

12:00-1:00 Conferences: Usually an Attending Physician from a particular specialty will give a short lecture or give us a teaching point while we have lunch.

1:00-2:00 (various)

2:00-3:00 Another set of Rounds with Attendings

3:00-5:00 (various)

5:00 Sign-out: but you may stay later to take care of leftover administrative work, etc.

Every 4 Days  You’re ‘on-call,’ covering the floor from 5:00-10:00 until the night team arrives.

The Greatest Challenge of Residency:

Keeping perspective – When you’re so busy and seeing so many patients it’s easy to lose your compassion, and regard residency as ‘just a job’ with a list of tasks to complete. If you catch yourself doing this when talking to a patient or a patient’s loved one, remind yourself these are all individual people with individual cases, and for them this is the most important thing that’s going on in their life right now. Compassion comes back very easily when you have someone who’s just a little grateful you’re there or just happy to see you, who kind of relies on you.