As a child, fourth-year medical student Luke Boone wanted to be a roller derby star when he grew up. As an adult, he’s dreamed of a career in surgery. Match Day was the best of both for Boone who, dressed as a roller derby star, found out March 21 he’d matched with a general surgery residency program at the University of Missouri in Kansas.
“It’s a great program,” Boone said after opening the envelope that contained his program match. “I’m so excited. I guess I need to buy some warm clothes.”
Boone and his classmates, all part of the largest fourth-year class in the history of the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, found out where they’ll spend the next three -to -seven years training during Match Day festivities. This year’s theme – Childhood Dreams – saw the class dressed as what they dreamed they’d be when they grew up. Costumes ran the gamut – from Power Rangers to Indiana Jones, from Batman’s sidekick, Robin to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – and of course included a handful of…doctors.
Match Day Celebrations were held simultaneously across the country, including in Augusta and, for the first time, at the UGA/GRU Medical Partnership in Athens. Match Day is the annual event that pairs medical students nationwide who are in their last year of school with hospitals where they will train in their specialties. Students rank hospitals and hospitals rank the students, and both sets of rankings are submitted to the National Resident Matching Program, based in Washington, D.C.
According to the NRMP, 40,394 medical students registered for Match 2014, and available positions rose to an all-time high of 29,761, up nearly 500 positions over last year. In the past five years, more than 4,000 positions have been added – more than half of those in internal medicine and family medicine, according to Mona M. Signer, Executive Director of the NRMP.
The overall match rate to first-year positions was 75 percent, the highest since 2006. The match rate for U.S. seniors was 94.4 percent, 0.7 percent higher than last year. Of the applicants who matched, 54 percent of U.S. seniors and almost 50 percent of all other applicants matched to their first choice for training.
Students at GRU are pursuing 21 specialties in 31 states; 42 percent matched in primary care; 18 percent in Georgia and 12 percent at GRU. The match rate for GRU was 97.5 percent, slightly surpassing the national rate.
“Our students, both those in Augusta and those in Athens, performed exceptionally,” said MCG Dean Peter F. Buckley. “Students from Georgia’s only public medical school continue to match with top programs, not only here in Georgia, but across the country. It is a testament to the high caliber of students we are privileged to recruit and educate and is integral to the success of the state’s strategy to reduce its physician shortage.”
With the total number of positions reaching an all-time high, nationally, increases were noted in the number of primary care programs and positions offered in the Match.
Perfect for MCG Student Amanda Sanders, who matched with the internal medicine residency program at the Medical University of South Carolina. Sanders, dressed as a Pink Power Ranger, jumped up and down as tears rolled down her cheeks. “I got my first choice,” she said.
According to the NRMP:
• Internal medicine programs offered 6,524 positions, 247 more than in 2013; 99.1 percent of positions were filled, and 48.5 percent were filled with U.S. seniors
• Family medicine programs offered 3,109 positions, 72 more than in 2013; 95.8 percent of positions were filled, and 45 percent were filled with U.S. seniors
• Pediatrics programs offered 2,640 positions, 24 more than last year; 99.5 percent of positions were filled, and almost 70 percent were filled with U.S. seniors
• 3,167 seniors matched in internal medicine and 1,398 in family medicine. An additional 1,818 seniors matched in pediatrics.