NRMP released locations of where students matched for residency. Normally this day would be filled with joy and relief for thousands of medical students and graduates, but the world has suddenly changed. Residents are going to be faced with the Coronavirus pandemic.
Check-in with your program director at every step and follow his/her instructions. He/She is at the front line and knows more than anyone how to manage issues. Find out what videoconferencing systems are used by the residents and program director and videoconference with them whenever possible instead of just calling. It will help you to assess the environment and start acclimating.
Consult with the program director on when you should travel to the city where your residency is located. With places like California on lock down, you will want to work out logistics asap. Consider driving if possible instead of flying, for obvious reasons. If you don’t have a car, consider renting one. Find out how resources are before you travel and see if you need to buy items before you go.
The foreign medical graduates, the ECFMG is currently still processing paperwork needed for a J-1 visa in preparation for when the US will start issuing visas again.
Travel into the USA is becoming more difficult and some travel is prohibited from countries with high infection rates. US embassy’s and consulates have stopped issuing visas. There are some exceptions, so go to your U.S. Embassy or consulate web page for specific information.
A note to all program directors on this issue; since we do not know the timeline for the pandemic, please make note of matched students in your program who are FMG’s, who are out of the country and who may not be able to return for the start of the PGY1 residency year. There are many students and graduates who have put in years of education, hard work to get where they are today, but who did not match. They may be looking for research to assist you and prove themselves that they can do the job. Please consider them for the future and list any positions which may be open ASAP on ResidencySwap or FindaResident. Please do not consider not filling the positions.
For people who did not match, contact a program director or resident who you are inspired by or who is doing research that you are interested in and ask if you can assist with meta-analysis or researching topics. This may give you the network connection that you need for next year.
In these challenging times, we must consider how much each person can contribute to solving problems.