Military Gap: How Will It Affect The Radiology Match?
Question From The Military:
I’ve stumbled across your blog and have enjoyed reading your content/advice. No, I didn’t see a specific scenario such as this (though maybe I am somewhat in the similar pool as an IMG), but what advice do you have for someone applying for radiology residency four years out from internship? First, I am a US graduate from an accredited MD medical school, completed an ACGME-accredited transitional year internship, and currently have my state license. Additionally, I have competitive step scores. Currently, I am now working as a general practitioner (GMO) in the military (hence the 4-year gap) with moonlighting work in urgent care/occ health. Also, I am beginning to engage with a local radiology program and am looking for research opportunities (currently only one publication and one poster presentation in my CV) to bolster my application. I feel that research is probably my weakest point. Is there anything else I should focus on to put myself in the best position to match?
Thanks for your time and consideration.
Let me be honest with you. It is more difficult to match with a gap in your application. The more years that you are out after internship, the more likely programs will discard your application sight unseen. Therefore, you will need more of an insider’s card and establish relationships with the programs. (as it seems you are doing) I would recommend that you should get to know the program director at your local hospital (if you have one). Or, you should work at a hospital with an accredited residency program so that you can get to know them.
However, what you do have going for your application is that you are in the military. The folks that I have worked with from the military have been more mature and stable. I think that can work in your favor. I would play that card. Moreover, make sure to let the residency know that you delayed your radiology training to complete the military requirements. That would take away the stain of a gap between your med school training and your application to radiology.
In terms of research, you are doing the right thing. I would try to get involved in a research project or two to show that you are involved and interested in radiology. Any bit can help when you are interviewing for spots.
To summarize, I would be sure to make it known that you are military and focus on that. That will put you way above the rest of the “gap” applicants. Moreover, I think that may take away the “gap” issue entirely and will give you a serious shot.
Thank you for your advice. There is not a lot of advice readily available for GMO’s who separate from the military after their obligation and then enter residency as a civilian (whether it be Diagnostic Radiology or any other specialty for that matter) so I hope it can help other people in my position. I will certainly focus on the military accomplishments and experiences in my application/interviews. It has certainly taught me some excellent professional and “life” skills that I will use to try and stand out among the crowd.
The Military Guy