Becoming a physician isn’t for those afraid of commitment. This is part of why you know it’s the right career for you. You’re passionate about medicine, unafraid of hard work, and dedicated to helping people. These attributes can work to your advantage during the long application process, but you should also know getting accepted into medical school is just the beginning of your journey.
After obtaining a medical degree from a four-year program, you still need to complete another three to seven years as a resident. Some would argue residency is even more important than medical school, because it provides the actual training that allows you to develop your clinical skills. You also need to complete residency in order to obtain a medical license.
Clearly, you need to make sure you evaluate residency placement information for each program you’re considering. The St. George’s University (SGU) School of Medicine knows the value of preparing students for residency applications and interviews. We spoke with Dr. John Madden, an emergency medicine physician who serves as the school’s associate dean of students and director of the Office of Career Guidance and Student Development, to learn more.
With Dr. Madden’s help, we uncovered some interesting information about SGU residency placements that you might want to keep in mind.
1. SGU residency placements reached a record high in 2019
It’s encouraging to see a medical school maintaining consistent residency placement numbers. Upward trends are even more heartening. SGU has steadily been increasing its number of residency placements in recent years. In fact, 2019 was a record-setting year with 961 SGU graduates obtaining residency positions across the US.
2. SGU maintains a strong residency placement rate
Most medical schools talk about placement rates as opposed to the total number of residencies secured, which makes comparing programs even easier. In 2019, 94 percent of SGU’s graduates who applied for a postgraduate position obtained one at the time of graduation.*
3. More than 70% of grads pursue primary medicine…
The US is on the cusp of a major physician shortage affecting numerous specialties. For primary care providers in particular, the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts the shortage will fall between 21,100 and 55,200 by 2032.
SGU is a big believer in addressing future health care needs by encouraging interest in primary care. This has led to more than 70 percent of SGU graduates starting out in these fields. “It’s something we shout from the mountaintops,” Dr. Madden says.
Some critics point out that primary specialties — internal medicine, family medicine, OB/GYN, and pediatrics — are typically less competitive than fields like orthopaedic surgery or emergency medicine. It’s important to remember that the vast majority of students, regardless of where they attend school, will ultimately pursue primary care. There are simply more spots available.
Furthermore, no program can make promises to its students about where they’ll match for residency. “Even if you go to a US school, you are not guaranteed to get the specialty of your choice,” Dr. Madden explains. It all comes down to your work ethic and ability to achieve impressive test scores.
4. … but SGU graduates also secure highly competitive residencies every year
While a large portion of SGU graduates pursue primary care medicine, there are plenty who gain acceptance to residencies for some of the most competitive specialties. Browse through the 2019 placements to learn more about where grads ended up and the specialties they pursued. You can also click on select names if you’d like to get in touch with a graduate to hear more about their experiences.
5. Even grads who did not initially match have obtained positions
Most medical students obtain residency placement through the National Resident Matching Program’s Main Residency Match, but not every student obtains a placement through this method. Applicants who didn’t match can participate in the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program to get placed into an unfilled position. They can also seek an alternative path.
For students who don’t get placed through the Match, Dr. Madden suggests they email a PDF of their application to residency coordinators. It could prove beneficial if a program ends up with one or more unanticipated openings. “One year we had about 40 students secure spots using that method,” Dr. Madden says.
"One year we had about 40 students secure spots using that method."
6. Residency positions are secured all over the US
Some states offer many more residency slots than others. It makes sense that a significant number of SGU graduates would attend residencies in those locations. Even still, residents who graduated from SGU obtain postgraduate positions in more states than not. You can see for yourself by browsing placement information as far back as 2001.
Start planning your path
The above information on SGU residency placements shows the program is serious about helping students become doctors. Whether you have your whole career planned out or are still interested in learning more about different specialties, you can expect to be greeted by faculty and staff who are invested in your success at St. George’s University.
This article has been updated from a previous version to include current facts and figures.
*Data as of October 2019.
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