Last Wednesday began like all fellowship match days do, with a sense of optimism, tempered by a familiar unease. The same emotions return each year, as they always will, as long as we trust our futures to an obscure computer algorithm. But there was no need to worry; we had another phenomenal year.
In the afterglow of last week’s fellowship match, let’s reflect on our residents’ success. How did they do it? To a major extent, the answer is self-evident. When they evaluate candidates, fellowship directors look at three key factors: clinical performance, academic potential, and citizenship. First, directors know our residents are knowledgeable, skilled, compassionate clinicians. Second, they are productive scholars; their portfolios are replete with impressive presentations and publications. Third, our residents contribute; they serve on committees, lead teaching conferences, create curricula, and help with recruitment. Who wouldn’t be impressed?
But there’s more. Fellowship directors look for special factors that don’t make it onto CVs. These include:
- Emotional intelligence- candidates with the capacity to listen, to communicate effectively, and to be reliable teammates.
- Selflessness- candidates who prioritize giving over taking, who forsake personal gain to focus on the higher goal of contributing to academic medicine.
- Enthusiasm- candidates who are genuinely excited about working hard and putting in the long hours required to master a specialty, even after three grueling years of residency.
- Gratitude- candidates who truly appreciate—despite all the challenges and unrelenting expectations of modern medicine—that it’s a gift to train in a world-class medical center, to be surrounded by talented people, and to be a member of this noble profession.
- Kindness- candidates who know that to accomplish anything important, whether in medicine or in life, you have to be kind. This is our residency’s trademark. As Dr. Kantor says- our residents are “as good as any, nicer than most.”
In the end, it’s no surprise that the match went well. Indeed, whatever our graduates choose to become—subspecialty fellows, hospitalists, or primary care physicians—they are destined to do great things. They are destined to make us proud.
But we should never take success for granted. Our residents are talented to be sure; but talent needs to be nurtured. During their training, our residents have grown into master clinicians and teachers, they’ve pushed the boundaries of knowledge, and they’ve contributed to our community. Along the way, they’ve nourished relationships, they’ve evolved into role models, and they’ve spread respect, compassion, and kindness wherever they’ve gone. That’s the recipe for success.
Congratulations again to everyone who matched last week, and wishing all of you a wonderful Sunday,