Waiting with their peers at Gino’s East in Chicago to learn the results of their residency matches, Teresa Gomez and her fiancé Manuel Bramble described the process of learning where they will match as a “roller coaster.”
Match Day is held on the third Friday of March at the same time at medical schools across the country: all at once, students find out where they will spend the next three to six years as residents.
“There were some pretty tense conversations about where we wanted to be geographically. Our families are situated about 3,000 miles apart, so we knew that we could only be close to one person’s family during residency,” said Bramble. “The match process has put our patience and communication to the test; but in the end I think it really reinforced our commitment to each other.”
At 11:30 am, Bramble and Gomez opened their envelopes; Gomez matched at University of California San Francisco in Family Medicine, and Bramble at Children’s Hospital Oakland in Pediatrics.
Bramble and Gomez met before their first year of medical school, during Feinberg’s Second Look event for accepted medical school applicants and started dating two months into the year. They plan to marry in May.
This year, an all-time high of 1,035 couples participated in the match with a 94.8 percent match rate.
Participants who enter the match as a couple agree to have their lists of preferred residency programs linked to each other so they can try to match to a pair of programs that suits their needs.
More than 93 percent of U.S. medical school seniors matched to residency positions this year, and the total number of match registrants topped 41,000, the largest number on record, according to the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP).
“It feels surreal and humbling,” said Brandi Jackson, a fourth-year medical student. “It’s deeply moving to know that my journey as a medical student is over and my journey as a doctor is just beginning. It’s one of those pivotal, life-defining moments that you can only experience once.”
Jackson matched at University of Illinois College of Medicine in Psychiatry. When creating her rank list, Jackson prioritized the culture of a program.
“I knew that the people are what would make or break a residency program. I knew I needed people who were warm, happy, diverse and enthusiastic,” she said. “They needed to have different worldviews than me. They needed to be happy with themselves and have a sense of humor.”
Conducted by the NRMP, matches are made by using a computerized mathematical algorithm to align the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency program directors to fill the training positions available in U.S. teaching hospitals.
“All the work and dedication from your entire education has led you to this moment,” said Paul Devlin, a fourth-year medical student. He matched at Northwestern in Cardiothoracic Surgery.
“Medical school teaches you a framework and how to think clinically, but you also learn how much it is that you don’t know – but will learn during your residency and career. I’ll always look back on my time at Feinberg fondly and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything,” Devlin said.
View a full list of 2015 match results.
View photos from the 2015 Match Day event.