The luck of the medics

Match day_thumb.jpg

Wearing green shirts that read, “Kiss me, I matched!” the Pritzker Medical School Class of 2006 piled into a Hospitals auditorium Thursday morning to tear open 105 white envelopes containing their residency placements. “This is one of the biggest days of your career,” said medical education dean Holly Humphrey, MD’83, assuring fourth-years that they’d always remember “who you’re sitting next to, how fast your heart was racing when you opened the envelope.” A ritual more momentous than graduation, Match Day marks the transformation from medical student to physician, and a giddy energy infected the room. Parents came out to offer congratulations; spouses and children came to find out where they’d be living for the next several years. The SRO crowd perched in the aisles and flanked the walls; some overflowed into the hallway.

Last month fourth-year medical students across the country submitted lists of their residency picks to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), ranked in order of preference. Hospitals also rated applicants, and NRMP officials matched up students with the highest-ranking hospitals to accept them.

Amid the cheers and reflections—and convocation-day reminders about caps and gowns, student loans, and cleaning out lockers—President-elect of Pritzker’s alumni association, Russ Zajtchuk, SB’60, MD’63, offered some advice: Have compassion. “Often there is too much of a hurry. It’s always too many patients, or you didn’t get paid enough. … Spend time with a dying patient. It will bring tears to your eyes, but it’s important.” Humphrey had a more immediate suggestion—“Don’t forget to get a temporary license to practice medicine in the state in which you will be a resident,” she said, to audience chuckles.

At 11 a.m., after handing out the last envelope to Lauren Whiteside, Humphrey ordered them opened. Long seconds of rustling gave way to hugs and cheers. Someone opened a spray can of string confetti. “The University of Chicago medical school,” Humphrey proclaimed, “is 100 percent matched!”


Photo: The envelope please...

March 17, 2006