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Pre-match work for post-match success

Feb 14, 2023

Often, medical students don’t realize that residency is a hybrid of employment and education. For some, post-match residency will be their first real job — a fact they may not yet appreciate.

As they focus on finishing up their final year of medical school and look toward graduation, they’re not thinking of the position that’s waiting for them around the corner — or their new role.

This new role, a brand-new job and the added pressures of clinical training can add to feelings of self-doubt, incompetency and inadequacy. These are all indications of impostorism, or impostor syndrome, a contributing factor in resident burnout and stress.

Solutions for imposter syndrome

You can implement some solutions for imposter syndrome through your program’s wellness curriculum, mentorship and the culture of your clinical learning environment. But one method of addressing imposter syndrome that you can implement even before residency begins is helping residents as they establish their professional identity.

Assisting incoming interns to prepare for their new position as resident physicians — who are both learners and employees — may help mitigate potential issues with imposter syndrome. It also improves resident well-being and continues the professional identity formation that began in medical school, all of which increase the probability of a successful residency experience.

Planning to engage students early on with your professional community can help assist them through the transition from medical student to resident physician.

The Match Day engagement plan

Imagine having your class of interns engaged and involved before starting their training. Developing a strong engagement plan is the first step, beginning with Match Day.

Start off with an initial congratulations and welcome message from the program director. Include photos of their newly matched colleagues and current residents. This immediately connects the matched students with the program and with each other.

Continued communications in your plan should be frequent, consistent and informative. Provide helpful information on the onboarding process, orientation, surrounding area, local housing and available resources.

It’s also important to include what they can expect in their new and different learning environment, as well as what will be expected of them as physicians. Remind them that this is on-the-job training in a real sense — they are both trainees and employees.

This demonstrates that the program is already invested in them and their success as physicians.

The post-match communication plan

As medical students finish with post-match interviews and craft their rank order lists for submission to the National Resident Matching Program, they begin to look toward Match Day.

Now is the time to develop a robust post-match communication plan. Start generating your articles and gathering resource information. Involve your residents and faculty in the process and create your timeline.

The efforts you make now will pay off in well-adjusted, involved interns who are more prepared for their post-match residency positions and less likely to feel like imposters. This results in a successful start to the new academic year for both the interns and your program.

How Wipfli can help

At Wipfli, our experienced team can provide assistance with a wide range of services. We’re here to answer your questions about implementing a post-match engagement plan and help your program succeed.

Contact us today for more on how we can offer support.

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Maggie Fasbender, UME, GME, CME
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