On March 17, 2005, at 11:00 a.m. CST, anxious medical students from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will learn where they will begin their residency training as results from the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) are simultaneously released to all senior medical students across the United States.
Here in Mobile, USA senior medical students will gather at the USA Mitchell Center near the Waterman Globe, where results will be distributed in sealed envelopes in a random order.
This annual event, known nationwide as "Match Day", is the culmination of a process that begins in the fall when senior medical students start applying to residency programs through a national computer system. Students are then invited to interview at the discretion of each program. The NRMP has strict rules regarding communication between students and residency programs; no
one can be “guaranteed” a position. Students electronically rank the programs in their order of preference and residency program directors across the country do the same.
The “Match” refers to the process by which the students’ and the program directors’ rank lists are overlapped resulting in the selection of students for residency positions. There is also a “couples match” that strives to locate married students in the same geographic area.
Depending on the student’s chosen specialty, a residency will last from three to six years. The minutes, hours and days leading to the moment that the envelopes are handed out are stressful, as the students anxiously hope for news of a match to their first choice.
"The quality of our medical school is reflected in the achievements of our students and alumni. Each year, our students successfully compete with medical students across the United States for some of the nation’s most competitive residency positions," said M. Margaret O’Brien, M.D., J.D., associate dean for student affairs at the USA College of Medicine. “While many of our students remain here on the Gulf Coast, last year we had students match on the East Coast (New Hampshire) and the West Coast (Oregon).”
While most USA medical students are matched through the NRMP, a few obtain residencies through other sources, such as the military or specialty matches. According to Dr. O’Brien, eight of this year's 59 senior medical students have matched through the military or specialty matches.
Doctor of Medicine degrees will be conferred on the USA College of Medicine Class of 2005 at USA's graduation ceremonies on May 7, 2005.
During the past 29 years, more than 1,700 medical students have graduated from the USA College of Medicine. The first USA College of Medicine class graduated in 1976. More than one-third of practicing physicians in our area are graduates of the USA College of Medicine and/or trained in the USA Hospitals System.