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You’ve Matched—in a different state. 5 tips to ensure your move is smooth

Whether you matched one town or a time zone away, these tips can help make the residency moving process less stressful.

Welcome to the emotional roller coaster of finding out where you’ve matched—and that a cross-country move is in order. For many newly matched residents, relocating can be just as stressful as beginning the next phase of their careers.

To help you prepare for the big move, two residents share the lessons they learned from moving for residency training.

Look for housing early

When you search for an apartment or house right away, you’ll have more options and improve your odds of being able to move in within the time frame you desire.

“You are in competition to find housing with all the other people who matched in the same city. The earlier you start looking, the more choices you’ll have,” says Kevin Cope, DO, who moved from Birmingham, Alabama, to Jackson, Mississippi, three years ago for his emergency medicine residency.

Both Dr. Cope and Danielle Maholtz, DO, have friends who weren’t able to move in until after their residency began because they waited too long to search for housing.

“It’s definitely difficult to find the extra time to move and get settled into your place once your residency begins. My friends who weren’t able to move in until after their residency started seemed more stressed than I was the first few months,” says Dr. Maholtz, who moved two years ago from Philadelphia to Akron, Ohio, for her pediatric residency.

Factor in the commute

Having a shorter commute to the hospital gives Dr. Maholtz more time to relax between shifts and enjoy the running trails near her home.

“Knowing I would be working 24-hour or longer shifts sometimes, I wanted to live somewhere nearby and not make a long drive if I was tired,” Dr. Maholtz says.

Taking a different approach, Dr. Cope sought physical distance between his home and work lives by choosing a place 20 minutes away from the hospital.

“The drive during my commute gives me time to clear my mind a little after work,” he adds.

Weigh renting vs. buying

If you like the area where you matched and can envision yourself staying there following training, it could make financial sense to buy instead of renting.

Kevin Cope, DO, pictured with his wife Angela Cope, DO, opted to buy a home when he moved from Alabama to Mississippi three years ago for his emergency medicine residency, (Photo provided by Dr. Cope)

Cost was a huge factor when Dr. Cope decided to buy a house rather than pay more per month in rent.

“If you’re considering buying a house, call different banks and see if they offer mortgage loans for residents or new physicians that account for your student loan debt,” Dr. Cope suggests, noting that some loans could even include the down payment and closing costs.

Do virtual and in-person visits

In addition to online research, Dr. Maholtz also drove to Akron before her residency to look at potential apartment complexes for amenities, such as covered parking, and to explore the surrounding neighborhoods.

“When I met in-person with some of the apartment complex representatives, I learned some places offered discounts for my hospital’s employees,” she says.

Build a support network

Despite working long hours, Dr. Maholtz dedicated time to connecting with her fellow residents and making friends in her new city, which helped her deal with the challenges of moving.

“Trying out new restaurants and attending events in the area helped me become friends with the people I would be working closely with the next few years,” she says.

Dr. Cope strengthened his connection with two classmates who matched in the same city and hospital as he did.

“We were in regular contact about what stage we were at in the process. It was nice being able to bounce ideas off of one another and offer support while making the move,” he says.

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