Tips for fourth-years

Preparing for residency: A brief guide to life after Match Week

Early planning will help you make a smooth transition to your new residency program. You should feel proud of your accomplishments.


If you participated in the NRMP Match, the first thing you should do immediately following Match Week—before you start thinking about preparing for residency—is congratulate yourself. You have put in a lot of time and effort to reach your career goals, and taking a brief pause to give yourself positive encouragement is important.

You can also thank your family and friends for all their help along the way. You have made sacrifices along your journey, but so has your support team.


Celebrate your accomplishment by doing something that makes you happy. You may want to plan a trip between the end of medical school and the beginning of residency, or you may want to spend quality time with family and friends.

You can also consider sending an email to your program director, which will serve to introduce yourself and to project professionalism.

If you did not match in the main Match or Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP), there is still hope. First, stay in touch with your medical school for possible offers or openings.

Some schools, like ours (Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine), create special instructor positions for students who do not match. Second, try to find a job in a clinical setting such as a volunteer in an emergency room or a scribe in a clinic or in a clinical research center.

If you’re moving

For many, the next steps after a successful match include making plans to relocate and having the chance to explore a new city. When relocating, there are several options to consider, including living alone or with a roommate, apartment or house, and rent or buy.

This is not an easy decision, so get help from trusted friends and family members. Some residency programs have realtors to help with your transition. Contact any friends or family who live in the area for help as well.

This is also a good time to keep in touch with your medical school. Many alumni may be in residency or practicing medicine in the area you are moving to. Your medical school can connect you with these alumni, and their insights are invaluable.

Contacting current residents at your program is helpful in both educating yourself about the area as well as connecting with your future team members.

You may also create an account on a real estate website such as Zillow or In addition, you should prepare a budget along with your relocation plans. You should know your residency salary and can budget from that point. Remember to budget for housing, utilities, food, car payments, insurance, medical expenses, discretionary items and loan repayment if applicable.

A highly rated financial resource is The White Coat Investor: A Doctor’s Guide to Personal Finance and Investing. This book specifically deals with financial issues facing medical students, residents and attending physicians.

The AOA shares personal finance guidance for physicians here. The FRIEDA residency and fellowship database includes information on 12,000 residency programs, including work and call schedules, salary details and benefit information.

Preparing for residency

Core Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs), a set of tasks learners should be able to perform upon beginning residency, are a relatively new expectation of residents.

This report from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) provides detailed explanations of the 13 EPAs and their application to essential skills for entering residents. Reviewing these EPAs will help you manage your workload on day one of residency.

Also, before starting your residency, it would be wise to investigate your attendings to see what areas of research interest them and to see what opportunities for research are available. Not only can attendings serve as mentors, but they can help you with your next steps on your career path. They can give advice on areas such as fellowships, hospitals, research opportunities and private practices.

It’s also a good idea to review emergency protocols such as ACLS and budget time to study for boards. You may also want to familiarize yourself with basic protocols and order sets for particular conditions and learn to operate the specific electronic health record (EHR) system you’ll be using.

Talking with current residents in your upcoming program during the last months of your fourth year will help because they will know which protocols are common and important. In my experience, current residents are more than eager to help because they were recently in your position.

Early planning will help you make a smooth transition to your new residency program. You should feel proud of your accomplishments as you prepare to enter the next stage of your medical training.

Related reading:

5 things you can do to prepare for residency before the first day

Cracking the Match: Everything a current (or future) residency applicant needs to know about the Match algorithm

Public Service Loan Forgiveness: What’s new, what’s left out, and what steps to take

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