Match Day comes and goes, and did medical students continue to avoid primary care?

Match Day in March often marks the climax of the years of training a medical student endures.

This year, we apparently have more focus from the national media on the issue, thanks to the proliferation of health blogs that every newspaper seems to have.

Pauline Chen writes about her experience with the rite (complete with a photo taken from my alma mater, Boston University), writing how students in her class were paraded in front of their peers, and their match results announced over a sound system.

That’s quite a position to place an anxious medical student in, since what’s in that envelope literally has the power to dictate these students’ futures.

Next, the WSJ Health Blog interviews fellow medical blogger Colin Son, who had to “scramble” after failing to match in neurosurgery. That 24 to 48-hour period where unmatched students scramble into the few, remaining residency slots is certainly drama and tension-filled. Best of luck to Colin, by the way, as he found a general surgery slot at the University of Texas.

Finally, there are the inevitable stories of how few domestic medical students matched into a primary care slot. This year is no different. As Jacob Goldstein notes, “Just over 42% of the family medicine residency slots in this year’s match went to seniors receiving their M.D.s this year from U.S. med schools,” compared with anesthesiology, where “just under 84% of the first-year anesthesiology residency slots went to [United States] seniors.”

The average salary of a family physician is $180,000, versus $400,000 for an anesthesiologist.

American medical students, often heavily burdened with medical school debt, go to where the money is.

Go figure.

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