Strong letters of recommendation are essential for supporting your residency application and matching well. This article details how to ensure you get great letters of recommendation. Knowing what constitutes a great letter of recommendation is crucial to obtaining outstanding letters. A strong letter of recommendation clearly conveys knowledge of the medical student, how that student performed and qualities that predict excellent performance in residency. Strong letters of recommendation include the following:

“The patient in room 17 needs an IV line! Hey, have you ever put in an IV before?!” Everybody looked at me at once. I tried my best to maintain a confident outer appearance. But I’ll admit, I was caught off guard. I thought back to my attempted IV insertions throughout my anesthesia rotation earlier in the year. I struggled with getting the IV line smoothly into the vein. I followed ...

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“Why don’t you just get a shotgun and blow his brains out next time? Better yet, next time stay the hell away from my patient!” I was frozen, and the ICU attending wasn’t even talking to me. My co-intern had barely started her presentation when she met damnation. Mind you — there was a senior resident, a pulmonary fellow, and a team of nurses caring for the patient also. Yet the ...

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“Those emergency room residents are f**king retarded!” This was the comment that rang through the workroom.  I had only been on this hospital service for three days, and I was having a discussion about a patient with my attending when the on-call resident had burst into the workroom and sat down next to me. He was fuming. “Why the f*** would they think I need to be consulted for this? Only ...

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The hardest thing about medical school isn’t learning medicine. It isn’t the hours. It isn’t the tests. It’s that you sign away control over years of your adult life. When I started my clerkship year in January, I felt like I was stepping onto a conveyor belt and would not be allowed off for twelve long months. For the entirety of 2018, my days are planned for me, my hours are ...

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I recently received a call from a physician resident in the Northeast U.S. who had been notified that she would be terminated from her residency program for a “weak knowledge base.” There would be no contract offered to her for the coming academic year. She reports that her scores are no worse than several of her colleagues and that her accredited program has a history of arbitrarily dismissing residents. She ...

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Want to hear a crazy story? Typical medical school students can relate tales of a college experience that includes summer research or hours spent reviewing for the MCAT. I didn't even take the MCAT. Read on for the oddest medical school acceptance story you've ever heard. I was driven in high school. I'd heard for years about smart kids going off to the Ivy League, and I wanted that experience — to ...

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I believe there’s no such thing as work-life balance. I think this every morning when I leave for work, watching my two-year-old son press his face against the front window and wave at me as I back down the driveway. It comes up again at work, as I guiltily feel relieved when a patient cancels and I have an unexpected half hour to work on a behavioral science presentation for ...

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One of the best bits of wisdom I’ve ever received is that you can tell a lot about someone by looking at how they spend their time. In medical school, time is our scarcest resource. We’re at this strange and exciting point in our lives, during which we’re responsible for learning an enormous amount of information in hopes that someday we’ll be able to quite literally save lives. Many of my ...

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For the over 6,500 candidates who applied to Canadian medical schools this cycle, the term “admissions” has taken on a whole new meaning. For some, the word has become a kind of divine judgment -- a determinative force defining the individual’s value or worth. For others, a long road of struggle has led them to acceptance of the next step in their career. To most, however, the word has morphed ...

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