Tuesday, September 29, 2009


It’s not such a great time to officially start a new blog. As I write this, most of Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces are still submerged in flood water. The typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) started sweeping through Luzon on Saturday morning, leaving in its wake about two hundred people dead and many more missing. As of this writing, there are still people stranded on their rooftops, waiting to be rescued, without drinkable water or food. It has been two days since the typhoon hit. This is one of the greatest tragedies ever to hit my country in the past few decades.

But the cycle of life continues and I am about to embark on a journey that is the whole point of this new blog.

First, the back story. I have written about this extensively on my main blog, Chronicles of Boredom, and I will preface it here briefly.

The idea of going to the United States for residency training congealed in my head in sophomore year of medical school. I started reading about how the system works and by the time I graduated, I knew what I was supposed to do. After taking and passing my country’s Physician Licensure Examination in 2007, I started preparing for the USMLE. For the next year and a half, I was studying and laying down the foundation for what I hoped was a brief training stint in the US. I had intended to go for the 2009 Match cycle and the whole application effort culminated in a 6-month trip to the US beginning October 2008. I did a month-long observership with a cardiologist in Florida and attended an interview at a hospital in New York. I then waited it out in San Francisco. The Match results came out in March 2009, and I didn’t match into a program. A last-ditch attempt at Scrambling also proved fruitless. While there was much disappointment in my heart, I knew then that I was coming home to a definite path set by the Lord. He meant for me to stay in my homeland and train here. I returned to the Philippines in the last few days of March 2009 and have been waiting for this present moment since.

Upon my arrival, I was sure of three things, although I was initially in denial. First was that I was meant to return home and train here. Second was that I was going to apply to only one hospital’s internal medicine residency program. Third was that I have no idea what will happen after my three years of IM training. I submitted my application to the hospital in early September 2009. I sat for my interview with the training officer and chief residents a week later. A week ago, I was informed that I was accepted as a pre-resident. I’m attending the pre-residency orientation on Wednesday, 30 September 2009, and I am to begin working the following day.

A side note: Pre-residency is something unheard of in the US. It is part of the evaluation/application process in residency programs in the Philippines. The pre-resident works with a current first-year (incoming second-year) resident and learns the ropes. In the process, the pre-resident is evaluated based on his work ethic, ability to interact with patients and co-workers, and his medical knowledge. At the end of a set time, typically a month, the training committee of the program will evaluate who among the pre-residents will be accepted as first year residents. Most programs will allow them to begin working as official first year residents in either December or January.

While I have some idea about the life of a first-year resident (the US system calls this ‘internship year’ but in the Philippines, ‘internship’ is a different process), I don’t really know busy I’ll actually be and how often I can update this blog. But I intend to use this space as a cathartic medium. I’ve always found writing relaxing and it allows me to clear up my thinking. I also didn’t want to mix these entries up with my main blog. In my own little way, I can have a bit of organization too. Finally, I’m writing about my experiences in the hope that someday, somewhere, some first year resident or med student is going to read my entries and pick up a little piece of encouragement, or entertainment, or maybe even wisdom.

Welcome to Chronicles of Medical Residency. I hope that you will join me for this ride.

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