Changing Residencies: Part 2

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

Some people enter medical school with a particular specialty in mind, and after matching blissfully spend the rest of their lives practicing in that very same field. Most, however, change their mind rotation by rotation, ultimately making up their mind during their third year. Have you ever worried about what would happen if you changed your mind? Or what would happen if you matched into general surgery, only to dream of another specialty? Keep on reading for part one of Dr. Reck's journey from surgery to anesthesia, and how it is possible to change residencies, and pursue the right specialty for YOU.

If you haven't read part one of this post, read it here: Part One

I switched from general surgery residency to anesthesiology residency after my intern year.

The back story: I went to medical school to become an orthopedic surgeon. I am not 100% sure why this was my life goal, but I suspect it had a lot to do with the fact that I was an athlete in high school and college. After going through a few knee surgeries myself, I liked the idea of helping athletes get back on the field. So, I set up all my third year rotations so that I’d have surgery at the optimal time, priming for a good grade and good letters of recommendation, because we all know orthopedics is notoriously difficult to match into. Then, I did my orthopedic surgery rotation and I HATED it. I didn't like the clinic, I didn't like pathophysiology, and I especially didn't like a lot of the procedures, especially the sports ones.

Next I had a crisis of conscience because now I had NO idea what I was going to do with my life. Not only had I geared myself up for a career in orthopedic surgery, but I had been so sure that's what I wanted to do, I didn't have an open mind during my earlier rotations.