I thought I would share my experience applying for neonatology fellowships. The process is generally more independent than its residency counterpart: there are now a handful of applicants (like 2-3, or in my case, one) instead of the 30+ who applied in Pediatrics from my medical school.
If you know a faculty member who recently went through the match (a key factor – two of my mentors obtained positions outside of the match before it was formally adopted by my program), then by all means use them! Residency and fellowship applications/interviews are similar and some of the same approaches worked, but it is definitely a different game.
Submit on time
Last year, ERAS opened December 1 and I was advised to have the application in by the end of January – I actually submitted on February 15 and ended up doing fine, but there was 1 program that I couldn’t interview at because of dates. The 16 others that I did were clearly not a problem ^_^
Obtain strong letters
As with the residency application, you should balance (a) seniority and (b) personality – aim to have letters from senior faculty who know you (easier said than done). Some programs also require a residency Program Director letter, and some encourage a letter from a PICU attending. This year (and probably next year too), the NICU uses its own letter of recommendation form, so you should give your letter writers (a) the LoR cover letter, (b) the NICU-specific form, (c) your CV and personal statement, and (d) plenty of time!
So I just finished a 10hour overnight shift in the emergency department and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was fairly quiet, slow but steady, and starting off, I did forget to ask a few of the questions I should have, although I saw patients in a reasonable amount of time.
Before going in, I was pretty nervous since I would be the only one there besides the attending to take care of anyone/anything that walked through the door,and as confident as I am on the inpatient unit or in the neonatal ICU, the ED and the primary care settings really get me nervous. It’s partly a matter of efficiency since the inpatients will be there for you to get to when you get to, whereas outpatient, you have to get the data you need and give the answers you’re supposed to give within a set period of time; you have to be comprehensive within that limited time frame.
For a detail-oriented person such as myself, although the patients, in general, are healthier in the outpatient setting than the inpatient setting, I get caught up in trying to ask ALL of the questions. I also tend to be a little too patient-centered and let them lead the discussion, instead of asking the questions I need to ask to have a working knowledge of the situation. Thus, I usually come away unsatisfied because I took forever and still missed things.
However, all in all, I did reasonably well, and have gained a little bit of confidence. Now just 2 more nights and then a brief respite for Thanksgiving!