Leaving Med Students Out to Dry, Same as Always: NRPM does it again!
In a head-scratching move the National Resident Matching Program (NRPM), despite collecting three months of feedback from medical students, residents, and fellows, decided against implementing a 2-day match program for future students. This proposed change was backed by a majority of respondents and a large coalition of people in administrative capacities across participating schools and hospitals (1).
However, in a move that was framed as being thought out and in the interest of preventing disadvantages “of greater consequence” (2) than the benefits garnered from such a change. Those in favor of the change believed that it would reduce stress on already embattled students and allow them to have more time to make such momentous career and life decisions. However, the board states that this reduction could instead increase stress on students (60% of student respondents strongly disagree) because the 2-day period could lead to “potentially identifying partially matched or unmatched applicants, which could lead to bias and stigmatism; and extending the match process time for those applicants (3).”
Many countries, like Canada, already implement a similar system to the proposed changes with striking efficiency. So surely it can’t be that bad? A closer look at the numbers reveals that this move against changing the match process likely has to do with NRMP reporting record numbers of applicants over the past few years, increasingly more applicants than available program slots (4). The program itself is overwhelmed and poorly implemented, and frankly unfairly benefits the placement locations. The incentive to change the system is fairly small as it would grant more agency to student doctors making decisions and require hospital systems to match more efficiently and equitably. Nothing about how we train doctors makes sense.