Thousands of physicians can't get into residency programs: 4 things to know

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There are as many as 10,000 physicians in the U.S. who remain "chronically unmatched" from residency programs despite their medical degrees, according to The New York Times.

Four things to know:

1. The matching challenge comes as the U.S. faces a physician shortage. The nation could be short as many as 139,000 physicians by 2033, according to the Times, which cites Association of American Medical Colleges data. Despite this shortage, thousands of medical school graduates are consistently rejected from residency experience, rendering their MD or DO "virtually useless," according to the report. 

2. Hospital residency programs sometimes use programs like the Electronic Residency Application Service software to filter out thousands of applications they receive each year from residency candidates. Filters may include low test scores, length of time since graduation from medical school and whether the applicant is an international medical student, according to the Times.

3. International medical graduates in particular have low match rates for residency programs. American medical students have a 94 percent match rate, according to the Times, which cites information from the National Resident Matching Program. However, Americans who study at international medical schools have a match rate of 61 percent. 

4. Some directors of residency programs told the Times they've begun looking beyond test scores and grades when reviewing resident applicants, and considering geographic diversity a plus. Susana Morales, MD, an associate professor of clinical medicine at New York City-based Weill Cornell Medicine, told the publication: "Straight A's in college and perfect test scores does not a perfect applicant make. We're interested in diversity of background, geographic diversity."

Read more here.

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