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Friday Mar 15, 2019

We Matched! Now What?

Congratulations to all my colleagues who matched into a residency today! And I want to give a special congratulations to those who matched into family medicine -- we made it! We will soon join the family of family physicians, and I hope you are all just as excited as I am!

[Chandler Stisher and his wife, Amanda, showing their Match letters]

My wife, Amanda Stisher, and I react to matching with the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Huntsville Family Medicine Residency Program.

During the past 3 1/2 years, I've heard details of many residency experiences, trials and successes. These stories took on more meaning than ever as I prepared for my own Match Day. Each story came with advice, whether directly expressed or implied, on how to do well as a resident. The words that are resonating with me most today are those that not only apply to life as a resident but could speak to every phase of life and career as well. I'd like to share these words with you as we look forward to what our lives will be like in a few short months.

You get out of it what you put into it.

You've traveled around your state, your region or maybe even the entire country looking for the perfect fit for the next chapter of your life. You've met other students, residents, faculty members and administrators. And maybe you had a hard time choosing between programs because there are so many great ones out there. You've put so much energy and effort into finding the right place for the next part of your training, and now you know where you will begin seeing your own patients. Strive to keep that same level of energy and excitement each day you go to work, and remind yourself why you became a physician in the first place. The next few years will be instrumental in shaping you as a family physician. Be mindful that you make the most of it!

It'll be hard, but it'll be worth it.

No one I know has ever said residency is easy. In fact, most say the quite the opposite. But I've also heard people say that residency is where they learned what it truly means to be a physician. Patients will tell you things that they won't tell anyone else. They will trust you to help them make life-changing decisions. You'll have opportunities to celebrate with your patients, and you'll be there to comfort them when they and their families need it most. No, it definitely won't be easy, but I've never been more certain of my decision to become a family physician than I am now, and I can only imagine how that feeling will grow during the next three years.

Most of all, don't forget to enjoy it.

There are long nights and difficult decisions ahead of you. You'll be pushed to be the best doctor that you can be. And you'll have challenges that will teach you lessons that will last a lifetime. But through it all, don't forget to enjoy the process. Enjoy the journey of this next phase of your training, because the more you enjoy it, the more you will learn -- and the bigger the impact you will have on your patients and other people around you.

You probably won't soon forget the details about today -- the nervous excitement in your stomach when you got that envelope. But as graduation approaches, I hope you'll take a few minutes to reflect back on your experience in medical school. What have you learned about yourself during the past four years? How have you changed from who you were on the first day you walked into your medical school? I believe that medicine isn't just a career, it's a calling. What you do with that calling is up to you.

I wish you the best of luck as you begin the next phase of your training! I cannot wait to see how our generation will shape the future of family medicine, and I'm so glad I get to be a part of it. Now, it's time to celebrate!

Chandler Stisher is the student member of the AAFP Board of Directors.

Posted at 12:30PM Mar 15, 2019 by Chandler Stisher, M.D., M.P.H.

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