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Match Day: One Day and One Dramatic Year in the Lives of Three New Doctors [NOOK Book]

Overview


Three new doctors—all women—struggle to balance professional ambitions and personal relationships, triumphs and crises, uncertainties and decisions, through one pressure-packed day and the first year of their careers in medicineEach year, on the third Thursday in March, more than 15,000 graduating medical students exult, despair, and endure Match Day: the decision of a controversial computer algorithm, which matches students with hospital residencies in every field of medicine. The match determines where each ...
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Match Day: One Day and One Dramatic Year in the Lives of Three New Doctors

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Overview


Three new doctors—all women—struggle to balance professional ambitions and personal relationships, triumphs and crises, uncertainties and decisions, through one pressure-packed day and the first year of their careers in medicineEach year, on the third Thursday in March, more than 15,000 graduating medical students exult, despair, and endure Match Day: the decision of a controversial computer algorithm, which matches students with hospital residencies in every field of medicine. The match determines where each graduate will be assigned the crucial first job as an intern, and shapes the rest of his—or, in increasing number, her—life.
In Match Day, Brian Eule follows three women from the anxious months before the match through the completion of their first year of internship. Each woman makes mistakes, saves lives, and witnesses death; each must keep or jettison the man in her life; each comes to learn what it means to heal, to comfort, to lose, and to grieve, while maintaining a professional demeanor.
Just as One L became the essential book about the education of young attorneys, so Match Day will be for every medical student, doctor, and reader interested in medicine: a guide to what to expect, and a dramatic recollection of a pressured, perilous, challenging, and rewarding time of life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

These are not the telegenic, slickly scrubbed docs of Grey's Anatomy. But Eule's account of three female interns offers a far more compelling portrait of the unique transition from tentative student to skilled M.D. The transformation begins on the third Thursday of March 2006 for Stephanie Chao, Michele LaFonda and Rakhi Barkowski with the computerized program that matches newly minted doctors with teaching hospitals, fascinating in itself, and then long hours, perplexing cases and demanding senior residents and attending physicians who mold the young doctors into confident and compassionate practitioners. What's remarkable about the account is Eule's perspective as Stephanie's longtime boyfriend and a clear-eyed journalist. Each of the women explores her passion for medicine and discovers its place in the life she hopes to live. But the lessons the women learn from their patients are striking: "The people in the end who were comfortable with death, the ones who were ready to go, were the people who talked about a good family life." This is a traditional medical coming-of-age that pleasantly surprises with its reach far beyond the hospital walls. (Mar. 3)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Highly informative account of three young doctors beginning their hospital residencies. Some 15,000 fourth-year U.S. medical students, nearly half women, are assigned residencies each spring in a national ritual called "Match Day." Eule's debut weaves the experiences of three fledgling female doctors who in 2006 were matched with teaching hospitals-based on their preferences and other complex data-for their first year of extended training as residents. The author traces the many fears, uncertainties and challenges they experienced while working 24-hour shifts and 80-hour workweeks. Beyond checking on patients and writing orders or prescriptions, his subjects struggled to find their way in hospitals, where they were often mistaken for nurses, and to balance careers and romantic relationships in a profession that strongly discourages marriage and pregnancy. "I will never hire another pair of ovaries to work in this department again," said one medical director. Eule interweaves three compelling narratives. One spotlights his girlfriend Stephanie, the vivacious child of Chinese immigrants, who interned in surgery at Stanford. Another follows fashion-conscious extrovert Michele LaFonda, a radiology intern at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut, who tried unsuccessfully to maintain a relationship with Iowa grocer's son Ted, a medical intern at Columbia. A third concerns Rakhi Barkowski, an intern in internal medicine at UCLA, whose husband Scott was embarking on a career in economics. Eule is a gifted storyteller with a knack for anecdotes; one of the book's most striking moments depicts his proposal to Stephanie on the stage of an empty San Francisco opera house. He brings us deep into the livesof these young people and celebrates the real-world rigor of residence training, though he notes that "this model pushed everything else in a person's life to the wayside."Required reading for future doctors.
From the Publisher
Praise for Match Day

“Although the narratives revolve around Match Day, the story is really about how the system of training and practice affects the personal lives of the youngest doctors. . . . Like the best of Hollywood awards ceremonies, this book’s hook may be what is in those little envelopes; but it’s the show that is riveting.” —The New York Times

“Insightful and well written . . . The accounts in this narrative transcend the context of medical training and give the reader a heartfelt look at the nature of intimate relationships in transition. . . . even recent graduates of residency are likely to learn something new about the history, politics, and function of the Match or the continuing debate over work hours."—New England Journal of Medicine

“Highly informative . . . compelling . . . Eule is a gifted storyteller with a knack for anecdotes. He brings us deep into the lives of these young people and celebrates the real-world rigor of residence training. . . . Required reading for future doctors.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The Barnes & Noble Review
Author Brian Eule is no disinterested observer of the process whereby medical students become new doctors. His wife, Stephanie, is among the three female doctors he follows from Match Day, the March event that matches medical students to their first jobs as doctors, through their difficult first year as residents. Eule's primary concern, and a very personal one, is the struggle these doctors go through in balancing the grueling, almost around-the-clock demands of being first-year residents with their desire to have a family life outside the hospital. Eule's detailed look at Match Day describes how would-be doctors choose their medical specialties (some, like dermatology, are more lifestyle friendly) and how they select the hospitals where they'd like to work. Eule, for example, shows how Rakhi and her husband, Scott, clash over whether Rakhi should pursue her medical residency in the same city where Scott would be studying economics. Eule also shows readers two romantically entangled doctors, Michele and Ted, as they separate because of the pressures of balancing medicine against the need for more togetherness. In the book's best moments, Eule shows how these residents cope with the brutal hours, the relatively low pay, and the everyday reality of death. "Residents needed to learn how to give bad news to patients," writes Eule, "They needed to know how to tell a family when a loved one had died." What Eule effectively communicates is that being a young doctor places tremendous stress on the doctor, as well as the people who love them. --Chuck Leddy
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429962582
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 3/3/2009
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 333,219
  • File size: 333 KB

Meet the Author


BRIAN EULE is a graduate of Stanford University and received an MFA in writing from Columbia University. He has worked as a journalist for two Massachusetts newspapers, as well as contributing to Stanford Magazine. He lives with his wife in Northern California.
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Read an Excerpt


Prologue

Some people held cups of coffee. Others held babies or the hands of spouses. David Kessler, the dean of the medical school, clutched a cell phone in one hand and a wireless e-mail device in the other. I clung to a small spiral note pad that listed family and friends we wanted to call when we got the news. And Stephanie, like every one of the other fourth- year medical students in the room, held an envelope.

The envelopes were brown and thin, each with a white label and a name on the front. A few minutes earlier, Dean Kessler had told the students to retrieve these envelopes by approaching one of the seven stations set up in the room. Although the students could pick up the envelopes, they were not to open them, he explained. "It’s not time yet," he said, looking at his cell phone.

Stephanie had followed the dean’s instructions and walked to a school employee sitting beneath a white sign that read a–ch. She quietly stated her name, "Stephanie Chao," and took the envelope handed to her. When she returned to me, she looked anxious for the first time that morning. "Let’s get this show on the road," she whispered as she sat down. After holding the unopened envelope for a minute or two, she placed it on the table in front of us. Her long black hair, pulled tight in a ponytail, brushed against the back of her white sweater. She wore a bracelet of brown prayer beads on her wrist, "Buddha Beads," she called them, and it didn’t hurt to have them with her on this day. Her mother had given her the bracelet when she was a teenager, and Stephanie put it on each morning when she got dressed. She didn’t wear much other jewelry—if the prayer beads could even be called that. No rings on any of her fingers; just the bracelet, a petite watch, and a thin chain around her neck that I had given her after we started dating in college.

We sat inside the Golden Gate Room at her medical school, the University of California, San Francisco, on a March morning in 2006. A row of windows lined an entire wall of the room and through them, off in the distance, fog hid the choppy, uneasy waters of San Francisco Bay. To the left, the bridge for which the room was named towered above the low clouds and stretched more than eight thousand feet toward Marin, connecting the city to all possibilities north. To the right, the country unfolded east with Oakland, Denver, St. Louis, Chicago, Boston, New York—the real world, as my mother called it—lying just beyond the windows’ frame.

Inside the room nearly 150 medical students and their loved ones waited. About half of the people sat at large round tables, while others crowded in the surrounding pockets of space. Almost all kept very still. One woman, standing in the corner, covered her face. Tears ran through her fingers and her body shook in anticipation. The man to her side placed his hand on her shoulder, but she didn’t stop crying.

Most eyes in the room were fixed on Dean Kessler at the podium. The dean was a tall, thin man with a perfectly trimmed beard and hair neatly parted to the side. He checked the small screens on his cell phone and e-mail device for the exact time. During his tenure as the nation’s commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Kessler had been a bit of a stickler, once overseeing the confiscation of more than two thousand cases of orange juice because the word fresh was included in the brand name, when in reality the juice came from concentrate. Now he wanted to make sure that UCSF’s Match Day ran exactly according to the national protocol, and the fourth-year medical students gathering at school ceremonies across the country were not to open their envelopes until 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time, 10 a.m. Mountain, 11 a.m. Central, and noon Eastern. We still had five minutes.

Stephanie and I sat silently at the table. A year earlier, I had known nothing of this ritual. Foolishly, I had thought that if she and I decided to plan a life together, we would be able to pick where we wanted to live. She would apply for work and additional training as a doctor, just as I would look for a job after graduate school. We would weigh our options and make a decision. But for the past year, as I learned more about the Match and as it occupied more of my thoughts, I knew it wouldn’t happen quite like that. Stephanie’s future, which in all likelihood meant my own, as well as the futures of more than fifteen thousand fourth-year medical students across the country, would all be dictated at the exact same moment.

Although these students were still a few months from the crowning ceremonies in which they would officially be pronounced doctors, this day—Match Day—seemed a more important culmination. They had each selected a field of medicine, then spent months working on applications and interviewing at hospitals. After the interviews, they ranked an order of preference for the hospitals in which they hoped to have their first jobs as doctors during the post–medical school period known as residency. The hospitals made similar ordered lists of their favorite candidates. Then, in the final step of the process, a computer in a Washington, D.C., office ran an algorithm that paired each student with a residency position. Each year on Match Day, at the same time across the country, the graduating students are handed their envelopes. Inside, a fragment of a sentence on a single sheet of paper dictates their first job as a doctor—and thus, their careers. The right job in the right program might open the door to prestige, power, and happiness. The right city might make it easier for a spouse or partner to tag along. But the wrong words on that sheet of paper could lead a person down a path of heartache.

This is the ritual every year. But there was something unique about the medical students in the room with us on this day, and those across the country waiting for the same minutes to pass; something different from the gatherings that had made up Match Days in earlier years, and part of an evolving trend. While about 72 percent of all practicing physicians in the United States were men, the room seemed evenly made up of male and female medical students. Across the country the same statistic held true—nearly 50 percent of the nation’s medical graduates were women. Entering a field in which they would be required to work years of eighty- hour weeks and multiple overnight shifts, these women were forced to consider how to balance their careers and any desire to have children—a desire they often felt the need to hide on residency interviews—all before their careers even began, all in advance of this one day. Such considerations were not completely new; the handful of women who had entered the profession in years prior had also faced these challenges. But medicine was deeply rooted in tradition, and with this new generation, the face of medicine was changing along with many of its ways.

Three minutes remained. As we waited for the dean’s green light, I felt my heart step up the pace through my thick black sweater. I was neither a doctor nor a medical student, but I knew my future was at stake, especially as I debated proposing to Stephanie in the next year. When I had met her in college, five years earlier, she kept a shelf full of books on the MCAT, the entrance exam for medical school, and had no doubts about wanting to become a doctor. She also had about the biggest smile I had ever seen. Around the same time, I considered a career in journalism, though I had recently shied away from my boyhood idea of covering a baseball team after talking to a sportswriter about the 162- game season, half of which took place on the road. He was unshaven and a bit on the heavy side. I asked him how was it to be gone from his family for such long periods of the year.

"I don’t have a family," he told me.

Oh, I said. Was it something he ever considered, or was it too difficult with the job?

"Listen," he told me. "I have to have a job. I don’t have to have a family. I might as well love my job."

I wanted both. Stephanie said that she did too. She went straight from college to medical school with the understanding that she had a long road ahead of her and that if she wanted to have children, she had better get her training out of the way as quickly as possible. She loved how her own mother had been so present in her and her siblings’ lives when they were young, taking them on excursions to the park and making their lunches for school. Family was crucial to Stephanie. But in the last few years she had also grown attached to the field of surgery. Balancing children with career was difficult for the few women in this demanding and predominantly male- populated specialty. Surgery would require a seven-year intensive residency at the hospitals she had applied to, followed by another few years of a fellowship if she chose to specialize, and finally, a lifetime of an allconsuming job.

Two more minutes.

I knew that some of the possibilities in Stephanie’s envelope could mean a more difficult life than others. A hospital she had interviewed with in Boston was known for great training, but also for eliminating any kind of an outside life for the seven years of residency. Although the hours at one of the programs in California would not be much better, we had heard that at least some of its residents had families. Rumors swirled on the interview trails. One small program, we were candidly told, had a divorce rate among its residents of more than 100 percent. I asked how that was possible. Someone got married and divorced twice, a resident told me.

The nervous chatter in the room continued. We sat above the university’s fitness center on the section of campus dedicated to recreation. A cafeteria bordered us on one side with a table-tennis room for students on the other. Across the street, separated from Match Day by two lanes of traffic, a circular driveway, and parked ambulances, lay the university’s hospital. Nationally recognized doctors, overtired residents, nurses, therapists, and students swirled down halls and in and out of patients’ rooms. Lives began.

Lives ended. In just over three months the halls would be filled with new interns—the colloquial term for first-year residents, the rookie doctors. My father, who had been a frequent hospital patient, had always warned me about this time. "You don’t want to get sick in July," he said. A teaching hospital is a wonderful place to get care, and it’s where you find the best doctors in the country, but in late June and July, you also find a lot of people who don’t know what they’re doing.

One minute remained.

In the months leading up to Stephanie’s Match, I found myself fascinated by this process for pairing new doctors with their new lives, and by the challenges the next generation of doctors faced as the profession reshaped. But most of all, I wondered about how Stephanie’s life, and thus mine, was about to change. The next year would be a trial of sleepless nights, beeping pagers, and demanding senior physicians.

We looked at the dean. We looked at the envelope. Stephanie turned to me. "Do you want to be the one to open it?" she asked.

Someone called time.

Excerpted from Match Day by Brian Eule.

Copyright © 2009 by Brian Eule.

Published in March 2009 by St. Martin's Press.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction

is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or

medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Table of Contents

1 The Matchmaker 9

2 The R.O.A.D. to Happiness 31

3 The Rank List 57

4 Match Day 79

5 Persian Rugs and Getting Pimped 100

6 Becoming Doctor 116

7 The Other Important Match in Their Lives 137

8 The Intangible Qualities 159

9 Two Rules of Medicine 178

10 Finding Time For a Life 200

11 One Year Down, the Rest of Their Lives to Go 221

Notes 251

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2010

    A Must read for those in training or contemplating med school.

    This book provides a realistic portrayal of the experience of the match and intern year. I am currently a resident physician in the third year of training. This book covers the match process and follows three medical students through the match and then through their first year of residency. It combines historical data on the match and medical training with personal narrative on the experience. It discusses call, the abrupt transition from med student to intern, fatigue, stress, lack of much of a life outside the hospital, et. The entire process is foreign to many who do not have physicians in the family. This would be beneficial to medical students, residents, their families, and spouses or significant others. It is up to date reflecting changes such as the eighty hour work week maximum. The three principal characters are women and it outlines some of the things about medical training that are specific to females (pregnancy, maternity leave, and finding role models).

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2011

    Great Book!

    Loved this book! Anyone interested in medicine should read this!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2014

    I was instructed to choose a nonfiction book related to the care

    I was instructed to choose a nonfiction book related to the career field that I am interested in and I came across "Match Day". From the first page I was hooked because the book is interesting all while being very educational. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone considering the medical profession as well as spouses of said individuals. The book provides valuable lessons applicable to every day life. It shows how three young doctors balance a medical career and their personal life. A must read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Hi

    The books sucks

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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