Autumn Driscoll/Quinnipiac University
As the clock struck noon on March 18, nearly four years of medical education were reduced to a single moment for fourth-year medical students nationwide, including 96 from Quinnipiac University’s Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine. It was the moment they would learn where they would be spending at least the next three years for their residency placements.
“It’s sort of the culmination of all the hard work over the last 3 1/2 years,” said Allison Bradley, a fourth-year medical student. “All of the exams you’ve taken, all the rotations you’ve done, all of the interviews you went on lead to this one moment.”
Each year, the National Residency Matching Program pairs medical students with residency programs based on mutual interest. This year, NRMP reported a total of 47,675 applicants for 39,205 residency positions. Through an online system, students and programs submit their respective preferences and NRMP calculates an algorithm to effectively match candidates to a program. Students receive their results in a ceremony widely known as “Match Day.”
Quinnipiac recognized Match Day 2022 with a ceremony for students in Burt Kahn Court. The event held extra significance for students, as it was the first in-person Match Day since 2019.
Fourth-year medical student Jenny Hansen matched with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation for obstetrics and gynecology. She said having the ceremony in person was special for the graduating class as it has been remote for most of their time at Quinnipiac because of the pandemic.
“As amazing as it was to open my letter and see this amazing program, the unabashed joy and thrill I felt for so many of my classmates and being able to hug and hold them, that really would have been lost if it had been virtual,” Hansen said.
Bradley, who matched at Yale New Haven Hospital for pediatrics, helped organize the last two Match Days as her class’s social chair. She said the experience of planning the previous ceremonies made her appreciate the in-person event more.
“I remember (the class of 2020) just being very upset about (having a virtual Match Day) and I guess I didn’t fully grasp, at the time, how big of a deal it was until you actually do go through the application process and figure out where you’re going,” Bradley said. “I was definitely very excited it was going to be in person just because it’s supposed to be this rite of passage.”
Match Day marked one of the first in-person university-sponsored events since Quinnipiac loosened its mask mandate March 1. However, safety protocols were implemented for the event, including requiring guests to wear a face mask and be fully vaccinated. Attendees were also given masks that honored the occasion.
Hailey Wyatt, a fourth-year medical student who matched with New York Medical College’s Metropolitan Hospital Center for general surgery, said she appreciated the precautions put in place for the event.
“I think that in general, because all of us have been working very closely with patients with COVID-19 over the past two years through our rotations, we all understand the reasoning behind masks and why everyone there was required to be vaccinated,” Wyatt said.
Bradley said the class’s unique experiences working in the health care field throughout the pandemic made the opportunity more special.
“There’s nothing really that compares to all being in the same room together, especially having gone through the last two years of medical school in the pandemic and working in the hospitals with COVID patients and kind of coming out maybe on the other side and being able to celebrate that,” Bradley said.
Phillip Boiselle, dean of Quinnipiac’s school of medicine, compared the day to an academic version of the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. He said the event was marked by “hope, optimism, pride and appreciation.”
“It is particularly meaningful for our students to have the opportunity to share this momentous occasion with one another,” Boiselle said. “And with those who have supported them throughout their journeys — including family, friends, loved ones, as well as faculty and staff members at QU-Netter.”