SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah medical students and their peers across the nation eagerly ripped open envelopes containing their fate for the next few years.
Friday was Match Day for graduating medical students, when they find out which of their top preferences selected them for a residency. It was met by many with anticipation and trepidation, including Pat Lorimer. Sleepless nights and nightmares about being accepted into a surgical residency in Mexico and dermatology in Canada were the norm as he eagerly waited to find out where he would take his wife and two children for the next few years.
Lorimer and 72 of his peers were notified earlier in the week that they matched with a program, and spent the past few days waiting to find out where.
All that stood between the students and their fate was a thin ribbon in front of tables bearing letter-sized envelopes, categorized alphabetically. At 10 a.m., U. School of Medicine Dean Vivian Lee cut the ribbon and students rushed to grab their envelope.
Cheers of “Yes!” and “That was my first choice!” could be heard amid the yells of excitement.
Lorimer was accepted into the general surgery residency at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. Surrounded by his parents, siblings, wife and two children, he said he could not have gotten to this point without his family’s support.
His father, Brent, became emotional up as talked about his son.
“He worked his fanny off and that’s why he’s here,” Brent Lorimer said.
This year, 96 percent of students matched with residency programs. There were 21 women and 52 men who were accepted to 58 programs in 24 different states.
“To me, this is more fun than commencement,” said William Shiflett, director of student affairs for the University of Utah School of Medicine.
Aubrey Chan said he’s relieved to know he’s been accepted to the internal medicine and psychiatry residency at the University of Iowa. This is the end of 13 years of post-high school education, in which he received an Ph.D. in oncological sciences in addition to his M.D. He was one of three students this year at the U. to complete the M.D./Ph.D. program.
Jillian Wong was accepted to the University of California Davis dermatology residency. She wiped away tears and fanned her face with her letter as she explained her excitement at being accepted to the school of her choice.
“It’s just been a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice and I wasn’t sure I was going to get in,” she said.
The graduating class of medical students is prepared to learn from their residency and also to contribute, said Lee. This year’s graduating class will be among the leaders in the medical industry, well-equipped to respond to the economy and the needs of their patients.
“They have a lot to give and a lot to offer, and I’m so proud of them,” Lee said.
Match Day came shortly after the passage of SB42, which will increase the budget for the medical school if Gov. Gary Herbert signs it into law. The bill would allow the university’s medical program to admit 20 additional students this coming year, and 20 more for the 2014-15 school year.