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Some Interesting Numbers from the Canadian Residency Matching Service

September 8th, 2016 by Dr Ian Walker

Those of you considering a career in medicine, or pursuing one, should have a look at these data charts.

R-1 match trends

Although CaRMS data is usually presented on annual basis, these data show trends over time, and generally they seem to show the post grad applications becoming more competitive, not less, both for Canadian medical grads and for IMG’s.  We could discuss all day whether it should or should not be this way, but I think it is important to enter the process with eyes wide open.

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  • On the other hand one continually hears that Canada has a shortage of doctors – does this refer to certain specialties only then? Some oversupplied and some under-supplied?

    • I’m not actually sure how much we hear that any more. I’m no physician resource planning expert, but I get the sense that the issue is not number of docs, but distribution.

  • So basically, these trends show that the competitive process never ends if you choose to enter this profession. Should we expect anything else if we chose this path?

    • Hi PK,

      As someone who works in medical education research and have come to known many residents and fellows, I think every applicant/medical student should expect a high level of competition through out their training. Whether this level of competition is comparable to undergraduate medical education admissions, I can’t say.

      While Dr. Walker pointed out the increasing challenges of students/applicants matching in the CaRMs process, I think it’s also important to highlight the changing job market for physicians in Canada. Finding a full-time/attending staff position after residency/fellowship (post-graduate medical education) is not a walk in the park.

      To find out specific number or more detail, the Royal College has published a study on employment in 2013 that specifically looks at the number of specialists/subspecialists unable to find jobs.

      • Thank you for your comment. It was an interesting read, and it made me more aware of the challenges I should anticipate after school. Again, this is the path we chose, and I would hope that no student decides on a medical career without an informed outlook on this future.

    • Well, that would be a bit of a pessimistic view, I suppose. I think what it tells you is that you might not always get exactly what you want. How much that fact turns the entire process into some life long competition is kinda up to you and your personality type. I do, however, think that it is important to be realistic, which means going to medical school knowing that there are lots of different fulfilling careers in medicine. Entering with a “being a plastic surgeon at a tertiary care centre doing hand microsurgery is the ONLY thing that will fulfill me” is probably a recipe for eventual burnout.