Physical Exam Skills

Ted O’Connell, MD

Through this blog, I have been providing links to high-yield medical education resources. This one is particularly helpful and provides access to content to help with your physical examination skills, including videos and written information. This content is generously provided by Stanford University School of Medicine’s Program for Bedside Medicine. The link is available here. I hope you find it useful.

Mastering Musculoskeletal Medicine

Ted O’Connell, MD

One of my goals in medicine has been to provide access to high-quality resources that are either free or low cost, with the mission of reducing the cost of medical education for medical students and residents while helping to identify high-yield content. This is why I write these blog posts, helped launch, and made USMLE Step 2 Secrets available as a podcast.

There is significant variability in how well medical schools teach musculoskeletal medicine, particularly in allopathic medical schools. Compounding this variability is the fact that many medical students do not have an opportunity to have a rotation in orthopedics or sports medicine. Yet musculoskeletal medicine is an important component of simulated patient encounters, Step 2 CS, and COMLEX Level 2-PE. Musculoskeletal complaints also constitute a significant percentage of the patient care visits you will see during primary care rotations.

This link to the University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine provides a well-curated list of resources for learning musculoskeletal medicine. It includes videos, articles, and Powerpoints which can also be used for teaching purposes. I hope you find the resources helpful.

Organizing Your Thoughts After the Residency Interview Day

Ted O’Connell, MD

As you progress through residency interviews, compiling your thoughts and observations can help you stay organized and begin to formulate your rank list. As I detailed in another blog post called “Preparing for Residency Interviews,” prior to interviewing you will utilize resources such as residency websites to begin your preparation. After a residency interview day, you will have a considerable amount of information about the program and can begin to collate that information to be used to compare the various programs with whom you have interviewed.

In order to compile this information, students often find it helpful to use a logical tool such as a modified decision table to help organize information and even quantify the pros and cons for each program. Victoria Ho from the University of Toledo was kind enough to share a Google doc that she created and that can be found here. This document can be modified and questions can be added to deleted to suit your desires and to be specific to whichever specialty you are applying.

Decision tables give students a systematic way of assessing and comparing programs by the factors that are most important to them. One potentially useful tool is the Match Program Rating and Interview Scheduling Manager (PRISM®) app, which is available from the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). This app can help you keep track of your interview schedule, take notes, and rate programs based on your own input.

Thank You Notes Following Residency Interviews: A Unique Opportunity to Make a Great Second Impression

Ted O’Connell, MD


The topic of thank you notes following residency interviews gets a fair amount of attention, so I thought I would weigh in and offer some advice. The questions, as well as some key information that selection committees tend to talk about, fall into just a few categories.


When should you write thank you notes after an interview?

This one is pretty straightforward. Thank you notes should be written as soon as possible after your interview day while your thoughts are fresh in your mind and so you stay on top of the process. You will visit a lot of residency programs during interview season, and you don’t want to fall behind or start to mix up details from different programs. Getting the thank you notes out in a timely fashion will also send the message that you are professional, organized, and efficient, all qualities that you want residency programs to associate with your application.

To whom should you write thank you notes?

Medical Student Scholarships

The following is a list of scholarships available to medical students, with links to each. My intention is to continue to curate this list, so please contact me if you know of any scholarships that are not on this list, if any of the links are broken, or if any of the listings become outdated. Thank you!

Dos and Don'ts on Your Residency Personal Statement

The residency personal statement creates a lot of anxiety for applicants because of the perception that it can make or break your application. The truth is that it is very unlikely to make your application but can potentially break your application. The personal statement should briefly summarize who you are as a person and physician in training, highlight one or two important experiences in your personal or professional life, and discuss why you have chosen the specialty to which you are applying and some of your career goals.

Preparing for Residency Interviews

Before you embark on interviews, be sure to review the steps below in detail. The more you prepare, the better you will do during interviews, the most crucial step in securing your residency of choice. Even after you have prepared, be sure to do an extra level of preparation about each individual residency program where you will be interviewing. This extra preparation will be evident during your interviews and is likely to make a positive impression.