|At the Still Point of the Turning World|
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
THE EMERGENCY SCRAMBLE KIT
For those of you who worry about these things, this is Match Week. Many of you have heard of Match Day, which falls on March 18th (Thursday). On Match Day, graduating senior medical students will find out which residency they will be attending for the next 3+ years. What fewer people realize, however, is that the real action of Match Week takes place the Tuesday before Match Day. This Tuesday is known as "Unmatch Day," because this is the day that applicants find out if they haven't been placed in a program, and programs find out if they have failed to fill all of their spots. These notifications are followed by a frantic process called "The Scramble," in which unmatched applicants and representatives from unfilled programs call each other, FAX paperwork back and forth, and generally try to get a satisfactory back-up placement made for all involved.
Every year we hope not to Scramble, but things were looking dismal this year, due to the major financial problems facing the hospital, loss of key medical staff, and a losing political battle to raise money to offset the deficit. Because of this, all of the key administrative staff of the program (myself included) cleared their schedules today to prepare for a long day of phone calls and tense conferences.
What does one bring along to face such a struggle?
A mug of Marks & Spencer's Extra-Strong tea (milk and sugar), a back-up thermos filled with more M&S tea, and a current knitting obsession: Na Craga, from Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting. As you can see, I've finished the front and have cast on the ribbing for the back. The yarn is some dirt-cheap Nature Spun Worsted in Ash (a light oatmeal grey/beige) I got on eBay. I knit most of the front during two weeks of Night Float, so you know the cables are easy to memorize and don't require a magnet board or bright light. Here's a complete view of the front.
So, off I went to work today to face The Scramble, and guess what? WE MATCHED! All eight spots, after a terrible year for Family Practice in general, and for Natividad Medical Center in particular. (We'll find out who the new residents will be on Thursday.)
So now I'm at home--no phone calls needed--and sending congratulatory pages to all and sundry.
Cheers to us!