Editors



Current Editors: Tim Allen and Keith Wagner



Past Editors: Kristyna Gleghorn, Dung Mac, Alex Acosta, William Tausend, Sheila Jalalat, Rebecca Philips, Chelsea Altinger, Lindsey Hunter, Alison Wiesenthal, Leslie Scroggins, Mara Dacso, Ashley Group, Fadi Constantine, Emily Fridlington, Joslyn Witherspoon, Tasneem Poonawalla.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Is Grit Required for a Dermatology Career?

The concept of grit has recently been publicized in the news as a key ingredient for achieving career goals. Grit is defined as the personal quality of focused perseverance toward a long term goal. How does this concept relate to a dermatology career? Many dermatology applicants are not successful in their first attempt to match into a dermatology residency, but are ultimately successful in achieving their goal. Most successful re-applicants have grit. They are determined to have a dermatology career no matter how long it takes! How are they able to achieve success?

Long term planning is required. Once a person determines their career choice, they should think of the component steps necessary for success. The sooner the better! The plan may not proceed smoothly. The quest for a dermatology career may start as early as college.  Excellent medical school applicants with multiple admission offers may base their decision on the academic stature of the institution and its dermatology department because of the networking advantages it confers or its historically strong dermatology match statistics. First year medical students should work with faculty dermatologists on research and develop an impressive curriculum vitae for future residency applications. During medical school, if the applicant’s Step 1 score is below average for dermatology, additional gap years may be taken to improve research skills/earn a career relevant Master’s graduate degree or a Ph.D., and demonstrate high quality academic productivity with dermatology research poster presentations and publications. Joining the medical school Dermatology Interest Group and participating in community dermatology volunteer activities increases applicant visibility and opportunities for new professional contacts. Away rotations at dermatology departments that have previously accepted applicants from your school are strongly recommended. This type of action plan may not be possible for a variety of reasons. Completing another residency while doing dermatology related research may also position select applicants for an opportunity for a second residency in dermatology, but outside the military, this strategy is becoming more difficult due to current Medicare funding limits. Applicant self-knowledge is important because it may take multiple application cycles for an applicant to finally match into a dermatology residency program. Depending on applicant specifics, it may take years of work in an unaccredited clinical dermatology fellowship(s) following PGY1 in order to develop a competitive application. The emotional and economic costs can be very high, and unfortunately none of these approaches may result in a dermatology residency.