This past week, Ohio State College of Medicine Buckeyes fell in love with their residency placements.
Friday at noon, horns across the country bellowed as 30,478 medical students opened envelopes sealed with sentiment and their next educational milestone. At Ohio State, wild, tearful eyes darted through the erupting room, followed by hugs and dozens of photos between families and friends. The suspense-filled slip of paper inside the envelopes revealed where the graduates-to-be would complete their residencies for the upcoming three to seven years.
The exciting day manifested a true match made in heaven when two Buckeye medical students opened their envelopes together. Fourth-year students and couple, Alex Dibartola and Kaitlin Wandell, got their first choices when they happily matched at Ohio State. Dibartola matched to do his residency in orthopedic surgery and Wandell matched to do hers in obstetrics and gynecology.
“For half of our residency rank list we were separated, so there was a chance we were going to be doing long distance for five years,” mentioned Wandell.
Despite their match day anxieties, Dibartola and Wandell were hopeful in placing together.
Smiling at her partner, Wandell said, “Both our families are in Columbus, and we are big family people, and we knew we were going to be very busy in residency, so it was really important for us to stay here. And then on top of that, it was an added bonus that we loved the residents and the attendings in our respective specialties here.”
Years of difficult training brace medical students for match day, a tradition that has been held since 1952. The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) executes the process in a way that is fair, efficient, transparent and reliable. In fact, the computerized mathematical algorithm was basis for the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.
The NRMP process matched Buckeyes from the College of Medicine to residency programs in 25 different states, the most popular being Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, California and Pennsylvania. 36 percent matched in primary-care-related specialties, the most popular discipline.
Although many of the Ohio State College of Medicine medical students will be moving around the country, 44 percent of grads who matched will stay in Ohio. 46 of those students will continue their medical journeys as Buckeyes after matching at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, just like Dibartola and Wandell.
Dibartola explained the draw to continuing a medical journey at Ohio State. “It’s mostly just the people that drew [me] here. [Kaitlin and I] have been here eight or nine years already and the people have been amazing.”
The couple, much like other medical students, are passionate about their respective specialties, and look forward to working in those areas for the majority of their time.
“We are both looking forward to being able to hone those skills and focus them and we finally get to take care of our own patients,” said Wandell, grinning. “And be with each other.”
“We get to do it together and by our families,” added Dibartola.