by Jonathan Niavis (Waterloo ’18), Student Engagement Coordinator

At some point in your student career, you’ve likely heard your professors and peers talk about residencies. You may be thinking: is it worth it to do one? Do I really get paid that little? Isn’t it kind of like an extra year of school? 

vh res-ext video

Thankfully, I was able to ask our COVD National Resident Liaison Dr. Katharine Funari about her residency in Pediatrics and Binocular Vision. Hopefully that’ll answer some of your questions and help you put the finishing touches on your application (or start it, let’s be real).

jonathan niavis
Jonathan Niavis:

What made you want to do a residency in this area?

katharine
Dr. Katharine Funari:

I decided to do a residency in pediatrics, binocular vision, VT, and traumatic brain injury for a few reasons. First of all, I enjoy working with children. Every day doesn’t feel like work when you come in to see kids all day long. For some days, that might not be true, but when you find something that makes you want to wake up in the morning, then when you have a hard long day it doesn’t seem as bad as it could be. Another reason I chose to do a residency in this area is because I felt comfortable with my knowledge and skills in primary care optometry and ocular disease due to my rotation choices. I felt that I still had much more to learn in this facet of optometry that could help me better care for my patients.

Lastly, I decided to do a residency in BV and VT because I have seen the benefit of vision therapy as well as binocular vision evaluations for so many patients who were uncomfortable, diplopic, suffering from post concussion syndrome, and many other symptoms that have had a significant impact on their quality of life.

jonathan niavis
JN:

What are the main advantages of doing a residency?

katharine
KF:

Residency gives you the ability to learn for another year while gaining confidence in your clinical abilities under the mentorship of your residency director, coordinators, and attending doctors. The experience you get during residency is significant and allows you to see and experience more difficult cases while thinking critically about treatment and management of those cases. Also! Many organizations like COVD allow you to continue with free membership for your residency year and reduced annual meeting fees. You also retain your eligibility for travel grants and other programs as a resident, while going straight to clinical practice would mean losing that eligibility. These are just a few of the great advantages of being a resident, no matter which field you choose to practice in.

jonathan niavis
JN:

What would you say to people who are on the fence about whether they should do a residency or get out into practice right away?

katharine
KF:

Everyone chooses to do a residency for different reasons. Some want to learn more or subspecialize. Some want to gain more confidence in their skills before going out into practice on their own. If finances are a concern, that of course can play a big role in your choice. But if you feel that you can handle the financial deficit for one more year, then residency is well worth it! Think about what you want and how you can achieve your goals–if the answers align with choosing to pursue residency, then you have your answer!

jonathan niavis
JN:

What opportunities can someone who has completed a residency expect?

katharine
KF:

After a residency, you are eligible not only for primary care optometry job opportunities but also job opportunities in hospitals, academia, the VA, and many others. You will hold another credential that allows you flexibility to choose whichever avenue of practice you would like and have a subspecialty to set you apart from your colleagues. Residencies also help in your quest for Fellowship in both COVD and the Academy. Most residents take the COVD Fellowship exam at the end of their residency and that helps them get a head-start on the process. A residency counts as 20 points towards fellowship in the Academy, which helps as 50 are required to sit for the exam.

jonathan niavis
JN:

When is the deadline for applying? What do I need to do?

katharine
KF:

The deadline for applying is different for all residency programs. Most deadlines are January 31st, however, some of them are earlier and some are later.

Register for ORMatch. There is a fee, but it allows you to submit applications to 10 programs under that one fee.

Consider asking your preceptors and mentors for letters of recommendation sooner rather than later and putting together a list of the residencies that you are interested in. A list of all the residencies can be found on the ASCO website.

Ask questions! Email residency directors and residents of the programs you are interested in to see if there is any other information that you need to help make your decision. This can be a great opportunity to learn about the program from different perspectives and ask about things like housing and benefits.

For those of you who still have a few years of school left and are looking to start planning early, it is important that you schedule your part 3 boards earlier rather than later, because these scores need to be in by January. I recommend preparing to take it either in August or September because it’s better to have your scores in while you’re interviewing, rather than having the residencies waiting for scores.

And finally, put together your letters of intent and your resume so that you can have those ready to send out as soon as your applications are in.

Good luck!

There you have it! Whether you’re a fourth year finishing up your application, or a second year studying your nights away, we hope this could provide a little insight as to why residencies are a great opportunity for your career and personal development!

For even more career-boosting info, join us in Kansas City this April for the COVD 2019 Annual Meeting! Students and residents pay less than $200 for exclusive education and a wide range of special events! Learn more and register or get insider info from these posts:

kfun blog
Dr. Katharine Funari shares what to expect as a student or resident at COVD 2019!
student top 4
Can’t stay the whole week? Dr. Sam Del Campo says these are the 4 events you don’t want to miss!
Advertisements