Three new doctors—all women—struggle to balance professional ambitions and personal relationships, triumphs and crises, uncertainties and decisions, through one pressure-packed day and the first year of their careers in medicine
Each year, on the third Thursday in March, more than 15,000 graduating medical students exult, despair, and endure Match Day: the decision of a controversial computer algorithm, which matches students with hospital residencies in every field of medicine. The match determines where each graduate will be assigned the crucial first job as an intern, and shapes the rest of his—or, in increasing number, her—life.
In Match Day, Brian Eule follows three women from the anxious months before the match through the completion of their first year of internship. Each woman makes mistakes, saves lives, and witnesses death; each must keep or jettison the man in her life; each comes to learn what it means to heal, to comfort, to lose, and to grieve, while maintaining a professional demeanor.
Just as One L became the essential book about the education of young attorneys, so Match Day will be for every medical student, doctor, and reader interested in medicine: a guide to what to expect, and a dramatic recollection of a pressured, perilous, challenging, and rewarding time of life.
These are not the telegenic, slickly scrubbed docs of Grey's Anatomy. But Eule's account of three female interns offers a far more compelling portrait of the unique transition from tentative student to skilled M.D. The transformation begins on the third Thursday of March 2006 for Stephanie Chao, Michele LaFonda and Rakhi Barkowski with the computerized program that matches newly minted doctors with teaching hospitals, fascinating in itself, and then long hours, perplexing cases and demanding senior residents and attending physicians who mold the young doctors into confident and compassionate practitioners. What's remarkable about the account is Eule's perspective as Stephanie's longtime boyfriend and a clear-eyed journalist. Each of the women explores her passion for medicine and discovers its place in the life she hopes to live. But the lessons the women learn from their patients are striking: "The people in the end who were comfortable with death, the ones who were ready to go, were the people who talked about a good family life." This is a traditional medical coming-of-age that pleasantly surprises with its reach far beyond the hospital walls.