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University of South Alabama College of Medicine students Stephen Ambrose and Winston Crute recently found out they matched in early match programs – Ambrose in ophthalmology and Crute in urology.
The majority of medical students go through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) to find out where they will be doing their residency training following graduation, but students who wish to match in ophthalmology and urology participate in a separate specialty match program that takes places months before Match Day on March 16.
According to Dr. Susan LeDoux, associate dean of medical education and student affairs, both ophthalmology and urology are extremely competitive residency programs.
In 2018, there were 689 applicants for the ophthalmology match for only 434 spots. In urology, there were 436 applicants for 314 spots. “We are extremely proud of these two students and their matches into these residency programs,” Dr. LeDoux said. “It is always rewarding when we have the opportunity to witness students fulfilling their dreams.”
Ambrose matched in ophthalmology at the University of Kansas in Kansas City.
Growing up, Ambrose always had an interest in science and medicine. His favorite TV show was Bill Nye the Science Guy, and his grandfather practiced as an ophthalmologist in Florence, Ala., for approximately 30 years.
Seeing the joy and fulfillment his grandfather received from his career ultimately helped Ambrose choose his path in life. “Having that exposure at an early age helped me understand what ophthalmology was,” he said.
During his time at the USA College of Medicine, Ambrose was able to shadow and participate in away rotations to help him make his decision. “The thing I enjoy most about ophthalmology is the relationship with the patients,” he said. “To me, it’s a different relationship because you’re dealing with someone’s eyesight. Vision is such a precious gift we have that we take for granted every day.”
“I had patients tell me, ‘you can take anything else, but don't take my vision,’” he added. “Being able to play a role in taking care of something so important to individuals is very humbling.”
Ambrose said his experiences at USA will help guide him through his residency. “At South we are given a lot of hands on opportunities that allow us to be prepared to hit the ground running when we start residency,” he said. “We are given opportunities to grow and develop as leaders, and we are surrounded by great mentors we can emulate.”
Crute matched in urology at the University of Tennessee Medical System in Knoxville, Tenn.
It wasn’t until his early college career that Crute became interested in medical school; his best friend was involved in an accident that required prolonged medical care. “It was my first experience with being on the other side of a serious medical situation,” he said, “and I admired many of the doctors that provided him with care."
He later became interested in urology because it was a specialty in which he could not only diagnose and fix a problem, but also intervene surgically. “You get to take care of patients long term and establish relationships with them even after their surgery,” he said. “You also can treat a variety of diseases – from something as serious as cancer to something as benign as kidney stones.”
When Crute was choosing which medical school to attend, he was drawn to USA’s small, close-knit community. Urology is similar – it’s a close-knit specialty with small residency classes.
According to Crute, USA provided him a positive atmosphere where he could learn to build solid relationships with colleagues. “They forced me to work hard,” he said. “Residency will be tough, but I know that my hard work at USA will have prepared me for the next step.”
Crute said he is ready to begin his residency and focus on the type of medicine he is most passionate about. “I cannot wait to learn and begin to have more responsibility over my patients. It is exciting to get one step closer to being an independent physician.”
Locally, the University of South Alabama’s Match Day will be held at 10:30 a.m. CST on March 16, 2018, in the Upper Concourse Grand Ballroom at the Mobile Convention Center at 1 South Water Street in Mobile, Ala. The envelopes containing Match results will be handed out to the students shortly before 11 a.m. followed by the students’ individual announcement of the location of their residency.
Match Day will be streamed live online, and updates from the event will be posted on the USA College of Medicine's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. Be sure to check them after the event for our full wrap-up coverage, including details about all of the matches and full photo galleries from the day.
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