Eight years of education comes down to one day

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As the sun streamed through the leaded windows of the Mayo Foundation House, 44 medical school graduates nervously waited Friday to find out where they will spend the next three to five years of their lives.

Through the old tradition of Match Day and under the gaze of a huge portrait of the Mayo brothers, the Mayo Medical School graduates opened envelopes and discovered where they would go for the final stage of their education — their residency.

Following the climactic envelop opening ceremony, Breann Kluck, of Rochester, was “shaking with excitement.” In the crowded, formal dining room, she was holding a piece of paper stating she’s going to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for pediatrics residency.

Johnny Butts, her grinning husband, watched proudly as his wife hugged friends and family.

“We have friends in Cincinnati. It’ll be an easy transition,” said Butts, a Walgreens pharmacist in Rochester. “Now I know where I need to start looking for a job.”

Prior to the luncheon, Kluck said she had targeted Midwest pediatric medical centers as her top choices.

“While going through my rotation here, I found I was most energized by pediatric patients, even at the end of a long day,” she said.

Kluck also told reporters she looked forward to the “relief” of finally finding out where she would be “matched.”

Match Day is a longtime medical school process designed to best fit students with hospitals and programs. Toward the end of their education, students travel around and interview at various medical centers. The students then rank their top choices. The hospitals, in turn, rank their favorite students.

Both sets of choices then are fed into the National Resident Matching Program’s computers and then crunched by an algorithm created by American mathematicians Lloyd Shapley and David Gale. The system then decided which of the more than 42,000 U.S. medical students would be placed in 30,000 postgraduate positions, plus where they will be placed.

By tradition, all of the medical graduates open their envelopes across the country at the exact same moment.

“Eight years of education comes down to one day,” said Mitch Obey, of Chatfield. “There’s nothing else like it in other professions.”

Dr. Alexandra Wolanskyj, senior dean of student affairs for Mayo Clinic’s School of Medicine, proudly told the crowd that all of the Mayo Clinic graduates were matched.

She broke down the results of this year’s match.

• 24 percent of the graduates were matched with Mayo Clinic.

• 44 percent were matched within the central U.S.

• 29 percent were matched with facilities in the west.

• 27 percent were matched with facilities in the east.

• 15 percent were matched with hospitals in the south.