For most College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) students, four years of medical school comes down to one day – matching to a residency, according to fourth-year COMP student Bryan Tucker.

On March 16, 2012, fourth-year medical students will hold a Match Day event at 5 p.m. in Western University of Health Sciences’ Health Education Center Recital Hall in Pomona, Calif., to celebrate the achievement of getting their first jobs as doctors.

More than 200 COMP students are on the hunt for a residency. An osteopathic fourth-year student can apply for residency through the AOA Match (American Osteopathic Association) and an MD Match (National Resident Matching Program).

“”Nobody can practice medicine with just an MD or DO degree,”” said David Connett, DO, associate dean of Clinical Services, Medical Director, University Medical Centers. “”You need to do a residency in this day and age.””

Medical students graduate and typically embark on a three- to seven-year training program in a medical specialty. They are doctors, but not licensed yet.

Tucker saw his friends at other medical universities celebrate their achievement of attaining a residency with a match party, and thought COMP should have one. He approached Kay Kalousek, DO, associate dean for Medical Education, and Jeanine Borland Mann, MPH, professional development specialist, about celebrating what he describes as “”the moment you’ve been waiting for in your whole four years of medical school.””

“”Our students are competing for jobs with every other medical school across the nation and internationally,”” Mann said. “”Students who have gone into medical school throughout the world can apply to residencies. There are lots of competing elements, and we of course think our WesternU students are on the top.””

Tucker says the process leading up to a residency is hard and stressful, from finishing medical school to passing every rotation and shelf exam, taking the boards, typing CVs, and filling application, which takes months.

He says you also have to write a personal statement, get letters of recommendation from attending physicians that you’ve worked with, and go on audition rotations. You also need to go out on interviews and create rank lists and, which leads to the matching announcement.

“”I don’t think at one point I did not have stress over one thing or another,”” he said. “”When my rank list is in, my mind is constantly thinking of where will you match, if I’m going to match, and then you are thinking of the order you put them in. Did I put them in the right order?””

He’d like all four COMP classes to come to the Match Day event, which he says would be a unique occasion where all four classes get together. It will give a chance for first-, second- and third-year students to communicate and network with the graduating class. He says it’s important to create buzz to keep the Match Day event successful.

MD matches are nationally revealed at 5 p.m. March 16. AOA matches were nationally revealed on Feb. 12. Osteopathic students can apply to either match. About 70 students applied for the AOA match, and the rest applied for the MD match. Those who did not match during the AOA match can apply in the MD match.

According to Mann, every student who wanted to match was matched, or will be.

Working closely with Michael Finley, DO, associate dean for Clinical Affairs and Postgraduate Training, Connett says WesternU has been in the forefront of developing more residencies than any other medical school in the Unites States, which will help more COMP students achieve residencies.

“”We have already started at least 20 new residency positions,”” Connett said of recent accomplishments. “”I have seven hospitals I’m working with that have seven to eight residencies apiece, maybe 70 new programs, with roughly 300 new residency positions in the next three years opening up. We are putting everything together so that WesternU graduates will have the opportunity to be a family physician, cardiologist, or any type of doctor they want to be.””