Match Day is one of the biggest days of a medical students' life. It's the day when the National Resident Matching Program releases the locations where medical students will spend their residency programs.
"I was ecstatic, kind of overwhelmed with emotion," Joey Giattino said. "That it was my top choice, it was really where I was hoping to end up."
Giattino is going to the University of Texas Dell Medical School's Internal Medicine Residency Program in Austin. His classmate, Conner Reynolds, is spending a transition year at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth before heading to the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson.
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When the students started medical school there was no pandemic.
"The pandemic has changed the way we see patients, the way we interact with patients in the hospital," Giattino explained.
"I feel like there's a lot more emphasis on not only treating the patient's disease, but treating the patient as a whole," Reynolds said. "They've lost their job, they have kids staying at home with them because they're not going to school."
Reynolds said his interest in medicine was sparked at a young age, watching his younger sister with autism. Giattino said he knew he wanted to be a physician after he kept injuring himself in high school track.
The pandemic put a spotlight on the need for physicians. The Association of American Medical Colleges projects a physician shortage between 54,100 and 139,000 by the year 2033.
"I think being a physician is always important," Giattino said. "But especially in the setting of a pandemic, where people are becoming critically ill at alarming rates, it's even more important."