CovalentCareers 600×120 New Product

I Just Got Denied To A Residency Program: Now What?

Hey there, future doctors! So, you've just received the news that you've been denied from a residency program. It's a tough pill to swallow, I know. But trust me, you're not alone, and there's plenty you can do to turn this setback into a stepping stone toward your dream career. In this article, we'll explore your options and outline a roadmap for what to do next if you've been denied to a residency program.

Understanding Your Emotions

First things first – let's address the elephant in the room. It's totally normal to feel a whirlwind of emotions right now – disappointment, frustration, maybe even a bit of self-doubt. But here's the thing: it's okay to feel this way. Allow yourself to process and express your emotions. Remember, resilience isn't about avoiding failure – it's about bouncing back stronger than ever. Check out this insightful article on coping with residency rejection for some helpful tips.

Assessing Your Options

Now that you've given yourself some time to process, it's time to assess your options. You might be tempted to throw in the towel and give up on your dreams, but trust me – that's the last thing you should do. Instead, consider your options carefully. Can you reapply to residency programs next year? Are there alternative career paths you could explore in the meantime? Take a deep breath, and let's explore your options together.

Reapplying to Residency Programs

One option to consider is reapplying to residency programs next year. But before you do, take some time to reflect on what went wrong this time around. Did you receive any feedback from program directors or mentors? If not, reach out and ask for it. Understanding the areas where you can improve will be invaluable as you prepare to reapply. Check out these tips for reapplying to residency from the American Medical Association for some expert advice.

Considering Alternative Paths

Of course, reapplying isn't your only option. There are plenty of alternative career paths for medical school graduates. You could pursue fellowships, research positions, or locum tenens work to gain additional experience and skills while you wait to reapply. Don't be afraid to think outside the box and explore new opportunities. Check out this forum discussion on alternative careers for medical school graduates for some inspiration.

Seeking Feedback and Support

Regardless of which path you choose, it's important to seek feedback and support along the way. Reach out to program directors, mentors, and peers for advice and guidance. You'd be surprised how willing people are to help if you just ask. And remember, you're not alone in this journey – lean on your support network for encouragement and motivation when you need it most.

Planning Your Next Steps

Now that you have a better understanding of your options, it's time to start planning your next steps. Create a concrete plan of action for moving forward, setting short-term and long-term goals to guide your career journey. Stay focused, stay positive, and remember – this setback is just a detour on the road to your dreams.


In conclusion, being denied from a residency program is tough, but it's not the end of the road. By understanding your emotions, assessing your options, seeking feedback and support, and planning your next steps, you can turn this setback into an opportunity for growth and success. So take a deep breath, pick yourself up, and keep pushing forward. Your dream career is waiting for you – you've got this!


Morris PE, Goad A, Thompson C, et al. Early intensive care unit mobility therapy in the treatment of acute respiratory failure. Crit Care Med. 2008 Aug;36(8):2238-43.

Schweickert WD, Pohlman MC, Pohlman AS, et al. Early physical and occupational therapy in mechanically ventilated, critically ill patients: a randomized controlled trial. Lancet. 2009 May 30;373(9678):1874-82.

Perme, Christiane et al. “Safety and Efficacy of Mobility Interventions in Patients with Femoral Catheters in the ICU: A Prospective Observational Study.” Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal 24.2 (2013): 12–17.

Denehy L, de Morton NA, Skinner EH, Edbrooke L, Haines K, Warrillow S, et al. (2013) A physical function test for use in the intensive care unit: validity, responsiveness, and predictive utility of the physical function ICU test (scored). Phys Ther 93: 1636–1645

Kawaguchi YMF et al. Perme Intensive Care Unit Mobility Score and ICU Mobility Scale: translation into Portuguese and cross-cultural adaptation for use in Brazil. J Bras Pneumol. 2016;42(6):429-431

Perme C et al. A tool to assess mobility status in critically ill patients: the Perme Intensive Care Unit Mobility Score. Methodist Debakey Cardiovasc J. 2014 Jan-Mar;10(1):41-9.

Nawa RK et al. Initial interrater reliability for a novel measure of patient mobility in a cardiovascular intensive care unit. J Crit Care. 2014 Jun;29(3):475.

Hodgson CL, Stiller K, Needham DM, et al. Expert consensus and recommendations on safety criteria for active mobilization of mechanically ventilated critically ill adults. Critical Care. 2014;18(6):658.

Wang YT, Haines TP, Ritchie P, et al. Early mobilization on continuous renal replacement therapy is safe and may improve filter life. Critical Care. 2014;18(4)

CovalentCareers 600×120 New Product

About Sebastian Stoltzfus

Sebastian Stoltzfus
I'm an ICU physical therapist practicing in Dallas, Texas. I love reading, lifting, hunting and the Pacific coast of Mexico.


  1. Clinton Boone

    Awesome article Seb! Thanks for all the info.

  2. Sebastian Stoltzfus

    Thank you Clinton. I hope it is helpful for all my colleagues out there.

  3. Katie Franklin

    Thanks for the article! Pending successful completion of the NPTE, I’ll be starting out as an ICU/acute care therapist in August. I’m so excited to be part of a mobility-friendly facility — I’ve seen the other side of the aisle as a student on rotation, and the overall QOC provided to those patients is vastly different. Way to encourage mobility advocacy!

  4. Sebastian Stoltzfus

    Thanks for your comment Katie. The ICU can be an inspiring place to work. I also know the other side of the coin exists where patients are pretty much chained to their bed. No matter where you end up, I hope you’ll keep fighting the good fight. Take care

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend