Updated: May 19, 2020
I will explain step by step
First I applied to Cedars-Sinai to start volunteering (Hospital volunteering is only 4 hrs a week, at least one year commitment, and anyone who is legal in the US can volunteer at a Hospital). My volunteering was in the Emergency Room.
What was my ER volunteering about? [ERAS CV]
•I would greet patients, take them to their room, interact with patients and families in the waiting area and at the bedside. I made sure that their rooms were ready and checked if they needed anything.
•I talked to them about how they are feeling and help them relax and feel comfortable (since the ED is always a stressful environment), bring them blankets or food make sure if they needed anything.
I knew this was my way to work my way up into the hospital, make connections, and get access to their library.
I then got 24 hours/access to the medical library, I used to study there all the time. Literally day and night. In the library, I would also meet staff, talk to residents, attendings, try to meet people and also UCLA/ USC students rotating at Cedars studying for their steps.
Almost every hospital In the USA has a volunteer department - If you are in traveling to the USA I highly encourage you to search for the one near you, your family, or that you like the most.
After going to the library every day, and staying there almost all day and night long studying, I met a doctor who offered me a summer internship position in heart transplant, and I worked with them and published during the summer of 2018.
What was my Cardiology research internship about? [ERAS CV]
• I shadowed cardiologists and heart surgeons, interacted with patients at bedside and I went to heart transplant surgeries.
• I participated in weekly heart surgery rounds and meetings, discussing and presenting cases.
• I researched on how Complement-binding Antibodies Affect Heart Transplant Outcomes, published my abstract and presented it at the annual Western Medical Research Conference, Carmel, CA.
While working there I continued going to the library and I met my current Principal Investigator (reconstructive surgeon). I approached him, told him about myself, and my projects. He liked my ideas, my motivation and passions, he thought that I would be a helpful assistant for his research. He spoke with the Chief of the Department and Human Resources, and then they opened a new position just for me. They literally made it just for me so I could work with him.
This is of many ways to get a research position in the USA. Check out my Research Post on how to learn about seven ways an IMG can get research experience in the USA.
I finished my research on heart transplant on September 2018, took my step 1 exam October 23, 2018, and one day after my Step 1 exam I started working in the Reconstructive & Transgender Surgery department. I continued working there while taking my Step 2 CS on May 2019, and my Step 2 CK August 30, 2019.
I then applied for the residency Match September 21, 2019, went to 11 interviews between Oct. 2019 & Jan. 202 (My first one even offered me a pre-match position, that was very encouraging, but I declined it because I wanted to go for the actual match.)
I tell my journey on details on My Story post, and explaining what's a pre-match position in my post Answering all USMLE questions.
Meanwhile I continued working, publishing, I gained the trust of my Department and since a lot of my research was clinical and surgical, so I would see patients and had access to the Operating Room. My research was mainly in breast and pelvic reconstruction and transgender surgery.
After tons of hard work, uncountable hours of studying, and staying focused on my main goal, here I am, MATCHED into my dream speciality OB/GYN 🤩
𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭-𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐬𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡 𝐢𝐟 𝐈 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐎𝐁/𝐆𝐘𝐍?
As IMGs a lot of the times we can't choose where we are going to do research or a rotation, and in what field.. as I mentioned:
Heart-transplant surgery was my way to start, get my first research experience, publication, and from that continue to my other job.
Reconstructive surgery really helped me a lot, since I was having tons clinical experience, and my Department works in breast, pelvic, and transgender surgery. I'm very interested on pursuing the OB/GYN fellowship Urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, so it was perfect for me!!
What was my Reconstructive surgical research internship about?
•I coordinated several research projects and mentored medical students from UCLA & USC for research studies on breast surgery, gender affirming surgery, new surgical techniques and literature reviews.
•I also presented and oriented several anatomy studies to medical students on using thermal cameras, ultrasounds, and 3D imaging software. Our subjects were volunteers and cadavers. •I wrote, published, and presented our studies and IRB protocols to my colleagues and other medical professionals. I coordinated and assisted surgeons of multiple specialties in the use of a new 3D microscope. I assisted at surgical conferences and meetings.
•I familiarized myself with the US healthcare system, and the insurance system.
What research projects have I worked on?
• The Impact of Complement-Binding Antibodies on AdverseEvents Long-Term after Heart Transplantation
• Effects of Hormone Therapy on Breast Tissue in TransgenderPatients
• Gender Affirming Surgery
• Functional Outcomes of Lower Extremity Open Fractures Treated with Free Tissue Transfer
• Trends in Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomies
• Using a Custom-Built Thermal Camera to study blood vessel anatomyand Perforator Flap Planning
• Comparing a 3D video microscopy to conventional binocular microscopy
• Evaluating the efficacy of a modified approach to phallourethroplasty in transgender men
•You can check out all my posters & publications here:
Also if you have ResearchGate account follow me, and I will follow you back :)
When I described my jobs and write [𝐄𝐑𝐀𝐒 𝐂𝐕], that means that was the way I wrote I on my ERAS application under job description. I posted it that way, so it will help you to have an idea on how to your application and description.
If think it's not perfectly described I understand, it was my first time doing something like that, and unfortunately I didn't know any who matched before and would show me their CV. 😔
Hopefully my experience will help you in writing an outstanding ERAS CV!
If you are reading this it's because you have a passion in life, an inner drive that wants you to success and make your goals and dreams come true.
𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐠𝐨𝐚𝐥𝐬?
•Set your goals & put your heart & soul to accomplish them
•Separate them into short, medium & long term goals
•Make a note list on what to do tomorrow, this week, this month, this year.
•Keep updating your weekly notes
•Avoid procrastinate, do not leave for tomorrow what you can do right now
•Mitigate your distractions
•Take risks, that's how we break the habit and grow
•Take every possible opportunity always!
•Don't be afraid to approach people, and also be approachbale
•Don't pay attention to negativity or haters, those are just miserable people that want to cut your wings and don't let you fly high
It’s always good to have a Plan B. It will give you a peaceful state of mind and a solution to continue living. But it could be dangerous. When you have a great back up plan, you may end up settling for the back up.
When you say “I will try my best” instead of “ I WILL”. You have opened the door to failing your main goal.
Making deeper connections
Connect with people, listen to them and tell them about your passions in life, you never know what you can learn from them, or what they can offer you that you didn't know.
A barbershop story:
At the beginning of last year I go to this new place to get a hair cut, the hairdresser asked me about my life, I tell them a little about my story, that I was taking the exams to become and MD in the USA, and what I was working on.
She congratulated me and told me to keep working hard. I go back to the same salon like 4 month later, the same lady cuts my hair, she tells me that she remembers me from last time, and that her husband is actually an OB/GYN physician, who has many clinics, and that she told him my story.
She gave me his card, told me to contact him, I called him and got some good advices from this doctor!
Stories like this one has happened many many times in my life.
Don't be afraid to tell your story!
Connect with people and also connect people between each other! If you hear that a friend is working on something, and then you know this other person that is working on something similar and they may benefit from each other, connect them!
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and be better; you are doing things right!
Love you guys! Keep working hard!
Sebastian Arruarana, MD