Doctor: Thank you Cards
Send them, send them, send them. I talked to a few attendings after I started my residency and other attendings I knew in other fields that I knew from previous relationships. The thing I asked all of them was what they thought about receiving Thank You cards after an interview and what they thought about not receiving any form of a Doctor : Thank you Cards.
The general theme of the responses was they really appreciated a mailed card as it showed that the person made an effort and spent some time. Most seemed to acknowledge that an email thank you in today’s day and age was adequate but an expected minimum. All of them were put off by not receiving anything but said it is becoming more prevalent nowadays so they are not penalizing people as much for not sending thank yous.
Things to keep in mind with thank yous. Keep it professional. Humor does not translate well in written form so if you are going to incorporate humor, be careful and have somebody else read it before sending it. Of course, keep the humor clean. Address the thank you with Dear Dr. XXXXX even if the doctor asked you to call them by their first name. Remember that the secretary or program coordinator may be opening the mail for the doctor and reading the mail before it gets them. Keeping these people happy is important and if they see that you are informal, they may use this against you.
In the body of the thank you, mention something you talked about and near the end, ask for something back in return related to what you talked about. Good examples of things I have gotten back in return was: an article you discussed during the interview, the name and location of a restaurant you talked about, contact information for somebody you discussed. By doing this you accomplish a couple things: 1. It reminds them of who you were. Remember they are seeing tons of people so they may not recall who you were although they might remember your name. 2. It puts you back in their mind after the interview. 3. It gives you confirmation that they got and read your thank you card assuming they give you the information you asked for.
I know many of my med student friends and other residents said thank you cards are too much work. For sure they are additional work. I wrote many of them during plane rides home. Ultimately, you need to stick out of the crowd, and in a good way. You are a Caribbean student and so you are starting in a hole so it takes extraordinary effort to stick out.
This by no means was a research project of any kind and there was no formal data collection. A lot of this is common sense.