28 February 2008

regarding the issue of supply & demand

some of you may have read recent entries and puzzled over how those 800+ applicants would find a required internship with only 200 positions available.  it is a blivit, like squishing 25 pounds of shit into a five pound sugar bag (compliments of my mom, oft quoted to me when i was a child and complained of the unfairness of life).  it cannot happen.  below is a note from a Clinical Director who is involved with the APPIC process, to those who did not match.  He addresses the grumbling rumblings:

I recently read a history of D-Day (cleverly titled "D-Day") by Stephen
Ambrose. In the book, a veteran of Omaha Beach recalled the speech his platoon
was given prior to landing on the beach in one of the bloodiest days in American
history. His platoon was told that by a commander that they expected 80% casualties
that day. The veteran recalled looking around at his buddies and thinking, "You
poor bastards."

Several people have mentioned their surprise that they were not matched, or that
others who appear to have fine credentials were not matched. I am saddened and
distressed by this state of affairs, but I am not surprised. Data about match rates
is readily available, and match rates are a frequent topic of discussion on this
list. Psychologists in the field not only recognize this problem, they have highlighted
it. I am confident that almost everybody who participated in the match looked at
last year's data, and that nearly all of next year's applicants will look
at this year's data.

The issue of supply and demand has made this regrettable scenario unavoidable.
Like most unfortunate events in life, nobody expects it to happen to them. Like
the veteran above, it is human nature to look at the data, but to fail to truly
apprehend that ANY applicant can end up unmatched. In the past, I have been surprised
to see extremely qualified applicants go unmatched on Match Day. I remember thinking,
"But not THIS applicant!" Today, I am no longer surprised.

It is important for the field to acknowledge this troubling state of affairs. And
they are. An entire recent issue of the journal Training and Education in Professional
Psychology was devoted to the supply-and-demand issue. I did not contribute, but
I know that several psychologists who participate on this list did. While I do
not expect unmatched applicants to find much solace in my words, perhaps it will
provide a small degree of comfort to know that psychologists at many level are examining
this problem.

Obviously, efforts to solve the problem in the future will do little for unmatched
applicants today. I just urge people to recognize that this is a problem with many
facets. Although there are no easy solutions, solutions are being sought.

I applaud the people who have shared their positive experiences regarding this process,
and I hope that people who are not yet matched can find some comfort in the hope
offered by their colleagues' experiences.

1 comment:

  1. Well.  

    I like your mother's analogy quite well.


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