Internal medicine residency letter of recommendation samples can be helpful, even if this is not one of the most competitive residences to match with. Letters of reference are key to securing your place in an internal medicine residency program. You are not typically writing these letters yourself, but knowing who to ask for them and what information should be included can make all the difference when seeking a mutually beneficial match.
This article provides helpful samples for writing letters using ERAS or CaRMS, while emphasizing the qualities important for various internal medicine disciplines that your letter writers should emphasize on your behalf.
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Sample Letters of Recommendation for Internal Medicine
Note: While these samples are great examples of how letters of recommendation can be written, every letter you submit will have different content and not read exactly the same. Check each program requirement for exactly what needs to be included in your letters of recommendation.
Want to learn how to make your letters of recommendation stand out? Watch this video:
Clinical Internal Medicine Residency Letter of Recommendation Sample
Dear Program Director,
I am pleased to recommend Ms. Jane Austin to your internal medicine residency program. I am a hematologist who has operated my clinic in the heart of Montreal for over 20 years. I worked in close proximity to Ms. Austin as she completed over 100 hours of clinical experience in my clinic. Because of this, I was able to fully assess her clinical skills as she performed and evaluated tests while interacting with patients on a daily basis.
Throughout her time with my team, Ms. Austin showed exceptional leadership skills and a go-getter attitude, all bolstered by her enthusiasm for hematology. She would often take on additional tasks, going above and beyond for us through her desire to learn everything she could. For instance, when she noticed patients were often confused about the various types of blood disorders, she took it upon herself to create visually appealing pamphlets about them that we still make copies of and hand out to patients today. Using these materials, she was able to properly explain how to live a healthy lifestyle with hemophilia to a young girl who was coming to terms with understanding her disorder.
Many of the patients Ms. Austin treated were very pleased with her clinical ability. She was able to connect with them on an interpersonal level, even if she was only with them for a short time and most of them were much older than her. An older woman who had dealt with complications of thalassemia for much of her life was impressed with Ms. Austin’s assessment of her file after disclosing her concerns that the current prescription she was taking was causing mood swings. Ms. Austin took her worries seriously and remained steadfast on finding a solution until finally suggesting an alternative prescription of medication, which helped alleviate the mood swings. Ms. Austin was able to bring a new perspective to a disease this woman had suffered with for decades, which allowed her to continue living a fruitful life.
Due to my experience working closely with Ms. Austin, I am certain that she will be a valuable asset to any team she is a part of. Her curious mind, determination, and sophisticated approach to research are sure to make her a successful resident physician. I am looking forward to seeing the development of her career. I give her my highest recommendation for your residency program.
Nancy Spring, MD
Academic Internal Medicine Residency Letter of Internal Medicine
Dear Program Director,
It is a great honor to recommend Mr. Michael Chen to your internal medicine residency program. I originally taught Mr. Chen in the Biomedical Sciences unit of a first year Foundations of Patient Care medical school course, which I have now taught for the last 10 years. I have known Mr. Chen for almost 4 years. He recently completed rotations in university-associated dialysis clinics due to his interest in nephrology, but I worked most closely with Mr. Chen over our year together in class, when I assessed his medical knowledge.
His dedication to the study of medicine is something to be admired. As a first-year medical student, Mr. Chen had a solid foundation from his undergraduate degree and was clearly very bright, but he was struggling with the intense pace of medical school. Very early in the course, he requested my help because he wanted to put every effort into excelling, and I directed him to a peer tutoring system on campus. He worked on his studies diligently with a tutor until he felt more comfortable with the material. After this, he quickly adjusted and wound up being one of my highest-ranking students that year.
Mr. Chen’s success with medical coursework is not all I learned about him during that initial course. As he preferred public settings and talking to others, group labs and working with others came more naturally to him. In fact, he first became interested in internal medicine and nephrology as a subspecialty during a lab in which the students were evaluating kidney dysfunction in the body. Whether it be cadaveric dissection, histology. or pathology labs, he was the de facto leader, and students often consulted him before me when they needed guidance. He led his groups to submit successful reports and always inspired them to perform at their best. There was an instance when one of his team members was a little trepidatious about working with cadavers for the first time, but Mr. Chen and I took him aside, listened to his concerns, and encouraged him until he was ready to work.
In addition to his stellar academic performance, Mr. Chen is a team player and one of the most determined students I have had the utmost pleasure of teaching. He is among the students who have left the biggest impression on me throughout my career. I am certain he will continue to hone his evident skill in lab work and nephrology in your residency program. I give him my highest recommendation.
Victor Freberg, MD
How to Submit Letters of Recommendation
When applying to American and Canadian programs, you must also be familiar with using residency match services to officially submit your letters. When dealing with ERAS letters of recommendation in the US, enter all of your letter writer’s information to get a unique Letter ID and request form. These request forms will then be used by your reference to upload your letter to the portal. Remember to waive your right to view the letter on the ERAS portal, as not doing so means you will be able to read each letter. This can be seen as a red flag by residency programs viewing your application.
Canadian applications will require CaRMS reference letters. Your writers will also be submitting them directly, but through an online account specifically dedicated to CaRMS. While references are initially prompted to send in the letter once you have listed them as a contact, it is better for you to speak to them directly and give them all the necessary information to write a strong letter. Try to avoid any miscommunication if possible.
What Qualities to Emphasize in Internal Medicine Residency Letters of Recommendation
Once you learn how to ask for letters of recommendation, you should reach out to references who are able to touch upon why exactly you are suitable for the medical profession. Do you have the work ethic to succeed in your future work environment? How does your personality match up with the field you are applying to? For a letter to persuade residency program directors to accept you, the referees you solicit must know you well enough to be able to properly answer such questions. Letters are a crucial aspect of how to prepare for your residency applications because they are evidence of the effort you are putting in to succeed in your future career as a physician. They also give others the chance to offer their perspective on whether you are ready to officially enter the world of health care through residency. Throughout your years of medical school, thinking about who your references could be is a constant consideration to have.
What will really make your letters persuasive is how they represent the qualities necessary for the specialty you are applying for. These qualities can help you stand out among other students with similar backgrounds. If admissions committees are seeing multiple applications that are carbon copies of each other, they will feel less confident about bringing you on. Not being matched is not the goal for any student looking toward residency. While there are options for you if you need to improve your residency application after going unmatched, you’ll want to have compelling letters of recommendation in your arsenal the first time you apply. Therefore, your reference letters not only need to be submitted by the deadline, but they also need to be strong letters.
The samples above illustrate how specific qualities can be shown through a well-written letter from a trusted source. Your references can describe your actions and qualities that distinguish you from the other applicants. As with any job, becoming a medical practitioner means embodying certain attributes that are crucial to your success. While some qualities come naturally, others can be worked at if you feel like you are lacking. For internal medicine, here are some of the best qualities to make sure are featured in your letters:
Who Should Write Your Internal Medicine Residency Letter of Recommendation?
Acquiring letters of recommendation should almost be second nature to medical students, having already submitted medical school letters of recommendation for admission to their current program. Retrieving letters of recommendation for residency is a similar process. In fact, it should be easier to get done due to the higher number of clinical rotations and professional networking you have likely done by this point. You are now much closer to people in your specialty, so having letters that faithfully represent your candidacy is more available to you than ever before.
However, there are still strategies you can keep in mind about who to ask to get a strong letter. First, you should be submitting letters from supervisors or professors who know you well. They will be able to provide specific details as to why you are suitable for an internal medicine residency program. References excited to vouch for your candidature for residency will end up writing the best letters. If they are more hesitant or seem reluctant to write one, you may want to go with someone else.
Put your best effort into everything you do. Foster relationships with the superiors you come into contact with, especially if they are in the position to write you a persuasive letter. If you are a great student and colleague, this will be rewarded tenfold by the compelling letters of recommendation you garner as a result.
To ensure the best chance at acceptance, diversify your letters. Your references should be from various fields. Only submitting letters from a particular subset of people is not necessarily a dealbreaker for your application, but those overseeing the residency program may want to see more variety in who you have in your corner. Enlisting a balance of professors, advisors, attendings, and extracurricular or volunteer supervisors as letter writers will allow program directors to receive a holistic view of you as an applicant.
Remember to have one letter (at the very least) that is directly related to internal medicine. While it is a good idea to have letters that are standardized and not specific to any particular opportunity at a hospital or medical center, the internal medicine reference is probably the most vital to the success of your application. A mentor, department head, or attending physician within your specialty can vouch for your work in internal medicine and better relay your best qualities in their letter. If some of your references are within internal medicine-related fields, program directors may even recognize their names, which can be very good for the credibility of your letters, thereby raising your chances at acceptance.
Making connections with your peers and supervisors is part of becoming a doctor. Residency programs only want to admit the best and those who are the most prepared for this undertaking. Experts in the field will be able to give the greatest opinion as to whether or not you are ready.
Being a resident doctor is the first true step as a medical graduate toward a long and rewarding career, taking over the legacy of those who went before. Remember, program directors are essentially selecting the best candidates to become the next generation of health care professionals who help their community on a daily basis. Applying to residency may result in a lot of pressure on your shoulders to get it right, but there are options for you. Seeking residency help from academic consultants may be a necessary step to put together a seamless package and find a match.
1. How many letters of recommendation are typically needed to apply for residency?
Most programs require a minimum of three, but you can usually upload up to four letters per program. However, we recommend having five or six possible options. It is truly up to you to know how many residency programs to apply to or how many letters you would need, but the more viable options you have, the better.
2. Who should write my letters of recommendation?
The most important way of approaching this is to ask the individuals who know you on a professional and personal level. That is the best way to receive strong letters that can be tailored to internal medicine. For residency, pre-clinical professors, research advisors, volunteer or extracurricular supervisors, attending physicians or department heads make for the greatest letter writers you can choose from.
3. Who should I not ask to be writers for my letters of recommendation?
You should not ask people you do not have a strong relationship with or people you have only met in passing. Make sure those that you do ask are enthusiastic about writing your letter of recommendation; otherwise, it will not enhance your application.
4. How should I ask for a letter of recommendation?
Asking someone in person during office hours or after work if they would be willing to write a strong letter of recommendation on your behalf is always preferred. An email can work too, if in person is not possible for whatever reason.
Don’t forget to provide any information that could be useful for the letter writer to be aware of, such as the letter request form, your residency personal statement, USMLE or COMLEX scores, transcript, and any other relevant documents.
5. When should I ask for letters of recommendation?
As early as you can while you have an established relationship with the person you are asking. Two months before the deadline gives the writer enough time to craft a perfectly suitable letter.
6. I am an international medical graduate. How should I go about getting letters of recommendation?
If you are wondering how to get into residency programs as an IMG, having some letters of recommendation from North America will serve you best for programs in the United States and Canada. References in these places also know what program directors are looking for and what will give you a better shot at getting a match.
7. Are DO schools a better option if I want to specialize in internal medicine?
When you evaluate DO vs. MD, internal medicine is one of the least competitive specialties to match in. Many osteopathic medical schools have better match rates overall and do focus on primary care disciplines, such as internal medicine or family medicine, but that does not necessarily mean they are a better option for you specifically. Research the medical schools with the best match rates to get a better sense of how you want to proceed.
8. How can academic consulting help with my residency applications?
Higher education companies such as BeMo Academic Consulting are home to the residency application consultant that will work wonders for you. They can assist with any part of the residency application process, such as your residency CV or internal medicine personal statement. Through BeMo, you can benefit from expert feedback and participate in realistic interview simulations or a CASPer prep course that will surely help you match with your dream residency program.
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