ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Friday is Match Day and local med students from URMC and Rochester Regional Health are being matched with their residency programs.

In recent years, reports are showing there are more open positions for emergency medicine than students willing to fill them. Those that did match here locally are in high demand.

Recent reports show there’s more than 500 unfilled emergency medicine residency slots nationwide. And due to the pandemic, there are fewer med students interested in the program.

Many students are matching Friday and at the University of Rochester Medical Center, their Emergency Medicine residency program filled all 14 of its available spots.

However, nationwide this is not the case as there are fewer students willing to go into the field.

Dr. Richard Alweis with Rochester Regional Health says the pandemic led to problems like overcrowding, staffing shortages, and lack of hospital beds.

“The emergency departments always were a very challenging, very stressful, very rewarding place to work, but then when you had the overcrowding on top of all that, it becomes an area where we have dire needs,” Alweis said. “Now it’s great to hear some of these students have matched into the emergency department of medicine and will help us meet those community needs.”

Ricky Hesselbarth with Rochester Regional Health was matched with the University of Rochester’s Emergency Department. Professionals like him will be in high demand as he enters a workforce where emergency medicine professionals are sparse.

He says although many may be intimidated by the department, he’s up for the challenge.

“A bunch of different things can come through the door, but that’s part of the excitement, kind of not knowing what’s going to come next.”

Dr. Alweis says if more students don’t join emergency medicine, it could lead to a bigger problem. He says what healthcare systems nationwide need to do is reinvigorate the interest in emergency medicine because years from now, there won’t be anyone to replace the overworked providers there now.

Some suggestions he has to do so is to change recruitment methods and payment.