Let us assume you've always had a flair for two specialties – Internal Medicine and Family Medicine. Then you've found this great facility that offers residency programs in both, would it be right to apply for both specialties in the same place?
Conditions such as this are referred to opposed programs. Should you apply for one or can you go for both? The truth is, applying for both programs is a risk in itself. Chances are that the program directors may be carefully examining the background of applicants they really like. It would be easy for them to compare applications and see that a particular applicant has applied twice.
But what makes this an issue?
Programs yearn to be valued in the content of your application. So, having specialty specific personal statements and letters of recommendation is a must.
Directors of programs and interview committees want to be assured that you are making them your top choice and you are genuinely passionate about the specialty you are applying for. For instance, if you are applying to neurosurgery, they would not want to know that you are also applying to Internal medicine. It is therefore not necessary for you to apply for two specialties in the same hospital.
The big question remains… "Can I risk applying to multiple programs in one hospital?"
This decision can only be made by you. It is left for you to weigh the options and decide to or not. You can never tell if the program directors communicate within themselves or not.
However, if you still decide to apply for multiple programs in the same place, then you may need to know the following:
Be careful when applying to multiple specialties in the same geographic location as well as individual hospitals. Some hospitals are affiliated with each other. More so, some program directors communicate with each other (it does happen, and you need to take this into consideration).
If it happens that you are invited to interviews in both specialties, do not attempt to attend both. Politely decline one and accept the most preferred.
There are chances of being asked whether or not you have applied to other specialties. This is a dicey situation which requires you to think out of the box. If you lie and are caught, that may be the end of your journey. However, if you want to be honest, you must be ready to defend yourself. You could point out similarities that exist in both specialties for instance between family and internal medicine and then explain how it would be cool to work with all types of patients and learn their backgrounds.
Just like other aspects of the residency application, multiple applications could pose a severe threat to your acceptance.