Hello! Many people have contacted me with questions about the mechanics of the couples match, pointing out that whlie the NRMP web page shows how the match works for single matchees, it does not demonstrate how the couples match works. With the generous help and time of NRMP staff, I have created an example that will hopefully clarify things. Please feel free to contact me with any questions (contact info here) and hope this helps! -Jeff (AMA-MSS NRMP Liason, '99-01)
The Match Algorithm --an example with a Couples MatchFor this example, we return to the example given by the NRMP ( click here to see) with slight modifications. First, assume that City and General are on the East Coast, and Mercy and State are on the West Coast. With that in mind, Davis and Eastman, who desire to match as a couple, and based on the individual preferences used in the previous example set up the following rank order list jointly:
Again, each program has two open slots:
The match algorithm now operates like this:
Note very carefully the impact of matching as a couple: had they matched independently, Eastman could have matched at State, a choice higher on her personal list of preferences than her eventual match, General. However, this would have put her on the West Coast, whereas Davis would have matched at General on the East Coast.
Note also very carefully how far down the combined rank order lists we had to go to find a match. Davis and Eastman used the NRMP match well, as they listed a very large list of possible combinations, as well as several where Davis (matching in a less competitive specialty, where positions are easier to find in the Unmatch period) would agree to go unmatched. Had their list been exhausted without finding a match, neither candidate would have matched! The NRMP does not, repeat, does not, run each list individually should the combined fail to produce a match.
Febuary 02, 2000