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Programs that provide the hardest extern months

Discussion in 'Podiatric Residents & Physicians' started by Ankle Breaker, Oct 12, 2011.

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  1. Ankle Breaker

    Ankle Breaker Senior Member

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    Here is the scenario:

    If I'm a P3 student who is looking for ONE program that I'm not interested in matching into but will really kick my butt and get me prepared for the rest of my externships what program will that be? I know doing one month won't make me 100% prepared but I think you know where I am going with this.

    I'm not really sure any current or future P3 can confidently say they are/ will be ready for anything that comes their way when they get to their first externship month. You simply don't get enough exposure to the full range of possible lower extremity medical issues in clinic.

    So again what programs out there really push their externs to the limit?

    Any comments from the residents or new attendings are welcomed and very much appreciated.
  2. DPMer

    DPMer

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  3. Feli

    Feli ACFAS Member

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    DeKalb in Atlanta or West Penn would be my top picks; the hours are long and they stay busy... so it will seem like "all downhill" on other rotations afterwards. They both are highly academic, and programs which are almost always teaching you or keeping you busy with surg or pt care... not just "hard for the sake of being hard." I had a pretty good exp at Penn-Presby also, and they teach well... but you will generally see many more complex clinic pts at West Penn and see and get involved in much more surg and a bit more teaching at DeKalb (cadaver lab here is a great bonus too for student hands-on surg exp).

    If you want to actually DO a lot of stuff as a student, then some of the very busy VAs or the busy Kentucky or Det programs (DMC, Jewish, StJohn Hosp, etc) are good picks. Just ask junior residents if you can help out with consults, clinic, etc.. they won't say no lol. You will also get to do more as a student at the very busy programs since it's typically just one resident and the attending, whereas the more academic programs usually have multiple residents scrubbed in.

    DeKalb is really the best of both worlds and the best externship IMO... busy surgically and very good academically. The tough tough hours are something you really need to weigh if you're thinking of trying to match there, but for a student month, it's good to get used to functioning at a high level on low sleep ;)
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
  4. 347932

    347932

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    How has the San Antonio program kept up with this? Back in my day it was THE externship for Diabetic Foot education and the externship was BRUTAL. Learned a ton, but the hours were insane. Anyone know?
  5. Ankle Breaker

    Ankle Breaker Senior Member

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    Feli do you think its wise to dump a month on a very good program in order to get better prepared for other programs you probably have a better shot at matching? I do well in school but I'm trying to be realistic here. The chance of matching at Dekalb is pretty stiff especially if I'm competing against the top 10-15% from each school for the 4 spots available. It's just makes sense to me to do a program that is going to really push me during that first month. Chances are already pretty slim you would match at the first program you extern at. There is always going to be rookie mistakes. Mistakes you probably won't make when you are 3 months deep into externships.

    I don't know maybe I'm just overthinking this a little bit.
  6. Feli

    Feli ACFAS Member

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    "The stars always shine" is a saying from well-known and widely respected residency director Alan Catanzariti from West Penn. I would tend to agree with that. It really doesn't matter if it's your first rotation or your last. If you have solid prep, good work ethic, and show interest, you will be respected... and therefore interviewed. The only caveat is probably to re-visit, or at least stay in touch with, your early clerkships, though. Good programs get many clerk/visit students, so it's nice to keep yourself fresh in their minds when interviews are approaching.
  7. dtrack22

    dtrack22

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    This isn't true every year though. I would definitely have the mindset that I'm externing at a top program everywhere I go, for my own personal motivation. But Dekalb scrambled 4 of their 5 seats this year. Some years competition is stiff, other years you could match by default even at some of the big name programs.

    I've received a lot of the same advice that Feli is giving. Go to the programs you think you might want to go to and then blow their minds with your work ethic and preparedness.
  8. 347932

    347932

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    :thumbup::thumbup:
  9. ldsrmdude

    ldsrmdude Pod Mod 'Dude Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Gold Donor

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    I think Dekalb actually only took 4 first-years total, as far as I know all of them scrambled, and there are a total of 3 first-year residents there now. I get the feeling that they get a lot of interest for their externship, but I'm honestly not sure how much interest they get for their residency. Of the 8 or 10 students I either externed with or talked to who have externed there this year, only a couple had real interest in the program for residency.

    I externed at Dekalb earlier this year, and would agree about it being a good choice if you are looking for a program to kick your butt. At almost any program you can go above and beyond what is expected and make it a high quality month, but with lectures, cadaver lab, sawbones, helping with the mini-residency the PI puts on almost every month, Dekalb really gives you a lot. Plus it is $100 for room/food (3 meals a day) for the month and you get a PI manual plus free attendance to a PI conference, it's hard to beat. I have no plans on interviewing for the program, but I thought my month was well worth the long days (and nights).
  10. amaprez

    amaprez

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    Is there a downside to this strategy of spending one of your externship months at a site you have no intention of applying to for residency? I hear that it's pretty hard to land an interview if you haven't done a clerkship there. Is that true?


    For comparison's sake, I have a few friends in allopathic schools who are not terribly competitive, but they applied to 50+ residency programs and each landed about 8-10 interviews. Obviously they didn't do clerkships at the majority of those places. Is carpet-bombing like this a viable strategy in podiatry?
  11. Ankle Breaker

    Ankle Breaker Senior Member

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    We got a lecture from our Dean about why students from last years Scholl class didn't match. Some of them were really good students but they simply were not smart about the whole extern/ match process. The most common mistake was that they applied to too few amount of programs. Then we were told about another student who applied to over 20 programs. That person ended up matching somewhere.

    Personally I don't think it hurts to apply to programs that don't care if you extern there or not. I intend on doing so. They may not be my top choices but if for some reason I don't match at one of the 7 or 8 programs I externed at I will at least hopefully match with them.

    It's not a bad strategy in my opinion.
  12. 347932

    347932

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    I hope this advice still applies. If it doesn't, my apologies.

    Apply to as many programs as you can afford to. You may not get invited to interview at every program you apply to.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  13. DPMer

    DPMer

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    I heard you should apply to a MINIMUM of 10 programs for CASPR/CRIP, regardless of whether you are a straight A/Honors student in the top of your graduating class. Any less than 10 would lead to 80 to 90% chance of getting unmatched.
  14. amaprez

    amaprez

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    Sarcasm is sometimes hard to detect on the internet, but if you are being serious, I hope that figure is an exaggeration.
  15. Podfather

    Podfather

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    Truth be told you need to apply to as many as you would be willing to go to. Many programs will rank the same people 1,2,3,4 so there is a risk if you put all your eggs in one basket unless you are one of the 1, 2, 3, 4. Even good programs may not get their top picks and a top student may not get their top pick. Many a good match/training situation are programs that the student thought they would never go to and a resident a program thought they would never take.
  16. darazon

    darazon

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    I'm heading to DeKalb next summer for a clerkship. What should I expect as far as hours go? Call? Weekends? What are the places like they set you up to live in for $100?
  17. ldsrmdude

    ldsrmdude Pod Mod 'Dude Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Gold Donor

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    For us, I think we started at around 6:30 for rounds. Days typically ended around 6 or so, although a lot of times the residents would give lectures after that or go over to the PI for cadaver dissections. Typically once a month they host a "mini-residency" at the PI that students get to be involved with. That weekend you work long hours helping with that, including Saturday and Sunday. Other weekends we had Saturday free. Sunday Dr. Ruch typically does a dissection that lasts a few hours. You rotate call through all of the students, but none of the students I was with got called in for anything. I was told our month was pretty slow, so your month may be busier. The place we stayed was a nice apartment with pretty old worn out furniture and beds. Rumor has it they are looking for a new apartment, but I imagine the terrible furniture will move too. Like I said though, for $100 it is worth it with all that you get out of it, even if you don't end up liking the program, IMO.
  18. darazon

    darazon

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    I heard from the program at DeKalb that you must have a vehicle with you to travel to other offices etc etc. What do students do about that? I'm from SoCal -its a 34 hour drive!! Renting a car cost about $1000 for a month.

    Any suggestions for transportation to programs such as this when driving to the program is not an option?
  19. 347932

    347932

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    If a program requires a vehicle, you are generally required to have your own.

    I drove from Philly to Sam Antonio when I rotated there, as a car was required. Call the program and ask or discuss it with one of their past externs.
  20. Podophile

    Podophile R-rated

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    Schedule a rotation the month before that is at about the halfway point. If you're not really, really serious about a program like DeKalb, don't waste an externship there. Do your homework and really know going in if it's really a place that you would like to spend 3 years working incredibly hard.
  21. ldsrmdude

    ldsrmdude Pod Mod 'Dude Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Gold Donor

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    All of the students I was with had their own cars. I don't see how you can manage the month there without a car since you spend 5 or 6 afternoons at attendings offices, some of which are an hour away. You could usually count on traveling to and from the hospital with someone if you needed, but you go to the attendings offices on your own. If you schedule the month before or after at a hospital part way between Atlanta and So Cal, it might make it easier to do, I agree. Otherwise you will just have to decide if it is worth it. I drove from Atlanta to Seattle with a month in the Midwest in between, and I am glad I did it as I think my experiences were worth it.
  22. dyk343

    dyk343

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    I would just rent a car. Sometimes in larger cities there are places that rent older cars that are much cheaper (rent-a-wreck is a good place to start).

    Gas + hotels + time < airfare + rental

    Unless your in it for the road trip, which is always a good time.

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