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Rad Onc Away Rotation Impressions

Discussion in 'Radiation Oncology' started by Sheldor, 04.04.12.

  1. Sheldor

    Sheldor

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    So in the spirit of the extreme helpfulness of this board, I thought a thread like this could be a good idea. After scouring the archives, I see that a recurring request is for advice and experiences with away rotations. Each thread usually only gets a few replies before fading away.

    So, without further ado, I see this thread a place where users can post anonymously about their experience with various away rotations. It is a rather large decision, and while there is some info in the interview impressions thread, I still feel like there isn't enough information on here. If everyone posted at least about their home institution, we'd have some thoughts on nearly every program in the country.

    So for those who just matched, and everyone who went before, please share! Perhaps with the following format:

    Institution:
    Time spent: # weeks
    Services: Breast, gyn, etc, etc?
    Presentation: When, how long, well attended?
    Research: How were the opportunities?
    Role as a student: H and Ps? Contouring? Etc.
    Impression: Like or didn't like? Would you recommend it to future applicants? Any other thoughts developed after 4 weeks.
    Offered an interview: Yes?

    I'm sure, as usual, our wonderful mod would be happy to post anonymously for those of you who'd rather do it that way. Hopefully this can be a valuable resource.
  2. RadSki

    RadSki

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    This could be a very useful resource for M3's looking to do away rotations. One suggested addition is to include "Didactics for medical students: eg. Lectures (how many?, topic such as clinical, radbio, physics), contouring sessions, etc." Although it is common for students to give lectures, it is unfortunately much less common for departments to give lectures on the fundamentals of radiation oncology to their rotating students.
  3. ramsesthenice

    ramsesthenice

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    Sheldor,

    I can only speak for my home program, but I think its a good one that visiting students seem to enjoy so here you go...

    Institution: UNC
    Time spent: # weeks: 4
    Services: Pretty much all: breast, prostate, GU/gyn, Lung, h&n, sarcoma, GI, melanoma...all the major players and most have mulit D conferences and clinics each week though some are biweekly. I think that is a real strength of our program is most groups are truly integrated and you get to appreciate the comprehensive treatment of each cancer and the specific indications for radiation therapy by stage etc.
    Presentation: Students give a 30 min presentation on a topic of their choice. Its really a review of the RCTs or other good data supporting a specific topic: ex the use of adjuvant RT in advanced prostate cancer.
    Research: Great once you are here, but really none during a one month away.
    Role as a student: Virtually all patient care. You are paired with a different attending each day and see all or most of their patients in clinic. A lot of time is spent in the multiD clinics doing H&Ps. You will get to do a little contouring and seeing treatment planning (maybe total of 1 or two work days) but the mentality is that they can teach most good students everything they need to know about rad onc in residency. Can't teach good patient skills. Also, they want to know how good you are at the things you have been trained to do. It is an audition after all.
    Impression: I stayed on, so I think that says it all. Its very collegial and there are a ton of opportunities pretty much no matter what you are interested in. The people are great and we all know each other well and get along as well as anywhere else. A lot of us therapists, residents, and attendings play basketball together outside of work. Its also a great area to live in.
    Offered an interview: Yes. and I think the majority of, if not all away rotation students did get interviews too.

    Anyone interested in the south should certainly come check us out.
  4. Sheldor

    Sheldor

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    Thank you so much Ramses, that is exactly what I had in mind for his thread and I learned a lot about UNC.

    Hopefully yours will be the first of many!
  5. RadSki

    RadSki

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    I should preface this by disclosing that I am a resident at the Univ of Chicago. I did a rotation here in 2007. The general structure is the same with the addition of a didactic curriculum for students. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about the rotation.

    Institution: University of Chicago
    Time spent: 4 weeks
    Services: Students generally work on one service per week and are able to rotate with most of the attendings in the department, including the program director. Services include Head and Neck, Breast/CNS, Breast/Gyn/Lymphoma, GU/GI, and Thoracic/Peds.
    Presentation: Students are not required to give a presentation to the department, although some students have volunteered in the past. Students meet with the chairman for an informal case presentation ~2 times during the 4 weeks.
    Research: Some students have piggy-backed onto resident projects or worked independently with an attending and succeeded in presenting abstracts at ASCO and ASTRO. If you are interested in developing a research project, discuss it early in the rotation with the chief residents (or possibly beforehand).
    Role as a student: Students prepare consults and take complete H+P’s, usually with resident supervision, and then present the case to the attending. With assistance from the resident, students are expected to have reviewed some basic literature (textbook, up-to-date, etc) pertaining to the disease site and have a basic treatment plan in mind. Students also have the opportunity to observe SRS, SBRT, and brachytherapy procedures. Students work closely with residents and often are given the opportunity to observe and possibly assist with contouring and plan evaluation. If students have downtime, they are encouraged to observe dosimetry, simulations, or treatments.
    Didactics for students: Although these MS4 clerkships function as an audition rotation for potential residents, we believe that students need to learn the basics of radiation oncology to be able to make the most informed decision possible when choosing a specialty, and to have a basic foundation to function as a PGY-2 radiation oncology resident. With that in mind, we have developed a didactic curriculum that includes lectures on the history of radiation oncology, basic radbio and physics, and evidence-based rad onc, as well as a hands-on didactic dosimetry session.
    Impression: The more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it.
    Offered an interview: Yes (I’m a resident here now)
  6. Gfunk6

    Gfunk6 Troublemaker Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Here's an anonymous impression I was asked to post.

  7. canadianoutlaw

    canadianoutlaw

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    Does anyone have information about Penn away rotations?

    Institution:penn
    Time spent: # weeks
    Services: Breast, gyn, etc, etc?
    Presentation: When, how long, well attended?
    Research: How were the opportunities?
    Role as a student: H and Ps? Contouring? Etc.
    Impression: Like or didn't like? Would you recommend it to future applicants? Any other thoughts developed after 4 weeks.
    Offered an interview: Yes?
    Number of medical students rotating at one time:
  8. wagy27

    wagy27 SDN Mentor

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    Preface: I am a WBH resident and was also a med student here 5 years ago now.

    Institution: William Beaumont Hospital
    Time spent: 1 month (we do occassionally have students who rotate for shorter periods 2-3 weeks)
    Services: Students rotate with attendings that interview/are involved with the residency process. Usually broken up into 1 week blocks but if an interesting brachy case or other case pops up this may change. We make sure to give rotators the chance to spend significant time with our PD (Dr. Grills) and our chairman.
    Presentation: All students present a 1 hour talk at morning conference toward the end of their rotation on a topic of their choice which usually focuses on an interesting case they have seen or previous research they have done.
    Research: Plenty is available ranging from physics projects to ready to go clinical projects, it is all about how much the student wants to do. We have had multiple students in the past few years submit and go to ASTRO or ASCO meetings and been included in published manuscripts. Students can take a seperate research month or try to catch on while doing a clinical rotation. we also have students who express interest earlier and work during their "spare" time over the course of the year.
    Role as a student: We allow students to be as independent as they want to be. Usually the first few days we let you get the lay of the land and after that let the student perform the H+P. Students choose cases the day before so they are able to look up the case and go over data with the resident before presenting the case to the attending. Students also can help with contouring and are involved with on treatments. During Brachy, GK, SRS, students are able to observe the case from start to finish.
    Didactics: Students attend the same didactics that residents which includes conference M, W, and F as well chart rounds, noon lectures. Students are also given introduction to Rad Onc information from the chief residents when they start the rotation.
    Impression: The world is your oyster as a student. If you want to see a lot of patients and demonstrate your clinical skills that is great. If you want to work on research that is good as well. Students are given as much or as little responsibility as they want.
    Offered an interview: Yes. Out of 12 current residents, 6 rotated here as a student.
  9. Gfunk6

    Gfunk6 Troublemaker Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Ask and ye shall receive . . . courtesy of this anonymous user.

  10. ramsesthenice

    ramsesthenice

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    [​IMG]

    One does not simply critcize Penn radonc and think there will be no rebuttle...

    I don't have one...never been, but people really are all over the map on this one.
  11. Gfunk6

    Gfunk6 Troublemaker Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Here is a 2nd opinion on Penn's Rad Onc rotation:

  12. Gfunk6

    Gfunk6 Troublemaker Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Heeeeeeeeere's Stanford!

  13. Gfunk6

    Gfunk6 Troublemaker Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Yale!

  14. Sheldor

    Sheldor

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    This thread is incredible! Thank you so much to those who have contributed. Anyone have impressions to share regarding the University of Florida?
  15. Aphtalyfe

    Aphtalyfe

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    I've already signed up for Emory and Cleveland Clinic aways... but any reviews would still be most helpful!

    Thanks to all those who have already contributed!
  16. scarletgirl777

    scarletgirl777

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    If anyone has any insights about away rotations with WashU, I'd appreciate it!
  17. FSU2013

    FSU2013

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    Seconded.
  18. Gfunk6

    Gfunk6 Troublemaker Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Your plea was heard by an anonymous user.

  19. echod

    echod Junior Member

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    Do we have a list of programs that are notorious for not interviewing their visiting rotation students?
  20. Gfunk6

    Gfunk6 Troublemaker Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Here is another perspective on Beaumont from an anonymous user.


  21. ramsesthenice

    ramsesthenice

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    Notorious? Don't know of any off hand. Clearly, the big name programs like Penn, MSKCC, Anderson and MGH will get more away rotations than they have interview spots so there will be awayers that don't get interviews, but thats more of a numbers game than anything. I havn't heard of any mid-teir programs that regularly don't interview most of their aways.
  22. SimulD

    SimulD Senior Member

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    I didn't get an interview at UChicago or Beaumont. Both wrote me fantastic letters, and the project at UC directly led to me getting a residency. But, I was steamed at the time!
    -S
  23. Neuronix

    Neuronix Super Corgi Away! Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    Only one comes to mind, and that's Utah. They have been brought up numerous times on SDN for this phenomenon.

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=629802
  24. medgator

    medgator Senior Member

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    Those are the names I remember hearing about when I applied for aways many moons ago.
  25. The 805

    The 805

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    Institution: UCSF

    Time spent: 4

    Services: Like many of the big name programs, UCSF has everything you could ever want to see. The stereotactic and brachytherapy programs are incredibly strong, and I got to see a lot of pediatric cases as well. On the first day of my rotation I met with the Chief Resident and the other students (3 of us in total), and we came up with a loose schedule for the month based on our individual interests. However, that schedule got mixed up on a near-daily basis as the month progressed if the residents were doing something particularly interesting (head and neck brachytherapy, CNS implants, etc.) as opposed to seeing yet another T1c prostate. The entire experience was very laid back and entirely focused on student education.

    Presentation: 30-minute talk on your research during the last week of the rotation. A few residents and faculty showed up, but the ones who did asked a lot of really good questions. There seemed to be a bias in favor of the basic science/translational talks (not surprising given that the vast majority of residents are MD/PhDs), but I'm basing that on a pretty small sample size.

    Research: I didn't investigate this as a rotating student.

    Role as a student: I spent most of my time working up new patient consultations, but never more than 1 or 2 per day and I never dictated. Just as a heads up: Dr. Roach likes students to present in a very specific way, but the resident I was with made sure I was prepared. The remainder of the time was dedicated to attending conferences and tumor boards, as well as contouring and learning the technical aspects of radiation oncology through observing gamma knife, working with the physicists, or making masks and alpha cradles. I'd like to particularly point out how great the residents were at making sure I got the most out of my time at UCSF. I was often moved from the clinic to the OR if there was more to learn in the latter (or visa versa), and more than once the residents steered me away from working in… unpleasant situations. Also, I was frequently sent home early if things were done for the day (i.e. no waiting around until someone tells you to leave).

    Impression: I really enjoyed this rotation, and I would recommend it to any and all future applicants. Whether you want to go to UCSF, or get a letter of recommendation for your application from some bigwig, or just learn as much as you can about radiation oncology, this is a great month. As I mentioned above, the residents were fantastic, but the faculty was equally welcoming and enthusiastic about the residency program and student education in general. This was an away rotation for me, but unprompted, Dr. Fogh set aside some time to go over my personal statement and ERAS application before I submitted. The only negative thing I can say is that the application process was a little frustrating. The requirements changed to include a personal statement and 2 letters of recommendation about 10 days before everything was due last April, and I was completely unprepared for either. Needless to say, those 10 days were hectic. But if this happens to you, my advice is not to be deterred because it will be completely worth it.

    Offered an interview: Yes, but given the recent chatter on this thread, the other 2 student I rotated with were not offered interviews. So I guess doing the rotation itself is far from a guarantee.
  26. copperfrog09

    copperfrog09

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    Thanks for everyone's input - this is really helpful! Any input on some more mid-tier programs? I know it's a long shot, but particularyl interested in MUSC, Wake Forest or Kentucky.
  27. Gfunk6

    Gfunk6 Troublemaker Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Here's one for MUSC.


  28. Gfunk6

    Gfunk6 Troublemaker Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Your pleas have been answered.

  29. echod

    echod Junior Member

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    Thanks for all the info! Has anyone rotated at Mayo before?
  30. mheat3

    mheat3

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    anyone like to share thoughts on Colorado-Denver, U Washington, or Maryland?
  31. Gfunk6

    Gfunk6 Troublemaker Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    Rocky mountain high . . .

  32. pakimudphud

    pakimudphud MD/PhD Student

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    Thank you to all who are taking the time to reply and for all the of the information.

    I attend a Texas state medical school and was hoping to get any impressions for away rotations done at UT-Southwestern, MDACC, and UTHSC-San Antonio.
  33. SphericalCow

    SphericalCow

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    Here's a question...

    For those of us applying for away rotations now, what would be a good number of programs to apply to? The usual advice is to do two aways, but how many would you need to apply to in order to be reasonably assured of getting two? These electives are small and fill fast, and by the time that the decisions roll around, it's probably too late to apply to more.
  34. Radonc11

    Radonc11

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    Institution: Wake Forest

    Time spent: 4 weeks

    Services: Student is provided with a schedule at the beginning of the rotation pairing you with a different attending-resident pair each day. It was very acceptable to switch or spend time in some other service if something interesting came along. Spent most of the day seeing new consults and OTVs, and I was allowed to dictate my consults with attending co-sign once transcribed. This definitely enhanced my experience and let me take ownership of patients. Extremely friendly bunch of residents and very very approachable faculty. The dept chair, Dr. Blackstock is very well known in GI in circles and is incredibly personable and easy to chat with. You also attend tumor board for the service you are on typically Mon-Thurs around noon. Also great H n N service with Dr. Greven where I got to do several scopes, and loved the CNS service as well.

    Presentation: 45min-1hr presentation on area/topic of your choosing. Very well attending by faculty including the Chair and all the residents in the last week of rotation. Some friendly pimping accompanies your presentation, but nothing bone breaking.

    Research:This wasn't really my focus. Was there to get experience, and essentially get my feet wet outside my home department which has no residents. There was plenty, I mean tons of research if you were interested. One of the young attendings is probably going to make a name for himself in Lung/Liver SBRT. I know Bob T has this covered but they do around 40 lung SBRT weekly thanks to a very friendly thoracic surgery group.They also seem to have a giant GK database. Apparently second largest or so in the country.

    Role as a student: Consults and OTVs mostly. You get to see chart rounds on Monday mornings which are led by residents on the service. I learnt a lot from these. The residents here were so phenomenal and welcoming you didn't really have to worry about scut or menial junk. Just soak up as much as you can since you don't have to present.

    Didactics: Great setup. Attended daily didactics led by residents (except physics and radbio). I particularly enjoyed their setup. Tues-Friday 8amish. They basically go through each site top to bottom every single year. Didactic focuses on all the relevant evidence and major studies. By PGY-5, you've covered the material 4 times. Attended by at least one faculty member each day.

    Impression: This place is gold. There is nothing pretentious about the residents or faculty at all! Genuinely grand folks all in all. This was more or less my first foray into radonc outside my home dept. I was very impressed with the overall tenor of the place and I would highly recommend this program without reservations. It was a superb learning experience that confirmed that radonc was definitely for me and how great co-residents can make a smaller program rock.

    PS: One of the residents is a huge steelers fan, I mean huge. So if you are ever here on interviews, please remind him the ravens owned his team twice in 2011:smuggrin:! (He'll be done in 2015)

    Offered an interview: Yes.
  35. thesauce

    thesauce Senior Member

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    However, avoid ANY mention of the Broncos or things are likely to become violent...
  36. wyme84

    wyme84

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    Bumping up this thread...any more impressions?
    Particularly California programs?
  37. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated-

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    Great thread, would love this as a sticky ;)
  38. suttons law

    suttons law

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    Mayo

    I really enjoyed my rotation at Mayo.

    I did 4 weeks.

    Service: Did Breast/Sarcoma, CNS, Head and Neck, and Prostate. I had a few consults most days and then many followup visits.

    Presentation: 1 30 minute long presentation. You put a resident on the hot seat and ask them questions. I would suggest letting a resident know/asking them if you can pick them. Know your stuff as you are asking the questions.

    Role as a student: I only had a resident with me for a few days out of the month so you are basically supposed to function as a resident. I studied/prepared for the next day probably 4 hours a night plus one more hour in the AM. I cannot confirm that the other students did this as well, but you are asked what you think the treatment should be and support it with evidence. I appreciated the faculty holding me to a high standard. I have heard people from other places say Mayo's style of learning is abrasive and they prefer to be self taught. I almost laughed out loud. If you don't want to be great just admit it. Mayo will push you to be your best and if your not emotionally tender, you will really appreciate the respect they give you by expecting you to have done your homework. They were very kind, but they expected you to have done your homework.

    Research: I don't think you would have time to do research unless you were extremely motivated.

    Didactics: In the AM, they pimp the residents but it's all in good fun. A case presentation format , kidn of step 3 ish. Usually the faculty chime in and help out as well. I really liked their didactics.

    Overall: Well worth the experience. Faculty pushed you but were genuinely great people from a personal standpoint. I literally learned 5x as much on this rotation compared to others.

    FYI: I did not match at Mayo. But I actually really liked Rochester, lots of trails, very nice people and patients.
  39. echod

    echod Junior Member

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    Can you share how you found housing in Rochester? Thanks!
  40. Sheldor

    Sheldor

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    While perusing some older threads, I found a few quotes applicable to our discussion here. They aren't in the same format, but I think they are valuable enough to repost.

    From Gfunk regarding UCSF:

    This is from Neuronix, but I am unsure of what program it belongs to, Neuronix?

    Please let me know if you'd rather these not be posted here and I'll happily (and quickly) remove them!
  41. Neuronix

    Neuronix Super Corgi Away! Administrator SDN Senior Moderator SDN Advisor

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    It was my home institution, so I'd rather not say for anonymity's sake. I still just think it's better to get longitudinal experience on one service rather than a broad experience in rad onc on a rotation. Logically, a broad exposure makes sense to decide if you want to go into rad onc. But unfortunately, you have to get 2-3 rad onc LORs and often in a limited amount time...
  42. suttons law

    suttons law

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    You can stay at the Kehr Hotel which is owned by Mayo or at an extended stay, they send you a list of places in Rochester
  43. jcradonc

    jcradonc

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    any impressions on Emory?
  44. Aphtalyfe

    Aphtalyfe

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    +1
  45. Gfunk6

    Gfunk6 Troublemaker Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    2,962
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Physician PhD Faculty SDN 10+ Year Member
    Here's an anonymous review of Emory.


  46. Aphtalyfe

    Aphtalyfe

    Joined:
    07.28.09
    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    I was wondering which housing options for my Emory elective would allow me to forgo renting a car for the month? They sent me an email with like 50 different options, and they weren't specific to radiation oncology at all.

    Any help would be appreciated! (Sorry if I should've made a new thread)
  47. crd117

    crd117

    Joined:
    05.12.10
    Messages:
    11
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    I've been looking into the same thing. I know there is the Inn at Emory which is literally across the street from campus. Otherwise, I've just been using airbnb.com, but unfortunately there is very little within walking/biking distance of Emory. Another option would be trying some corporate housing companies to see if they have any apartments in the complexes that are very close to emory.
  48. IntrepidMaple

    IntrepidMaple

    Joined:
    11.12.11
    Messages:
    12
    SDN 2+ Year Member
  49. copperfrog

    copperfrog

    Joined:
    12.21.11
    Messages:
    4
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Not absolutely. Cliff does have a shuttle that runs to Midtown and Grady from main campus. It runs once hourly and is not particularly timely, though. Alternatively, you could probably ask to do your whole month on different services at main campus. Ideally, you need a car, but it could be done without.
  50. Sheldor

    Sheldor

    Joined:
    05.21.11
    Messages:
    1,019
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    What's the expected dress code in most radiation oncology departments for medical students? I'm assuming dress clothes including tie correct?

    What about short white coats? I've gotten in the habit of not wearing it during third year but I wasn't sure if I most wear it in radiation oncology.

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