BigRedBeta

Why am I in a handbasket?
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Okay, since J2B requested it:

Please don't ignore the "official" interview feedback area, but here's a chance to perhaps expand on things, and present a little more fully the impressions of each place.


Arkansas

Overall impression: I really liked this program

Residents: Very heavy from the Southeast, and they do tend to retain quite a few of their own students (which in my opinion is a positive thing). This was my second interview, took place in mid November, so still pretty early in the season too, but the residents here have stood out as being the most outgoing, and the most frequent askers of "do you have any other questions". Having only interviewed at my home program prior, I was pretty unprepared. I think there were 6 or 7 residents at the dinner the night before and then another 5 or 6 that came to Lunch the next day. Biggest thing: The residents were happy.

Hospital Big, expanding, and you can tell it's a children's hospital (not just an adult hospital painted in bright colors). It is not a "new" facility, at least compared to some of the other places I'm looking. Again, they are adding more beds.
PICU was awesome. This was the first "rat farm" NICU I'd seen (all the NICU's at my home program have been built within the last 8 years and so they're built in the "villous" semi-private room format).

There are only a couple months that are not at Arkansas Children's, instead at the University Hospital. I'll have to check my notes, but I'm pretty sure it was only a NICU rotation. We did not tour the University site.

Continuity clinic is not attached to the hospital (a couple blocks away). BRAND NEW. I did not tour the location, but the pictures looked awesome. Looked like a set up you'd find in an affluent private clinic.

Call rooms and resident lounge were nice. There hasn't been a lot of variation in call rooms from place to place (what do you really need?) but these were among the best.

Interview Day Early day. They'll put you up in the Hilton, and the shuttle to ACH leaves at 7am. Program coordinator will meet you at ACH, the Department Chair will meet with the group. Go to Morning Report. Three interviews are 30 minutes each, one with the PD, one with the Chief Res, and one with a faculty member. All were laid back. Faculty spent most of the time with me "selling me". PD seemed very grandfatherly, and liked to talk, I pretty much listened. Chief's interview was about trying to get to know me. Returned to hotel at 3pm.

Curriculum
LOTS of ER time. Outpatient months are split between clinic and ED.
Benign call schedule - 3-4 overnight calls a month while on wards, due to night float system. Interns do a month of NF.
Didactics schedule varies on time of year: Early on, noon conferences are M-F as "intern lecture" series. After August, goes to W-F. PD claims it's a 2 year repeating sequence of lectures, but residents didn't seem to notice that. In May/June, it becomes a board review sequence.

7 months of electives, 5 in the third year. There are some requirements that have to be fulfilled with elective time.

There are fellows, but did not seem to be a fellow driven program. The "biggest" complaint I heard was that fellows are a little eager in the first couple months, but after those, there's little animosity. Fellows are NOT an extra layer between you and the attending.

Unique intra-program moonlighting opportunity - after completing PICU as a PL2, you can go out on transport services, doing initial stabilization and helicopter flights. I can't remember if it was $50 or $75/hour in 12 or 24 hour shifts. But b/c it's intra-program, you do have to keep below work hours, so it does limit your months you can do it.

There are lots of non-academic services to make sure that residents aren't dealing with poor learning cases.

Benefits
Don't have salary benefits in front of me, but it wasn't any sort of outlier in terms of amount. Free parking, On-call meal allowance, plus $ for keeping up on your paperwork (which surprised me). Standard library stuff including UpToDate. $400/year educational fund. Program will pay for costs to go to conferences.

Research
Not a huge deal was made about it, but there were some that did it. I don't have much in my notes about it.

Location
LR surprised me. It is one of my smaller locations, which was a concern. But overall, seemed nice. Housing costs are extremely reasonable whether renting or buying. I've looked at some of the apartment sites and it's pretty cheap (at least in my opinion). Seemed like there was enough to do socially. The residents mentioned that they hang out pretty frequently, especially the single ones - pretty common to do happy hours, and they usually go play bar trivia on Monday nights vs the Ortho residents.

Concerns
Board pass rate is only at the national average (maybe lower), including one year in the last three which was particularly poor. I think the noon conference board review series is a new entity. One of the PL3's did mention that she and several of her classmates are studying as a group on their own accord.

One resident did claim it was a "work" program, which I take to mean that the expectation is you're going to learn through patient load rather than didactics and teaching...but she was the only to label it that way. None of the other residents said anything that was similar...but on the other hand didn't push it the other direction.

Little Rock. It's not that I dislike the town, but I'm just not "sure" about it. Might go back for a second look. I'm a single guy, so my concerns are different than what might matter for someone who is married, or has kids.

Other considerations

For those with Step 1 or 2 scores >90 OR AOA membership, or a certain class rank, there is the Chairman's Scholars fund, which gives you $1500 in both the 2nd and 3rd years which can be used for any number of educational uses including saving it to pay for board review or boards cost.

There must be something in the water because there were a LOT of pregnant residents, for those who are concerned about that.

Program Coordinator was excellent and everyone loves her. Most said they would donate part of their own salary to keep her.
 

BigRedBeta

Why am I in a handbasket?
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REMINDER: Please don't ignore the "official" interview feedback area.

Oklahoma

Overall impression: Not my favorite, not by a long shot. Depending on how the rest of my interviews go, this may not make my rank list.

Residents: I did not find the residents particularly engaging, though of course, it could easily be mutual. The residents, with the exception of one of the Chiefs (who in another life could be my best friend), were rather short with their answers. Unlike the residents at the other places I've interviewed, the OU residents answered the question, then offered no more information. Much different than the other places I've been. Again, this was just me and maybe if I had met a different subset, I'd have thought differently.


Hospital
: Brand new...like opened in summer 2008 new...and yet (in a theme that would repeat itself throughout the day for me), it wasn't that great. There were a lot of things they had that should have been AMAZING that just missed the mark.

In terms of the hospital, it really appeared to me to be an adult hospital painted in bright colors. Maybe I've been spoiled by the children's hospital at my home program, but I seriously thought at one point "well if this whole 'kids' thing doesn't work out, you can at least utilize this for the adult side of things with no changes". Maybe it was so new, they were waiting on artwork or something, but if I was a kid, I don't think this hospital would have made me more comfortable. Felt extremely institutional.

The outpatient clinic building is in the process of being finished and should open pretty early in the Class of 2009's intern year, if not right before we all start as PL-1s. It will match the new hospital, and shortly after completion, a huge atrium (which the Chairman correctly described as the feature that will make it a "landmark" building) will be constructed.

PICU was very nice, and actually had the sort of feel I would have liked to seen throughout the other wards floors.

Essentially, with everything being new (call rooms, NICU, etc), they were nice, but not outstanding in my opinion

Interview Day
Dinner with residents night before was at Cheesecake Factory...which bothered me - a lot. If you're trying to show off your city, take me someplace local, not someplace I can go any time I wish.

Actual interview day starts about 8am, short (8min) drive from the hotel (Sheraton, downtown OKC). Hotel was fairly easy to get too, but I had my GPS with me. Meet with Chief, go to Morning report, meet with the Department Chairman, then tour, interview with PD and then separately with Assistant PD. I did not have a faculty interview. Lunch was supposed to be in the OUHSC "club" restaurant, but there were some issues with that, so we ended up going to this place in Bricktown (which was excellent).

I loved the assistant PD - she is very dedicated to teaching and devotes a lot of time to going over learning styles with the interns, and teaching styles with the upper level residents. This sort of educational theory stuff is right up my alley, and she and I really connected - probably the best connection I've made with a faculty member during an interview so far.

PD was fairly bland. Nothing exciting. I had to ask a lot more questions of her then I've had to with any other program director so far. She was much like the residents the night before: answer my question then offer nothing else.

Compared to my other interviews...did not get a lot of facetime in with the residents. I don't want to say that they were hiding them, because I know what the connotations are, but it just didn't feel quite like they gave as much access as the other programs I've been too. Only got to talk to the handful at dinner, then the 3 others at lunch. Again, just another example of the whole vibe I felt that was just "off". Not bad mind you, just not quite what I was hoping for.

Curriculum
: Don't have a lot in my notes about didactics. (From their website - noon conference MWF, follows a board prep lecture sequence).

They do have night float, but it makes up one week of your ward months. I'm not a fan of that. If you want to minimize the disturbance to my sleep schedule, give me a month (or at least 2 weeks) of Nights.

Interns get a month in the PICU, and you'll be on call with an intensivist when you're on call. But as an upper level, you take call by yourself. I want to do Critical Care and that doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

Otherwise pretty standard. Only 5 elective months over the course of the three years.

Benefits
I don't recall anything particularly unique. Salary is pretty standard, and the usual on-call meals and parking and stuff.

Research
The Chairman made a big deal about all the big time names (at least he claimed they were important), but it seemed like for all that these people were doing, the residents really weren't taking advantage. Hard to tell if that meant it was because they were too busy, or they just weren't attracting people who wanted to get involved. Similar situation with child advocacy, as they have a Nationally known faculty member in the field of advocacy (this one did have some substantial credentials) and didn't seem like the residents were making the most of the connections she undoubtedly has.

Location
OKC is an up and coming city for sure. It's about 1.2 million, and I think there's definitely a lot of things to do there. I've always heard great things about the Bricktown area, and I think it could be a lot of fun. Real Estate prices aren't horrible, and the widespread interstates mean you can live a lot of different places and still get into work pretty quickly.

Concerns
Obviously for me, my interactions with the residents wasn't where I wanted it to be.

I also felt that the program didn't do a very good job selling itself. There was a lot of information on the website that wasn't mentioned to me at all during the interview day. This begs the question why not? If you can't tell me the good things, why should I believe I've heard all the bad things?

Other considerations
Not a whole lot. I'm sure that other people will be drawn to this program for a number of reasons, but I'm a big believer in gut feel, and this is not the place for me. I do find it unfortunate though because I know I would gotten a lot out of the connection I made with the Assistant PD. I almost feel like I owe her an apology for not coming to the program to work with her.
 
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oldbearprofessor

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In response to the requests on the other thread, if someone wants to PM me their feedback for any institution I will post it anonymously for you.

Just so everyone knows, I am NOT on the residency selection committee at any institution and, in the extremely unlikely event that somehow I was to recognize you or your feedback, I would not under any circumstance relay any of it to anyone involved on the selection committee at any institution.

If you still aren't comfortable with that, you could also PM it to any of the sMods or admins (like Yaah who overseas this part of SDN) and ask them to post it anonymously.
 
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buffah

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Sep 12, 2008
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Thanks BRB for posting your interview experiences. I agree that this thread is much more user-friendly than the anonymous posting and am going to copy/paste all of my notes thus far.

Just also wanted to start off by saying that virtually everybody I have met on the trail has been really nice and generally happy with their program, and that the "fit" is really subjective and in the eye of the beholder, so I am not going to comment on that unless I meet a bunch of unhappy people.

So here goes:

CORNELL
Overall gut feeling: laid-back, friendly

Chairperson: Dr. Loughlin, MD (came from Hopkins)

PD: Drs Bostwick & DiPace (gave initial presentation, former resident)

Residents: ppl love living in medical housing/community, can easily hang out; relatively diverse class; Future Chiefs: Bonnie & Jennie

Faculty: Attendings not in house after sign out; fellows are usually in house at Weill Cornell, but PL-2 is the senior and only resident on call at Queens; many new faculty at Cornell because of the changes and promise offered by the new chairperson who wants to expand Cornell peds

Patient population: mix of wealthy upper east side/Medicaid/Hispanic pts; greater acuity than volume; many private pts

Didactics/education: daily noon conference and morning report; separate NICU/PICU conferences; residents electronically evaluated; int'l health opportunities @ Tazania, etc.; radiology rounds on PACS computer with ward attending rather than pediatric radiologist; (didn't observe any conferences or work rounds)

Facilities: peds ER is "separate" from adult, but adults can overflow into pedsED if over capacity (& presumably vice versa); Queens rotation (20min shuttle), [email protected] MSK & HSS; ob/gyn on 7th floor (near by); new computers; EMR – PACS (radiology) on separate computer except still paper in ER; decent resident lounge w/old TV; hospital within a hospital (6th floor) but some adult rooms are in the middle of 6th floor; thus some peds facilities/ancillary staff are shared with adults, no pedi radiologist at night; IV team not available overnight; bunk beds in call rooms

Location: Broadway, food, museums, can do anything in NYC! crazy expensive, NYC typical smell of urine, sweat, and cigs (UGghhH), people fighting for cabs, impossible to save $

Schedule: unsure #call-free months; q3-4 call at Queens & MSK; day/night shifts @Cornell i.e., 6am-7pm or 7am-8pm shifts?; sometimes can sleep several hours during night; *Unique: 3 wk rotations; Intern yr: 2 outpatient subspecialty months (cardiology and neurology); Several months of community Queens hospital rotation; 1/2 day continuity clinic (day of week variable)

Research: required (clinical or bench); attendance at nat'l conferences encouraged

Fellowship: most ppl stay in NYC?

Benefits: meal tickets only for call nights, free lunch 1x/week at Cornell; free lunch daily at MSK; AMAZING subsidized housing – Cornell own 4 bldgs, newest/furthest/most expensive has gym! (~$1800-2000 for 1 bdrm; $1200-1400 for studio); shuttle to Queens provided for community rotation

Recent/anticipated changes? Trying to get rid of adult rooms in middle of peds floor to expand peds services



COLUMBIA
Overall gut feeling: work hard play hard

Chairperson: Lawrence Stanberry – came from Cinci; trained at Hopkins and Texas Children's; came here 4-5 months ago

PD: Betsy Wedemeyer – trained at DC chidren's for residency/chief; has been PD for past 8-9 yrs.

Residents: greater geographic representation than Cornell; 2 annual program parties (5 hours off for holiday & end-of-yr) + wkend spring retreat; monthly happy hour

Faculty: not in house after sign out

Patient population: large dominican & puerto rican population – live Spanish translators available; also many creole-speaking pts.; "closed" hospital (no private pts)

Didactics/education: morning Intake Rounds geared for the junior and senior residents – interns may attend if they finish floor work?; senior residents conduct daily rounds, optional Spanish immersion course 1.5 wks during orientation (open to all Columbia residents)

Facilities: 5yr-old addition to children's hospital attached to NYP – ob near NICU; EMR everywhere except ER (not sure about clinics); phlebotomy team 24/7; IV team 7am-7pm (sometimes until 11pm)

Location: Broadway, food, museums, can do anything in NYC! crazy expensive, smell of urine, sweat, and cigs, people fighting for cabs, impossible to save $; most residents live in upper west side but some commute for over an hour (upper east side, brooklyn)

Schedule:
-no night float, call for PL-1: average, but not fixed q4 (q2-6 so that everybody gets 1 golden wkend plus 1 wkend); call-free ambulatory and ER blocks
-Electives: there is cross-cover call during electives so miss many days of elective; PL-1 get 1 block cardiology and 2 wks heme; PL-2: neuro block + 2 elective block; PL-3: 4 elective blocks
-Continuity clinic: usually see ~ 8 pts, day ends around 5-6pm; call schedule arranged so that clinic is always same day: PL-1: ½ day/week plus ambulatory block but then PL-2 and 3: full day plus ambulatory block
-Floor schedule: usually get in around 6:30am, go home around 5:30pm, post-call out in morning (seniors are out by 9:30pm) b/c of NY state 27 consecutive work hour law (in contrast to 30 hours in other states)

Research: ? can't remember

Fellowship: entire class of 09 got 1st choice! All of class of 08 got 1st choice except one got 2nd choice; most ppl (>70%) specialize

Benefits: cabfare provided for ER shifts that end at 1am; lunch M-Th; breakfast a couple days a week; dinner provided on call except M & T (now they may be giving meal tickets); $3000/year housing stipend

Recent/anticipated changes? Building new ER (scheduled to open in 2011); trying to extend IV team availability to 24 hours; may change full day continuity clinics by doing something else during ½ day

Other: parking is $70 bi-weekly (Deducted from paycheck), gym membership also deducted from pay check
 
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buffah

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NORTHWESTERN - CHILDREN'S MEMORIAL

Overall gut feeling: work hard, play hard

Chairperson: Dr. Green – Came to Children's Memorial in 1994 for PICU/Pulm, Chair since 1998. shook hands with everybody

PDs (3):
-Dr. Sharon Unti
-Dr. James Collins – lots of fist-bumps/high-fives, hugging residents/other PDs, UMich med school then Children's Memorial for residency, stayed for fellowship and now NICU attending

Residents: seniors will take their pager on call for interview happy hours; big NW holiday party (with other specialties), 2nd year resident retreat about teaching, diverse medical school and undergraduate representation; 3 chief residents

Faculty: they wear grey coats, first-name basis

Patient population: Medicaid, underserved, high volume

Didactics: chief resident-run morning report (2 cases), FIRM (attending) morning report qTuesday, intern morning report qWednesday noon conference daily, med students attend

Facilities: nice, spacious resident's lounge (flat-screen computers, huge flat screen TV, kitchen); main children's hospital old, cramped pt rooms, call rooms with bunk beds/private bathroom, plans for new hospital 2012 downtown, Prentice Women's hospital with NICU super nice (like hotel!) & across the street from Feinberg Medical Center, recent divorce with Evanston

Location: Lincoln Park lots of restaurants/bars, DePaul University in area, residential part of city with expensive housing, huge city with lots to do (museums, parks, beach),

Schedule:
-Call: PL-1 – 9 months (3months call-free), PL-2 – 6 months (6mos call-free), PL-3 – 5 months (7mos call-free) (frontloaded)
-floors & teams organized by organ system but cross-coverage when on call
-Vacation – 3 or 4 weeks + 1 wk Thanksgiving OR Xmas; note that All interns get 5 days off after PL-1 (many go away on vacation i.e., mexico together)
-No night float (didn't work out when they tried it a few years ago)

Research: Senior research project, most are chart review, some national presentations & publications, some just "getting feet wet"

Fellowship: many stay at Children's Memorial, but also can go on to other great places (i.e., [email protected], [email protected])

Benefits: $13 on call card but food in cafeteria sucks so ppl usually order out together (free food when applicants come...)

Recent/anticipated changes: new hospital 2012



UNIV OF CHICAGO/COMER CHILDREN'S
Overall gut feeling: focus on lifestyle

Chairperson: (Interim) – Dr. Schreiber very open about changes, came from Children's Memorial, PICU/NICU. New chairmen is a pulmonologist (sleep apnea specialist)

PDs:
-Dr. Kahana – PD since 2002, been here for 15 years, peds/anesthesia/PICU, gave closing remarks
-Dr. Fromme – gave intro and has been here since residency as a hospitalist

Residents: many from midwest

Faculty: several present during morning report

Patient population: 65% Medicaid, many uninsured

Didactics: daily morning report (run by a resident), daily noon conference, med students and residents may attend; NICU has separate didactics

Facilities: beautiful new hospital! La Rabida nearby; recent 10-year contract with Evanston

Location: Hyde Park, college campus feel, blue light system as Washington Park is unsafe

Schedule:
-Call: PL-1 – 6 months + 1 month sick/pager call (after January), PL-2 – 6 months, PL-3 – 2 months + homecall
-Vacation – 3 weeks (?) + 1 wk Thanksgiving OR Xmas; All interns get 5 days off after PL-1
-Can't remember if there is night float
-some attendings and residents mentioned that hospital is more subspecialty-oriented

Research: required all 3 years

Benefits: free breakfast/lunch daily; resident helpers to reduce scut on general peds M-F, gym $10/mo (same cost for spouse); parking $35/month, everybody has iphones

Recent/anticipated changes: new EMR system; cardiology department is redeveloping

Other: can rotate at another hospital (i.e., immunology in Boston) if not strong here and they pay for flight and lodging; opportunity to complete masters during residency (i.e., ethics), affiliation with UIC to get MPH or masters transitional care
 
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buffah

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UMICH – C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

PD: Hilary Haftel - has been here since rheum fellowship, shook everybody's hands

Residents: 18 categorical peds + 8 med-peds, 70%F, organized weekly social events

Faculty: approachable, eager to help write LoRs

Patient population: mix of upper class and 30% Medicaid/uninsured; live translators (30 languages)!

Didactics: 100% board pass rate in past 7 yrs!!daily morning report (residents, fellows and attendings...not sure if interns were present) and also have noon lectures everyday

Facilities: nice free-standing children's hospital, connected to other buildings by skyway; new hospital scheduled for completion during 2012 on same campus, computers in call rooms, great EMR, nice sim center; parking $50/mos.

Location: population ~100K, college-town, decent cost-of-living although Ann Arbor is suffering from recession and PL-3's are struggling to sell homes, music/arts/culture, nearest beach 2-4hrs away, many local parks and outdoor activities, rough winters

Schedule:
-Call: PL-1 – 7? months, PL-2 – 2 months, PL-3 – 4months (frontloaded)
-Vacation – 4 weeks + 5days Thanksgiving OR Xmas
-Night float as senior
-no golden weekend, but get to pick one day off per week
-no elective during PL-1 (except mandatory heme-onc); 4mos elective during PL-2&3
-1/2day continuity clinic each wk, except during PL-3, get another ½ day in clinic of choice (i.e., specialty)
-interns run newborn nursery (w/attending); otherwise always have senior back-up
-one month outpt surg during PL-3 (OR 1x/wk, no call); responsible for post-op surg subs but not gen surg pts

Fellowship: everybody gets at least top 3 choices - most get first choice! though most ppl seem to stay at Michigan...

Benefits: daily breakfast & lunch, interns get laptops (passed on to future interns); $200/mos for food that carries over, House Officer Union

Recent/anticipated changes: NICU schedule, better free food, adding another chief resident starting this summer

Other: good ancillary services, pedi radiology residents
 
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BigRedBeta

Why am I in a handbasket?
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REMINDER: Please don't ignore the "official" interview feedback area.

Utah

Overall impression: This place is great! Well-established, basically tweaking things to become better.

Residents: Very laid back. I wasn't able to go to the dinner since they only have dinners 2x a week and I was traveling. Really wish I could have though. My tour guide was from my current city and it was nice to have someone who understood where I was and answer my questions based on our shared experiences. But based on the residents I did meet, there weren't any concerns


Hospital
:
Opened in 1991 I believe they said, currently expanding Peds ER and PICU. Attached to University Hospital via skywalks. Literally on the side of a mountain, great view of the valley, TRAX light rail stop nearby for easy transit throughout the city.

Felt like a children's hospital, but not quite as grand as Arkansas or UT-Southwestern.

PICU was a busy place, cluttered. Looked like the way a Movie set designer would imagine hospital wards to convey all the activity that was going on.

Call rooms were okay. Resident lounge was nice, well stocked with food (cookies here were delicious!).

Interview Day: They put you up in the University Guest House which was part of the Olympic Village in 2002. Short walk over to the hospital. Did not go to AM report, PD gave powerpoint presentation to group and answered a lot of questions, interview with faculty, PD and chief one-on-one. Did not meet Chair. Lunch was with tour guide sort of one on one. We skipped noon conference, but that's where we picked up our food (potato bar).

After tour, that was pretty much it. I knew one of the med/peds residents somewhat tenuously but I paged him and asked a few more questions about living in SLC, and that's where I met a few more residents.

Curriculum:
Lots of didactics. Have an AM and noon conference everyday. Noon conference is a 2 year repeating lecture series off of the Peds PREP curriculum.

Hospital has a huge catchment area. The m/p resident I know said that you really don't sleep while you're on call. They have gone to a night float system for upper levels, but interns are still q4. This is a fairly new change and people seem to like it, and it results in greater continuity of care for the patients as between intern, sup and night float resident, there's always someone who knows the patient. They do cap interns at 9 patients.

Most unique thing was the two half days of continuity clinic. As an intern you do both every week, but as an upper level, you can elect to use the second half day for either research or advocacy. I thought this was very cool, and allows for a lot of flexibility.

Benefits
Ski resorts are less than an hour away. Some residents ski/board as many as 40 days a season, especially if they go post-call. There's an elective month available in which you can be the on-mountain doctor at one of the resorts! Residents get discounted passes.

Free parking, free TRAX passes. Noon conference always has food, the hospital cafeteria is open to 2am, resident lounge is nicely stocked.

Resident rafting trip starts off each year to welcome the new intern class. Have your standard resident retreat stuff for each class...

Research
Significant, the extra half day a week really allows a lot of involvement. Program pays for travel to conferences

Location
SLC is a clean, beautiful city. Only 43% Mormon. Residents said (and my IM friends said their residents said the same thing) that there are so many non-LDS people affiliated with the hospital that it's kind of like it's own sub-culture. SLC is very progressive, and seems to be doing a lot to shed it's reputation, as it realizes the need to attract outside companies and stuff to continue growing its economy.

Concerns
Mormons...43% is still significant.

Nightlife. There are some goofy liquor laws, and the cabbie on the way to the airport told me the cops are very strict about public intox...they'll test you if they think you might have been in a bar, not just if you're making a scene. I'm not a huge "club" person, but I do like to go out on occassion, and I just wonder how restrictive is it really?
 

twilburys

10+ Year Member
May 3, 2008
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Hey BigRedBeta,

I was wondering if you got any idea of what the hours are like when you are on the wards. I tried asking a few times, and people would start with "You arrive at 6 am to pre-round" but would then go off on a tangent and I never found out when they actually get to leave the hospital.

Also, the one review on the "official" site said something about interns never getting a weekend day off while on ward months during intern year. I didn't hear anything about that....did you?

P.S. I do plan on posting my impressions soon, I just haven't even had time to type them out for myself yet.

Good luck with the rest of your interviews!
 

BigRedBeta

Why am I in a handbasket?
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Nov 1, 2007
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Attending Physician
Hey BigRedBeta,

I was wondering if you got any idea of what the hours are like when you are on the wards. I tried asking a few times, and people would start with "You arrive at 6 am to pre-round" but would then go off on a tangent and I never found out when they actually get to leave the hospital.

Also, the one review on the "official" site said something about interns never getting a weekend day off while on ward months during intern year. I didn't hear anything about that....did you?

P.S. I do plan on posting my impressions soon, I just haven't even had time to type them out for myself yet.

Good luck with the rest of your interviews!
Didn't ask specifically...if it was mentioned, I think they said they start check out at 1630, but I can't guarantee that was at Utah...these are starting to run together a little bit.

As for the weekend, I definitely did not hear anything like that. The med/peds resident I knew talked about how awesome Sunday skiing was (which I did not think about as an unintended consequence of living around a bunch of Mormons), if that means anything to you.
 

twilburys

10+ Year Member
May 3, 2008
78
0
Status
Medical Student
I did hear the no weekends on the wards as an intern (the 2nd year who gave my tour said the interns got random weekdays off). FWIW.
As long as I get one in seven, I'm happy. I don't really care which day of the week it falls on. In fact it might be nice to have a weekday off to run errands and things.
 

bjackrian

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Apr 16, 2004
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As long as I get one in seven, I'm happy. I don't really care which day of the week it falls on. In fact it might be nice to have a weekday off to run errands and things.
Yeah, as one who's married, it would be nice to have a day off with my wife. If it were just me, I would totally agree with you!
 

BigRedBeta

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University of Arizona - Tucson

I did my away rotation here, so my notes from the interview are really kind of lacking. I apologize for their sparseness

Overall impression: This program is making it's way to the launch pad, and will take off in 2010. Lots of potential here.

Residents: Couldn't go to dinner, but I did an away rotation here, so it wasn't that important.

The residents are nice, and they definitely get along with each other very well. On my interview day everyone was talking about the holiday party that one of the residents was throwing that night and it sounded fun. I think the residents definitely fit in with the program too. UofA is VERY laid back and VERY collegial with attendings. Even med students call attendings by their first name.

Hospital
: Current: not great. Diamond Children's Hospital is going to be opened in stages over the course of Spring 2010, so right in the middle of the PL-1 year for us going through the process.

This massive change does make it hard to evaluate in my opinion. As it's difficult to really "see" myself there.

Interview Day: Meet with PD as a group, 2 faculty interviews. Lunch with residents, meet with director of Continuity clinic program as a group, tour, end of the day.

PD is AWESOME - younger, very dynamic. Only been PD for about a year (old PD is still involved some), the opportunities that the new hospital presents is certainly not lost on him. The residents love this guy, and some told stories about how, even before he was PD, they went to him to get changes made in the program. He definitely has the residents interests at heart.

Curriculum:
AM report x3, Grand Rounds on Tuesdays.
Wednesdays are "Teaching Day". From 10am to 1pm, 3 one hour lectures cover a variety of important topics. Sometimes it's a resident run patient management conferences, sometimes it's a faculty presentation on the latest developments in their field, sometimes it's core curriculum. Lunch is provided, and attendance is pretty much mandatory. It is HIGHLY protected time. The Chiefs actually take your pager away from you. One of my interviewers actually talked about how she did an LP the week before because there were no residents. That is one of the keys too, the attendings have been extremely important in taking on the extra work it presents.

I can promise from experience that the faculty are all great teachers and bedside rounds and brief presentations we got in during downtime were awesome. One of my attendings went over (using calculus!) why changing PEEP is so much more important than PIP for oxygenating vent patients. That's just one example from a month's worth.

The M3 Clerkship has won the "Best Clerkship" award 6 out of the last 8 years or something ridiculous. At least at my school, in my experience, the clerkships that do the best job educating students also do the best job educating residents.

Benefits - pretty standard.

Research
Steele Children's Research Center is a pretty huge deal. Most places I've been do not have a dedicated pediatric research center. This has allowed them to do some interesting things, and will help them expand faculty. The Tucson Children's Respiratory Study is essentially the Framingham study for Asthma, and is a result of having the Steele Center.

That said, I didn't get the feeling that most residents took advantage.

Location
Tucson is very pretty. There are mountains all around (Mount Lemmon actually is tall enough to get enough snow for skiing in the winter), and it's just an interesting set of views. It does get hot...it's the desert. But being at a slightly higher altitude means it's usually 10-15 degrees cooler than Phoenix on any given day. When I was there for my interview it was about 75 in the afternoon, but crisp in the morning, in the 40's.

I was struck by the way Tucson still thinks of itself as this sleepy little college town, despite the fact that it has about a million people. I got a lot of comments while on my away like "oh, if you want that, you'll need to go to Phoenix". I guess that's what happens when you live less than 2 hours from the 5th largest city in the US (13th largest Metro).

There's a ton of outdoorsy things to do, especially hiking if you're into that. Good hiking spots was definitely one of the main topics of conversation when I was there for my away.

Concerns
Lots going on here, but there are going to be snags as things roll out. That can definitely be a turn off, especially when the other programs I really like are more established.

I'm not sure that I fit in great with the peds residents. Of course one of my best friends is down there for residency in another field, and I have the people I've met through him that I know, so my social life is not a concern, but I do think it's important to have good connections with my close colleagues and not always being the guy who is off with the ortho/ER/Anesthesia residents.

Other considerations
For those that are interested, a significant number of residents have kids and I believe they've had 2 births in the last 6 months. Going along with the laid back feel of the place, it's very family friendly.
 
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BigRedBeta

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UT-Southwestern/Children's Medical Center Dallas


Overall impression: Excellent. May not have some the unique features that other locations have, but I really found no truly weak areas. Currently part of the logjam at the top of my rank list.

Residents: Wow! All the residents I met were extremely outgoing and EXCITED about their program. Really, if I had to go based purely on how the residents talked about their program, this program would be the winner.

Dinner the night before was at a resident's house and honestly, the other applicants and I could not get a word in edgewise to ask our questions. It was four PL-3's and you could tell they were all really great friends and it really felt like they wanted to tell us everything they could. In addition to these four, there were a bunch of residents at lunch and definitely no feeling like the residents were being hidden from applicants

Most of their residents are from TX, which might be a consideration for some.

Hospital
:
Gorgeous. HUGE. Sits to the Northwest of Downtown Dallas. Building another tower, but the plan is not to increase the burden on residents (they've been expanding the number of residents, while decreasing the total number of patients on teaching services). I really liked the hospital.

PICU was pretty amazing, huge rooms (first place I've been where they can covert PICU rooms to OR's if patient is too unstable to make to surgery). CVICU is on 11th floor, PICU on 12th (or is it 9th and 10th?) either way there are awesome views of Dallas on all sides.

Interview Day:
Meet in Lobby, met by coordinator. Went to AM report, Intern Recruitment Attending gives a 1/2 hour presentation about opportunity and his feelings on the program (very nice gentleman). Chief Resident gives a long presentation that answers a lot of questions. PD and 2 faculty interviews follow. Lunch with residents at UT-SW faculty club (really great desserts), tour, then a little bit more with Chief (essentially going through the http://www.childrens.com/PediatricResidentsCD/index.htm website). Then final closing remarks from the PD.

PD is nice, though perhaps a little socially awkward (in a good sort of way), but the residents warned us about that the night before. Definitely one of those people that you can see the gears turning while you're talking to them. She ended up talking to us a bunch about the IOM reccomendations about duty hours that just came out and it was one of those things where you could tell she was making the jumps in thinking that it was hard to keep track of where she was headed. Again, it was a little odd, but in an endearing sort of way. The residents all said that she really cares about her residents.


Curriculum:
Plenty of didactics. AM report is a little a different than everywhere else I've been. Might have been b/c it was Friday. Case is presented and very little time is spent on coming up with Differential and then appropriate lab tests and more on the "ask an expert" questions the residents come up with. The questions ranged from common diagnostic dilemmas associated with the pathophys to tips on educating parents on prevention. Just was a little different, but I think was a great way to get faculty involved. I've sometimes felt at my own school, too much time is wasted on getting individuals to say "well we need a chest x-ray for our patient with suspected pneumonia".

For interns there's AM report every day, most days there are separate conferences for Interns and upper levels. One morning a week, interns have a conference with the Department Chair giving him a chance to get involved.

Have a monthly journal club/critically appraised topic. There's a resident run boards review program which runs through the Zitelli Atlas of Pediatric physical diagnosis and board prep questions.

No official cap system. Floors are between 18-22 beds and there are usuallly 3 or 4 interns on each team, so the de facto cap is between 6 and 8 patients. Also doesn't sound like there's an admit cap, as you only admit to your floor until it's full, and it'd be rare to have a patient census less than 8 or 12.

NICU is BUSY, may carry upwards of 12 babies. It's attached to Parkland which has over 16,000 births a year (>45 a day), and is the busiest L&D hospital in the country, and 2nd in the world.

7 electives over three years, including 1 in the first year. 4 of the 7 have to be ambulatory. Sounds like there is a lot of personalization to the elective months so if you want certain experiences they work to get them for you.

Benefits - normal stuff. AM and Noon conferences are catered every day. Do provide relocation $$$ up to $1000.

Unlike a lot of places they do not pay for travel to conferences or for research presentations.

Research
There if you want it. For their size I guess I was a little surprised that it wasn't a bigger point of emphasis. Like most places, some residents really get into it and others don't. Definitely not as widespread as at Utah.


Location
Dallas is a big city, there's definitely not going to be a lack of things to do.
Children's is located just NW of downtown and Dallas is HUGE, but there seemed to be a lot of affordable housing close by. If you want to live farther out, you can, but you will have to deal with traffic, even at resident hours, compared to other locations.


Concerns

It is Texas...I've never pictured myself living there, but I do realize that because of it's size, a lot of the concerns I have about other places don't exist here. I also didn't really intend to apply here, but did so at the encouragement of my Department Chair. Glad I did though.
 
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BigRedBeta

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Kansas

Overall impression: Small, and as my first experience with a non-freestanding childrens' hospital, the difference was definitely noticed. With Children's Mercy literally 2.5 miles away as the crow flies, I really have to worry about their exposure...despite the assurances from everyone there.

Residents: Okay, not great. The chief (they don't have PL-4's in their chief positions as far as I could tell) was really great at not hearing all of my question, then answering based off of what she thought I was asking. It got really frustrating to keep having all my questions partially or tangentially answered. Everyone did seem pretty nice.


Hospital
: Again, non-freestanding. The Peds building is small, and kind of old. They are getting close to breaking ground on a new building (that's going to be built around the first floor of the current one) that will greatly enhance their outpatient clinic/continuity clinic experience.

KU Med itself is kind of a bipolar hospital...at least how I see it. Very much a place that builds new when it can but doesn't follow up with renovations in the older parts.

The Peds floor was literally just that, a single floor, with about 28 beds.
PICU was nothing special. Currently at 6 beds, with average daily census about 4. If needed peds patients will be placed in some of the other ICU settings (CVICU, SICU, NSICU, MICU - which I'm sure those nurses love). There are plans to double PICU size.

Interview Day
Starts at 7:45, starts with tour, then 4 25 minute interviews, 1 with the PD, one with an Asst PD, then 2 faculty. Get a presentation on benefits then lunch with residents, that's the day.

I LOVED the PD, we had a really awesome conversation and she definitely has a well thought out plan of where she believes the program can go. Very conscientious about who she's selecting in each intern class and the types of personalities that she believes will succeed there. Didn't flinch one bit when I asked about their low board pass rate (32% for the last 3 years). Explained that they had 2 years where they let the residents have too much freedom in arranging their board prep. The classes that sandwhich those two years were at the national average, and with 2008 results coming, there should be a significant rise in the pass rate.

Asst PD and the faculty were nice as well, and I really thought that it would be nice to work with them.

Curriculum: I didn't keep good track, so I'll have to look at the materials they gave me.

Benefits
Standard, though the salary they offer is about 6k less than Children's Mercy for living in the same city.

Research
Very possible, they do have a required "scholarly project" month which could include research or advocacy or quality improvement. If you wish to do research they'll put that month in the intern year so that you can get started on things.
Location
I'm a Kansas City native, and that was my main reason for interviewing here. I will say that KC has improved a lot since I left for college in 2001. The Country Club Plaza is always awesome (worth a look at the wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_Club_Plaza) but the new Power & Light District downtown is brand new and surrounds the recently opened Sprint Center. Likewise, the development around the Kansas Speedway has created yet another center for nightlife and things to do. Throw in things like the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the KC Jazz Museum and the College Basketball Experience and Hall of Fame and there's a lot of things to do in KC. Cost of living is relatively cheap and I think it makes for a pretty great place to live. That said, if you don't want to live in a city of 2 million people, then those things aren't going to matter.

Concerns

Board pass rate was adequately explained and I feel confident that they're taking the right steps to get it fixed.

The amount and acuity of cases. Several comments were made by residents and faculty alike about how important it is to have time to read and study daily. The fact that it came up multiple times makes me think that it's one of those code words for "we're not that busy, but here's how we're spinning that into a positive". I mean, I'm all for having time to read and stuff, but that's something I think needs to be a personal decision. And I think that most of the big places I've been have been keenly aware of having that balance between work and free time.

Other considerations

I felt I owed it to myself to see a program that wasn't a freestanding children's hospital just to make sure that's what I wanted and I came away feeling comfortable with that decision. The main reason I'd come to this program is because it's in KC and my family is there (which might also be the main reason I WON'T be going there :laugh:) but I think Children's Mercy has a lot more to offer and I'd be better trained.

I also wish that I could get one of these PD's that I really loved to be at the programs I really want to be a part of!
 

oldbearprofessor

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Really, I am not interviewing at Cincinnati. This is the review of someone who interviewed there this season...

Residents: The residency program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) is a will be taking 33 categorical residents, with a primary care track and a research track, a prelim resident, and several combined-program residents (medicine, child neurology, genetics, psych/child & adolescent psych, and PM&R). There are four chief residents and one med-peds chief this year. I heard two different numbers with respect to how many total residents were training at CCHMC; they were both around 170.

The residents are very supportive of one another. When they are on a team together, everyone pitches in and makes sure that the post-call person gets all of his/her work done to get out on time. They say that nobody in the program has a competitive personality; no one tries to outshine the other members of the team. The residents are a diverse group, with varied interests. They organize parties and get-togethers frequently. At the pre-interview dinner, they said their PD and Associate PD were great leaders and looked out for the residents; both of them are ED attendings whom the residents all get a chance to work with when they are rotating in the ED.

Residents go on to fellowship training at programs throughout the country, and others go into private practice or academics.

Faculty: Residents are on a first-name basis with many of the faculty. Each resident is assigned an advisor. There is a lot of research that goes on at CCHMC, but I didn’t hear about how many of the residents get involved with that.

Interview Day: The interview day was pretty standard – we attended morning report and met with the program coordinator, department chair, PD and Associate PD as a group. There were three interviews, a tour, and lunch with the residents.

Curriculum/Didactics: Inpatient general pediatrics teams are associated with various specialties, so residents get a balance of general pediatrics and subspecialty care with each inpatient month. Family-centered rounds are the way at CCHMC. The entire medical team visits the patients, and residents learn how to present in a way that informs the rest of the team members all they need to know about the patients while taking into account the needs of the parents/guardians/family members. Call is q4 on inpatient rotations and in the ICUs, but maybe q5 in the NICU. They have built-in opportunities to practice procedures, such as procedure shifts in the ED. There is an opportunity for an international rotation during the PL-3 year. Interns have a retreat and there are career development days for all classes. During the PL-2 and PL-3 years, there is an optional second half-day clinic, which can be done in a subspecialty clinic. It seems like a lot of thought was put into designing the structure of the didactic curriculum, with an emphasis on active learning; there are special sessions that are peppered throughout the month, along with standard morning report/noon conference/grand rounds.

Hospital: Cincinnati Children’s is unique in that it provides care for all the pediatric patients in the city and serves as a large referral center; the hospital is huge – 511 beds. It is located adjacent to (on?) the University of Cincinnati campus. Patient illnesses and presentations range from general pediatrics cases to tertiary/quaternary cases. Inpatient teams have their own work rooms. The medical record and orders are electronic. There is a NICU and PICU – but I can’t remember going into either of them on the tour. Residents can have their continuity clinic at the hospital, or they can choose to work in the community in a private practice type of setting.

Benefits: Cheap parking, and free meals during morning report and noon conference with money for food during call. The website says that they provide up to $1000 annually to attend a conference in addition to the educational stipend for books – in one place (on the same page) it specifies that money for “educational meetings” is only for the PL-2 and PL-3 years, so it is unclear whether interns get this benefit. Also, residents sometimes get tickets to sporting events and other free tickets, which are provided by the faculty.

Research: There is a research track, but I don't know much about it.

Location: The hospital is located in an urban setting, but many patients also come from suburban areas outside of the city. The patient population is mixed (and balanced) – lots of underserved but also plenty of patients who have private insurance. Living in Cincinnati is very affordable, and many residents own condos/houses. I heard that a few people live in places very close to the hospital, but many of them choose to live in other neighborhoods within a few miles of the hospital. Cincinnati doesn’t get that cold in the winter and its location in the southern part of the state is far enough away from the Great Lakes that the city also does not get lake-effect snow.

Concerns: Because of the gigantic size of the program, I would worry that I would become just another resident – it might be hard to keep track of everyone.

Overall: Cincinnati Children’s is the only show in town for pediatric care, and this is an asset to the residency program because residents get to see absolutely everything. I also really like the idea of family-centered rounds – if residents, attendings, fellows, nurses and other ancillary staff are all conscientious of bringing all their ideas to rounds, it seems that would create an environment where communication between the family and the healthcare team is more robust, where it would be less likely that ideas are lost or forgotten as they might be through informal, fragmented, and uncoordinated channels of communication.
 

oldbearprofessor

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Nope, it was not OBP who interviewed there....This is posted anonymously for an SDNer who interviewed there this season

Residents: There are approximately 29 residents per class (and there will be 29 spots in the Match this year for categorical pediatrics), plus 4 med/peds residents per year. There is also the peds/genetics combined program, and within the categorical program two tracks, CHAT (Community Health and Advocacy Training) track and the research track.

Many residents came to the social event, which was held at a resident’s apartment. The fact that they take the time to plan these events in their homes for the applicants to meet residents in an informal setting is an example of how much they like their program. They were all very happy to be at UCLA and they like training at multiple clinical sites. They described their PD as enthusiastic, receptive to feedback, and willing to stand up for their interests when change is warranted. Also, I got the sense from the way they talked about their fellow residents that they truly believe that one of the strengths of the program is the residents – they feel that everyone is supportive of everyone else at work and they frequently spend time together outside of work, to happy hours/dinner and these resident-applicant socials.

Many of them pursue fellowships at UCLA and other places with great reputations. It seems as though there is a west coast predominance, but I remember hearing about some east coast placements – I can’t remember where. They get fellowships at their top choices, so perhaps many residents at UCLA may just prefer to remain on the west coast.

Faculty: Residents are matched up with an advisor who is supposed to help guide you through scheduling and discussions about career options. Residents say the faculty members are approachable, and many are involved in research and the care of patients specialized areas of pediatrics, and they serve as a resource for those who are interested in a particular field.

Interview Day: Interview day was at the main hospital in Westwood, and had the standard interview fare including morning report/noon conference with time to talk to residents, met with PD and Chair, tour, and two interviews. There is the option to visit Cedars-Sinai or Olive View in the afternoon.

Curriculum/Didactics: There is a lot of exposure to tertiary care at UCLA, but there is plenty of time spent caring for more general peds types of patients at Cedars-Sinai, Santa Monica, and Olive View (Olive View is a county hospital). The majority of the rotations are at UCLA and Cedars-Sinai. Each block is 2 weeks. They will try to schedule interns in a way that groups together their inpatient and outpatient experiences, e.g., four weeks of inpatient GI service followed by 2 weeks of outpatient GI. Call is q5 at UCLA, q4 at other sites. (I can’t remember how many call-free blocks are in each year.) There are mock codes at UCLA once a month. Residents have four weeks of elective in the senior year free of call that they can choose to schedule an international or away rotation. Faculty have established ongoing relationships with several international sites so there seems to be lots of opportunities for residents to go internationally, and many take advantage of this. During senior year there is an advocacy rotation where the focus is working with special populations at the interface of pediatrics and the court system. There is morning report, noon conference, and grand rounds at UCLA and Cedars – not sure about Olive View or Santa Monica. Continuity clinic is either at UCLA or somewhere in the valley (? a ~20-minute drive from Westwood) for categorical residents, although the residents in the CHAT track have their clinic at a different off-site location.

Hospital: Mattel Children’s Hospital is contained within the larger UCLA medical center and located on the main campus of UCLA. They moved into the new hospital last summer – everything has a modern feel to it. Patients have private rooms. The hospital provides tertiary/quaternary care for very sick kids. Inpatient teams are all subspecialty teams, and gen peds patients get transferred to Santa Monica. I didn’t get a chance to see the other hospitals.

Benefits: Free breakfast and lunch during morning report/noon conference at UCLA – not sure about other sites. There is money put on your card for food when you’re on call.

Research: There is a research track for those interested. I don’t remember hearing about a research requirement for the other residents.

Location: Los Angeles is known for the mild climate and location near beaches, mountains – you can probably find almost anything in LA. Cost of living is high. LA is also known for traffic, but residents say that traffic is not so bad during the times of day you’re typically traveling to/from clinical sites.

Concerns: The one thing I’d like to know more about is if residents are spending time rotating at four hospital sites, how are didactic sessions organized so that the residents get most board exam topics covered by the end of their three years?

Overall: This program offers exposure to all sorts of patients in different settings so that by the time you are done with residency you will have a well rounded education, and the relatively large size of the residency program and UCLA’s reputation for patient care and research allows for this. The camaraderie of the residents, the formal and informal mentoring opportunities, and the sense that I got from the PD on interview day made it seem that despite the larger size of the program, it has a smaller family feel to it, there are resources to help you get the job/fellowship you want post-residency, and I would never feel “lost” among the residents and the four clinical campuses.
 

oldbearprofessor

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okay, I'm not interviewing here either, but someone on SDN did!


Residents: This year in the Match there will be 24 categorical spots and 2 for each of their prelim programs (one-year and two-year programs); currently, there are 24-28 people per class with two chief residents.

Several residents came to the social event. They really emphasized how close the members of each class were. They go out together outside of work. Also, they emphasized how the upper level residents were good team leaders and would take the extra time when there actually was downtime to do some informal teaching with the interns. Teamwork seemed to be one of the aspects of the residency program they really value, and they talked about how that benefited the care patients receive and improved their education.

They have good fellowship placement with about half of each class going into fellowship and half into general pediatrics/hospitalist positions, and occasionally to chief residency positions at different institutions. During the interview day, the program directors gave several examples of the feedback they receive from fellowship program directors about the clinical abilities of St. Chris alumni.

Faculty: Residents have good interactions with the faculty and say that many of them are great at teaching. For the inpatient teams, there are hospitalists that also serve as teaching faculty. The faculty are affiliated with either Drexel or Temple. Temple had a children’s hospital that closed down, and many of the services moved to St. Chris.

Interview Day: The day starts with morning report, an interactive patient-case teaching session that is run by the chief residents. Then there is a talk with the PD and Associate PD, where they discuss their teaching philosophy, focusing on teaching residents how to teach, active learning, and generalist education. The department chair also drops by to talk. This is followed by two interviews, lunch with residents, tour, and a short presentation at the end of the day.

Curriculum/Didactics: The resident education/teaching theme is present throughout the three years of residency. Interns work with medical students on their teams (not sure how much formal education in teaching residents to teach occurs), PL-2 there are retreats to help develop some of these skills, and there is a “teaching rotation” during PL-3. Most rotations are at St. Chris. Interns get an advocacy rotation where they get to work in the community. Call is q4 on PICU and NICU rotations; night float covers the inpatient services during the week (I think with the primary inpatient team covering the weekends, not sure if there are off-service call responsibilities for the weekends too). The residents have two :))) opportunities for call-free electives that can be done away, one each in the PL-2 and PL-3 years. There are daily radiology rounds for inpatient and ICU teams with an attending radiologist. Standard morning report, noon conference, and grand rounds. Mock codes. Some of the noon conferences are set up in more of a workshop format covering topics in evidence-based medicine. Continuity clinic is at St. Chris.

Hospital: Free-standing children’s hospital with 170 beds (I heard they were going to add more?) and all pediatric subspecialties represented. Paper charts and orders. Recent renovations have been done in the hospital. NICU at St. Chris has ECMO. The PICU/CCU has some private rooms in it, and another open section with beds separated by curtains. St. Chris is the only pediatric burn center for the region. The continuity clinic is located in the hospital. Residents go to the adult hospital in downtown Philadelphia for nursery and NICU, to get experience with deliveries and taking care of babies who aren’t quite as sick.

Patient Population: St. Chris is located in North Philadelphia, which is an urban area and a lot of the general peds patients are from the local community, but the hospital also gets patients from NJ and areas in PA that are north and west of the city.

Benefits: Free parking! Meal money provided for when you are on call. I think that otherwise, the benefits are pretty standard.

Research: I don’t remember hearing about whether there is a requirement.

Location: Philadelphia is a nice (it’s the City of Brotherly Love, after all!!), diverse city that is close to NYC and DC and is also more affordable with respect to the cost of living. Good professional sports teams (can be a pro or a con depending on your allegiances!). The hospital itself is in North Philadelphia, which is not the best location, and I don’t think any of the residents live within walking distance or take public transportation. The ones I talked to about location/housing all said that they drive to work.

Concerns: The hospital is operated by Tenet, a for-profit company. I haven’t interviewed at any other places that are like this, so I wonder whether it has any bearing on fundraising, patient care, resources available for philanthropy/community involvement, or renovations/updates of facilities.

Overall: St. Christopher’s is a large program in an urban setting with a focus on resident education and patient care for the underserved. The residents seem very close and work hard, and they leave the program ready to do anything they want within general or subspecialty pediatrics, in private practice or in an academic setting.
 

megynelli

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I know there are lots of great people who interviewed at smaller places and will not be going to a big name place, but a place that is still a great place to train!! Where are all of you? I will add my thoughts on places I interviewed- some big/some smaller in hopes it will stimulate some feedback!!

First of all I think I should start by saying I think there are lots of great peds programs no matter the size/name.

Here are my thoughts-

Loyola- Interview was great, people are super friendly (I can't really say anywhere I went was though). Smaller program, but still a good enough size. I do love the gym! I did a NICU rotation here and loved it. I must say every attending I was in contact with was fabulous. Overall impression I got was that for the most part people are happy here.
Pros- small size (PD, faculty know you well- great for letters of rec for fellowship), only NICU fellows (nice to have around as an intern on call in the NICU, also- no fellows stealing your chance to do procedures like at the big places). Great NICU. Every attending I came in contact with wanted to teach me while I was there.
Cons- lacking some subspecialist, I did hear that the PICU attendings are not the residents favorite people. No free parking. Sometimes overshadowed by Northwestern/UC.

Lutheran General- I greatly enjoyed my interview day here and of course all of the residents are fabulous. I also did a peds cardio month here. I have to say the cards docs are AMAZING! They do take care of lots of cards pts, when I was there 8/9 PICU beds were cards pts. The program director is also awesome and a lot of people are there b/c of her. They have research if you want it (not bench), and lots of there fellows are able to match where they want for fellowships. Also the chief for next year seems awesome.
Pros- the residents are really really happy and actually do get along. While I was there they would plan lots of stuff together. Location is good for everyone. Expanding peds floor/picu. Good didactics from what I saw when I was rotating there. Very supportive faculty/staff.
Cons- no fellows (but its a pro b/c you get lots of experience!) smaller program, I really can't think of much I enjoyed my month here so much.

Riley (IU)- I loved my interview day at Riley! It was great, I liked the people, and the place. I don't have a lot of background knowledge about it b/c I didn't do a rotation here, but talking to med students from IU who were interviewing they seem to love it too. A tough program, you will be working hard.
Pros- You rotate through 3 hospitals- all with different patient demographics- 1 county hospital (underserved/low income, baby maker), a private hospital (more acute problems, baby maker), and Riley (more serious, chronic kids), my thought is this is everything you are going to ever see has to be in one of these 3 places. No competition from surrounding big institutions. Lots of fellowship opps. "Midwest program with a southern feel." As I was told by one of my interviewers, i.e. a "little" more laid back. Cheap cost of living. Health care paid for you and your fam!
Cons- BIG!! This is a huge place, not quite as personal as other places. Lots of Q4 call (but hey that's when you learn right?). Lots of fellows.

MCW-- Let me say I was sick this day which may have impacted my view of the day. Residents seemed happy, and said they felt very supported by faculty. Big hospital with lots to see and do.
Pros-- lots to see and do. No competition from surrounding hospitals. Lots of fellowship opps. PD while tough seemed like he was a big resident advocate and really pushed the residents to think.
Cons- I just didn't get as good of a feeling here, not sure why? I feel it would be a phenomenal place to train though.

Hope Children's Hospital-- This was probably the big surprise of my interview season. I did not think I would like the program due some things I had heard from other people but I loved it! (Goes to show you can't believe everything you hear, so please take everything I say in this with a grain of salt, and go with your gut!) I think the program has a lot to offer, they do tons of cardio and heme/onc (2nd in the area). I thought the program director was awesome!
Pros- I liked everyone I met there. The program director seems really really passionate about his job and is a big resident advocate. I love that they have protected didactics 1x/wk- that means no pager, nothing to disturb your learning once a week. They also have a morning report and teaching rounds so you still get lots of teaching. I actually learned a lot on my interview day! Has its own post op heart unit. Good size PICU and NICU (apparently the NICU attendings are fabulous!). Cardio fellowship.
Cons- location is not the greatest, so commute might be a little longer. Most patients admitted by community physicians so may mean rounding at crazy times, calling docs to discuss pts etc.

Rush- I have to say I was surprisingly impressed by this program too, compared to what others have said to me. I liked the people I interviewed with and the residents. They have lots of subspecialists and some combos with Cook county and UIC so you get to benefit from some of their attendings. I felt like the residents get lots and lots of hands on experience doing procedures, even if I never have to use them, I want to know I can do it.
Pros- lots of hands on experience. location close to burbs and city, can take train/"el" to get there. FREE PARKING. If you are going to live in Chicago that is huge. Lots of great benefits/perks too (your insurance is covered!) Cardio fellowship.
Cons- residents didn't seem as close as some of other programs. Morning report was great, just not lots of resident participation.

Akron Children's- - pretty big hospital for having soooo many big names and places in Ohio. Free standing hospital. Taking 18 residents this year- up from 15.
Pros- residents seem to like the program. Big enough that you will see lots of stuff. Some fellows, but not too many. Not too big, not too small. Staff seem to love the residents. Seemed to really want to take people that want to be there.
Cons- in Akron, not the greatest city, not the worst. I didn't feel as comfortable here as some other places, but I still think I would get great training here.

Dayton Children's- if this place was in Chicago it would probably be at the top of my list! I really enjoyed the people I met faculty and residents! I can not san enough nice things about everyone I interviewed with they seemed incredibly genuine. They have about 8 military residents and then 6or so civilian residents. I actually like the mix though and you get to work on base for some outpatient rotations- which I think would be an honor to serve some of our service men/women and their families without having to move to Guam or something.
Pros- free standing children's hospital with some air force base work. Lots of subspecialists, and lots to see. Great people to work with. The hospital is gorgeous, looks brand new. No fellows
Cons- Dayton is an ok place. Morning report while again was excellent, not highly attended for some reason. No fellows

Hope this helps people and I hope some others will come out of the woodwork!! Good luck with the match!
 

oldbearprofessor

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One more!

Residents: There are 20 residents per year and three chief residents, with one spot for the combined peds/PM&R program and four for the med/peds program.

I couldn’t make it to the social event; fortunately, a ton of residents showed up for the applicant lunch. They seem like a cohesive group and find time to go out. There are a few program-sponsored parties throughout the year that are family friendly. In addition, they get to know their PD very well. Some of the ones who live in Delaware join local sports leagues. About half live in Philadelphia, and the other half live closer to the hospital in Wilmington.

Generally about half of each class goes on to fellowship, mostly on the east coast but also to programs in other areas of the country.

Faculty: Residents enjoy their interactions with the attendings and say there is good teaching. Lots of the faculty showed up for morning report. Faculty are affiliated with Thomas Jefferson University.

Interview Day: The day starts with a meeting with the Pediatrician in Chief. Morning report is an interactive patient case presentation, which is very well attended by both residents and faculty. That is followed by a presentation by the PD about the program, tour and two interviews, lunch, and another meeting with the PD and residents.

Curriculum/Didactics: Most of the rotations are at the children’s hospital, with a couple of rotations per year either at Christiana (also in Wilmington) or Thomas Jefferson (in Philadelphia). There was a lot of emphasis on the series of retreats that each class of residents go through as a group – with the goal of fostering the development of teaching and leadership skills. There are some single-day retreats in Wilmington and then others that last a couple of days at the shore, and the residents say that they really help them get to know their classmates better. One unique elective that is popular amont the residents is the diagnostic referral center, where community pediatricians and the ED physicians refer their patients who are somewhat of a diagnostic dilemma. On some of the outpatient rotations, residents spend a week of the rotation in a private office and gain exposure to the practice of pediatrics in that setting. Residents get dedicated procedure shifts. Night float. Opportunities for international experiences during the PL-3 year. Continuity clinic is either in Wilmington or at Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia. All residents do some sort of project by the end of their training, which can be related to resident education, advocacy, or research. There is the typical morning report, grand rounds, noon conference along with a few additional educational conferences at the main hospital.

Hospital: Alfred I. duPont Hospital is a free-standing children’s hospital in Wilmington, Delaware. It has a suburban feel to it because the hospital is not in the downtown area of the city and because it’s located on the expansive grounds of an estate originally owned by the hospital’s namesake. It was originally an orthopedic hospital and grew into a full-service pediatric hospital, including a large rehab unit. There is a pool for therapy/rehab. There is a small library on-site. All pediatric subspecialties are represented. There are well established solid-organ transplant and bone marrow transplant programs. There is a NICU at duPont for babies who need surgery, but I believe that all of the resident NICU experience is at the other hospitals, Christiana and Thomas Jefferson. PICU has great nurses who really help out the residents.

Benefits: The program provides lunch at noon conference, and money for meals during call. They get an educational stipend of $1000+ each year that can be used for anything related to education, including the cost of exams. Residents are allowed to use the gym in the hospital. Parking at the hospital is free, but there is no parking provided at the continuity clinic site in Philadelphia – an apparently busy section of the city where you would have to find parking on the street. Free board review course that is done in conjunction with Penn State’s residency program. Finally, the fact that the hospital has a large endowment provides a source of funding for resident projects that maybe other programs do not have. They gave the example of a resident who is starting a clinic this year at a homeless shelter, and received a lot of funding to cover start-up costs.

Research: Some residents do a lot of it, but no requirement. We received a paper in our interview folders listing all the projects that residents from last year’s graduating class participated in. I don’t know much else about research opportunities.

Location: Delaware has no sales tax (a selling point that I learned about during the residency program presentation). Residents who live in Wilmington said they like living there, it’s a nice city, there are things to do, and cost of living is low.

Concerns: About half of the residents live in Philadelphia and commute the half an hour to and from work, and the other half live in Wilmington. They try to coordinate continuity clinic assignments so that your clinic is in the same city you live in, but if you lived in Wilmington, the sense I got was that there was no guarantee that your clinic wouldn’t be in Philly one afternoon a week which would leave you having to drive home with everyone else leaving the city in the early evening.

Overall: A medium/large program where the primary teaching site is a large, free-standing children’s hospital. The program is very supportive of the residents and has a lot of resources. Residents know one another very well and are happy with the program.
 

whartonjelly

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Jan 31, 2009
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I hope this helps. My thoughts below are benefitted by being from Charleston and also from currently attending MUSC as a 4th year medical student. So I've had a lot of inside information which I hope will benefit you. I haven't decided on gen peds or doing a fellowship.

Medical University of South Carolina

Overall impression: Not sure, mixed feelings (see below)

Residents: Mostly from the southeast and Ohio. Noticed that at least 3-4 residents were from Ohio in each class. The residents seemed generally happy more with the fact that were living in Charleston rather than being in the program itself (I expanded below). There is a mix of single and married residents.

Hospital Not a freestanding children's hospital but that doesn't really matter to me. The facilities were older than most places I visited but they did have a nice atrium for children. The call rooms were fine, pretty standard. The ER is brand new and very nice, definitely a highlight of the building.

Interview Day The interview day was preceded by a dinner at a very nice restaurant where I had a chance to meet with some residents. Again, they seemed happy but as a group we were able to gain some positive and negatives about the program. For some reason, I had the feeling that the program was overcompensating for its deficiencies by taking us out to such a nice restaurant but then again I could be wrong. The interview day started at 7:30. Had two formal interviews, a nice lunch, and then a tour. Again standard stuff. The only thing that troubled me about interview day was the fact that everything seemed so rosy. Yet, this behavior seemed to conflict with I had experience on my rotation.

Curriculum
In general, this program seemed to be heavy on ER time. No electives are available your intern year but you are able to do a total of 6 split between 2nd and 3rd year.
Intern year: You work pretty hard with Q4 call but that lightens up dramatically as you go to the 2nd year and then becomes a little more intense your third year.

Positives:
Everyone seemed friendly. Liked morning report and computerized medical system. They have a online resident checkout system for patients. They use a pretty neat automated response system for board review but that didn't seem to work for any of the four board review sessions I attended. Nice effort though.

Negatives: The didactics didn't seem that compelling (low board pass rate). From what I observed on the general wards, not much teaching was happening which concerned me. Peds ER does not get Level I trauma call. Those go to the adult side so residents miss out on that experience. The relationship between the residents and the Neonatology nurse practioners is not good. There seemed to be constant issues between the residents and NNPs in the Level II nursery and NICU. Residents do 2 and 1/2 months of Heme-onc and it appears to be the worse rotation in the program. The grand rounds speakers were terrible. One sounded like an infomercial. The program will readily admit this. Finally, some concern from the residents that besides the ER, there were not that many opportunities to get procedure experience.

Benefits
MUSC is one of the lowest paid residences in the country. Charleston is somewhat expensive to live in so the low salary doesn't help. They do offer $1000 moving bonus which helps. The program doesn't offer book money. They instead supply books each year (intern: Nelson's, 2nd: Zitells, 3rd: Med-Study). Residents receive money each month on their card and $15 for each overnight call which is nice.

Research
About the only department that does research is the cardiology department and that reflects their national ranking (27th I think). Otherwise, MUSC doesn't have much going on. I may be interested in a pursuing a fellowship so I will need research. They do have a new evidence based medicine program that forces residents to engage in research. From what I could tell, most of the residents hated it though.

Location
Charleston is a nice city. There are beaches and pretty decent night life. The weather year round (except for the summer) is really nice as well.

Concerns
1) Last year the board pass rate was about 70% which in my opinion is horrible. In comparison to the rest of the country, their board pass rate going back a few years is well below average. This also concerns me as well. In fact, from what I could gather, this low pass rate and general sense of unhappiness from the residents led ultimately to the firing of the program director. As a result, this is the first year for the program director. There is a "rumor" that he may be leaving his post and allowing two other individuals take over. In regards to the firing, I think some of this resulted from extreme unhappiness among the residents, some of whom may still be there. Basically, what I was told was that their concerns had to do with the scant amount of teaching on most of the services, abusive control of the chairman's wife, and the inability of the program director to make any changes. Residents felt like they were being treated as second class. I am not sure what to make of this and how it reflects the program going forward.

2) Chairman who appears to be a weak leader. At least on my interview day, he didn't seem to be present much. I have also heard that the residents in general do not like him as well. His wife is a member of the department and appears to abuse her authority. For instance, I was told of an instance recently where she failed an individual in the past after doing her adolescent rotation. Makes me a little uncomfortable.

3) Didactics on the general pediatrics, cardiology, and heme-onc services are very poor according to the residents which may reflect some of the low board pass rate. There have been efforts to reduce the number of months of these services and also improve the quality, but so far none have been unsuccessfull.

4) A few residents told me specifically that they felt the program is slow to change. There is a lot of reluctance on the part of the adminstration to make change as they have a fear of losing those that are permanent. (nurse practioners, faculty members). The program seemed to reflect the attitude that residents were temporary but everyone was permanent.

Bottom Line If weather and city are your biggest criteria for choosing a program, Charleston may be the place to be. Otherwise, their low board pass rate and questionable unhappiness of the residents with some specifics of the program are definitely unattractive. Overall, the program seems to be in a state of flux which may make right now not the best time to be in the program. In the end, I will probably rank this program as I am from charleston, but it will likely be toward the bottom of my list (safety school).
 
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twilburys

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May 3, 2008
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I was just wondering if anyone else encountered this on the interview trail. At some point during the interview day, most programs would make some comment along the lines of "Graduates of our residency program are highly sought after" or "We are always told 'if someone trained at your program, we know they are great'." Or, "One of our grads is doing their fellowship at ____ (insert some prestigious institutions name) and is doing much better than the fellows who trained at other programs."

Oh, and I am feeling totally guilty because I have been slacking and haven't posted any interview impressions yet. I still plan on posting them, but haven't gotten around to typing them out for myself (I am working on getting that done this week).
 

BigRedBeta

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Yeah, I got that pretty much everywhere...even the programs I least expected it at. The best though was at one of those programs where I didn't expect it...and their Peds Intensivist was a grad of their residency program, went to Rainbow Babies, came back and was on my interview itinerary! Kind of made it impossible to doubt.

Basically I think it's really important to keep in mind the overall competitive level of most peds fellowships...few completely fill, and even fewer have enough US med school grads apply to come anywhere close to filling all the available spots. Add in all the extra variables that come from being older (ie it's only logical more fellows are married than residents, and more will have kids), and I'm certain the limited candidate pool becomes even more limited for the programs.
 

twilburys

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May 3, 2008
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I was just wondering if anyone has specific questions about programs because I would be happy to help, and I'm sure others on this thread would give their input as well.

At this point I have abandoned trying to type out impressions for myself. I still haven't picked a top five.

I do want to post impressions at some point though, because I found last year's thread very helpful during the process this year and I would like to pay it forward (I hated that movie btw).

Good luck everyone!
 
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