aredoubleyou

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General question - I read over and over how important away rotations are and among the other students in my class (MS3) they make it seem as though it is a prerequisite to get into residency. Here's the thing though - considering that you will probably only do one away rotation in anesthesiology and you apply to a dozen programs - and considering that many (probably most) people end up in programs they never rotated through, does an away rotation REALLY make a difference you think?

Primary reason that I'm hesitant is the cost issues of paying for my appartment plus living expenses somewhere else. Any imput greatly appreciated!
 

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I think its a rite of passage, just to show that you were willing to 'sacrifice' to try and impress a program. I think it goes a long way toward showing determination.
 

Lefty

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There are many reasons to do an away rotation. Of course the most notable is to increase your chances at getting into the residency where you rotate. I think this especially holds true for less prestigious programs b/c it shows them you are VERY interested in them. You must have been to spend the money to go there for a month.

There are other reasons to do an away rotation as well. You can get letters of recommendation from faculty members other than your programs which can look good. It can also start up conversation at many of your interviews. The anesthesia community is apparently very small and lots of faculty from different places know each other.

Another reason, often overlooked in discussions, is the opportunity to see how another residency program functions and what its training strengths/weaknesses are. You may really like the program at your institution but hate it where you rotate. That is very important to find out especially when you start to decide where to apply and later how to set up your rank list. You may like that program's set up a lot more than your own institution's as well.

You will have the chance to talk with an entirely new batch of residents and find out what they did on the interview trail, which places they liked and ranked highly (and "why" they did--which is the most important thing to ask).

I did 2 away rotations and loved them both. It was hard to be away from my family for 2 months, however. I got interviews at both places, feel very competetive at both places, and learned a lot about what to look for in my residency program. It was definitely a sacrifice. But I lived with parents for one, and friends for another. There are ways to minimize costs. If you really think you are interested in a certain program then I would certainly recommend rotating there. If you are just doing an away rotation b/c people recommend it then I don't know that I would advise that as much.

Hope this is helpful.

Lefty
 
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aredoubleyou

aredoubleyou

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Thanks, very helpful - thinking about doing a SICU rotation away - anyone done this? Is there typically enough exposure to anesthesia attendings? One concern - a lot of places (i hear) alternate with surgery attendings- reducing the exposure to anesthesia attendings....or maybe I'm just making excuses! Well, anyway, thanks for the input.
RW
 

rhinosp_33

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i would not do a sicu rotation away. think about it. new hospital, different computer system, different attendings, etc. sicu is a great rotation, but do it at home where u have the comfort of knowing how to look up necessary studies quick. its gonna take you at least a week at a new hospital to get accustomed to small but important things like that. also, unless you do a icu rotation at a place where anesthesiology runs icu (ucsf) .. then i dont see it helping that much for your anesthesia application, in terms of getting that golden LOR.

just do an away anesthesia rotation.. meet the department, the residents, go to rounds, get that letter. be smart.
 

Lefty

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Did you say "go to rounds"? Are we still talking about anesthesia? :eek:
 

rugtrousers

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I didn't do any away rotations in anesthesia, partially because I wanted to do research in the summer between MS3 and MS4 years, partially because I didn't really know where to start. It hasn't hurt me in interviews one bit, but my application was strong in other areas. If you have marginal board scores/grades, it might be helpful to have a strong letter from faculty in the visiting department, but that's just speculation on my part.
 
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aredoubleyou

aredoubleyou

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well now that its 9 months later - as it turns out I didnt do any away rotations and am not regretting it. We'll see if it makes a difference - I dont expect that it will. Like rugtrousers I dont think that it made a significant diff (maybe I wouldnt have been rejected by Duke - but, then again, it wasnt like I really needed to be there for family or something like that)...
 

fishtolive

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did 2 aways and while it may or may not "help" in the application process in terms of competetiveness, all i know is that when they (interviewers) have asked me "so what have you done to really make sure the field is right for you" (happened once on an anes. interview and twice at medicine prelim programs when they said they would like to "convince" me to do medicine during my intern year)...i have a great answer and they feel satisfied...also, the aforementioned small world of anesthesia comes into play and you feel like a colleague who can "talk shop" with your interviewers (e.g., "Is Dr. XYZ still there?" "How's he doin?" "When I trained there one of the PACU nurses was so old...")
 

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When you consider that so many applicants do exactly one anesthesia rotation, usualy at their own program, any away rotation is a big deal. It shows that specific program that you are interested in them and matters a lot during interview season. My #1 and #2 choices are away rotations I did, and one I wont even rank, so it helped a lot.
 

ThinkFast007

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i agree w/the above.

I think the main thing to do is mk sure you've done a anesthesiology rotation. THe reason I say that is because on my interviews i'v been asked "so how do you know that anesth is for you, i dont see any grades from anesthesia clerkships on your transcripts" . (my grades were nto posted on my transcripts at this point).

So bottom line, home or away just mk sure you've done a anesth rotation SOMEWHERE!
 

no oxygen

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Primarily for monetary reasons, I didn't do any away rotations in anesthesia. Did a couple at my home program...out of 7 gas interviews so far, nobody has even brought this up. Received 31 anesthesia interviews too, so while I think it can certainly be helpful, it isn't essential to get a spot....at least, I hope not. ;)
 

adleyinga

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no oxygen said:
Primarily for monetary reasons, I didn't do any away rotations in anesthesia. Did a couple at my home program...out of 7 gas interviews so far, nobody has even brought this up. Received 31 anesthesia interviews too, so while I think it can certainly be helpful, it isn't essential to get a spot....at least, I hope not. ;)
AS someone said- if yo are marginal applicant than pick the place you want to do your residency in and do rotation there. If you shine and they rmember you than that improves your chance of getting matched there.
 

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I think the away rotation might be a pretty big factor. people should ask about it at interviews. I asked at 2 places so far. At one 20/22 of the CA-1 class had rotated there. At the other 16/18 had rotated there. I feel like that says a ton about how much these individual programs value these away rotations. I did an away at one of these, so I feel pretty good about it, but at the other I was like, what shot do I even have? Again, this may not apply to every program in the country, but I would definitely ask about it.
 

iron

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I'm Chair of a Residency Selection Committee. We interview all candidates that have rotated through. Several of them would not have been interviewed otherwise. I also know this is the case for where I did residency. My residency was at a top program, most of us did not rotate there except maybe the few who did med school there. I agree with above poster that if you're marginal and have a particular program in mind, rotate there. And then do a good job! It's a double-edged sword.
 
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aredoubleyou

aredoubleyou

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iron said:
I'm Chair of a Residency Selection Committee. We interview all candidates that have rotated through. Several of them would not have been interviewed otherwise. I also know this is the case for where I did residency. My residency was at a top program, most of us did not rotate there except maybe the few who did med school there. I agree with above poster that if you're marginal and have a particular program in mind, rotate there. And then do a good job! It's a double-edged sword.
That sounds nice, but...if your not 'competitive' enough to get an interview straight out, would you just be getting an interview for the formality of taking up a position at the bottom of the rank list - OR, do these people have a good shot - and im not talking just in theory - but in reality (even better, in your experience) match at a program that they otherwise had no chance at before. Im not trying to be an a-hole, Im just honestly curious.
 

iron

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I know that at my residency some rotators got interviews that the program had no intention of ranking. Courtesy interview. And I have one or two about which I could probably say the same. But I also have one that we will rank who otherwise wouldn't have received an interview.

I also know someone who rotated at a program who subsequently refused to give him an interview. The PD told me this when I interviewed there. That was an interesting situation. Particularly when the student in question matched at the same program as I did! He made it through internship but left (asked to leave?) after CA-1 year.

Is it better to get a courtesy interview or cut you out of the process early? Saves you money, interviewers time, but seems pretty harsh.
 

Stillinscrubs

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I have been asked several times about this in interviews and honestly it was one of only a few questions that I wasn't prepared to answer (I don't spontaneously recall much biochem, in case you were wondering.) My medical school implies rather heavily that away rotations often do more harm than good. That being said after talking with other medical students, some of whom are spending time at 3 or more programs, I have come to realize my school provides almost zero time in the fourth year to do away rotations, let alone schedule interviews.

When asked I have just explained to program directors/interviewers that it is unrealistic with the schedule I have to do away rotations. I certainly hope that it does not count against me, but I am concerned that it has.

I am curious how many resident members of the forum didn't do away rotations? Do any residents in hindsight think that they were hurt by not doing away rotations? Would it be worth my time to call my top two or three programs and further stress my situation with regard to not having done a rotation with them?

Good luck everybody,
Scrubs
 

adleyinga

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iron said:
I know that at my residency some rotators got interviews that the program had no intention of ranking. Courtesy interview. And I have one or two about which I could probably say the same. But I also have one that we will rank who otherwise wouldn't have received an interview.

We have had a few who would not have gotten an interview based on board scores but did well on rotation, got an interview, had letters from our faculty saying take this person so they will get ranked decently.