Baystate Medical Center/Tufts University Residency Reviews

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by EM2007Applicant, Dec 16, 2006.

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  1. EM2007Applicant


    Dec 16, 2006
    Baystate; Springfield, MA

    Residents: All I met seemed happy; some indicated they were surprised how much they liked residency and looked forward to coming to work (ED months!)
    Residents are a mix of singles and married with kids. They get together socially and many live in the Northhampton area just outside of Springfield.
    Faculty: Joe Schmidt is the new PD after program founder Steve Playe left last year. Dr. Schmidt was the associate PD under Dr. Playe and seems very committed to keeping the residency focused on providing an excellent EM education while ensuring residents are happy and healthy. The ED director also stepped down last year and currently Dr. Santoro is the Interim Director. He has been with Baystate for many years and seems like a very nice guy. All residents spoke highly of the faculty.
    Facilities: Baystate is bursting at the seams. The ED is very crowded and too small considering they see over 100,000/year. Peds ED is in a separate hallway and they have a general treatment/urgent care area as well. Space is definitely at a premium, but they make it work! There are plans for a new building which will house a new ED, but this will take several years.
    Patient population: Mix of urban/suburban/rural population. Baystate is only Level 1 trauma center for quite a large area - Western Mass between Worchester and Albany with Hartford to the south. Good mix of penetrating and blunt trauma. They do not have an aeromedical service, but get plenty of flights in from surrounding services in CT and MA. Baystate is also the only 24 hr cath lab and stroke center for the area, so lots of high acuity medical patients as well.
    Location: Western Mass is a beautiful area, Springfield is not. If you are looking for the big lights/bright city this is not the place for you. Suburbs are affordable and offer good schools. Northhampton is a fun college town with plenty to do. Skiing is within 1/2 hr, ocean within 1 hr; Boston about 45-1 hr.
    Lots of hiking and biking trails.
    Overall: Seems like a great program. Nice people, not too stressful. Plenty of pathology to go around. Is not a big research center, but there are opportunities. Can't beat the patient volume and will work hard when you are there, but the program places an emphasis on helping you stay happy, sane and to relax.
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  3. 2008 EM Reviews

    2008 EM Reviews 2+ Year Member

    Nov 16, 2007
    Below are my biased short reviews:

    Maine Med: +good residents, lots of camaraderie, cushy number of shifts, do lots of stuff in the ED (do not consult as much), lots of ED time as opposed to offservice, lots of outdoor opportunities in area
    -not too much pen trauma, fair blunt, cold winters, small program, homogeneous population

    U Mass: +good residents, very nice ED, well respected residents, good research, Hawaii elective, awesome helicopter experience, good reputation in area, great ultrasound
    -hard to switch shifts, some unhappiness with residents, seemed like residents stay 1-3 hours after shifts for cleanup

    Baystate: +work less than allmost anywhere else, good blunt trauma, good patient mix, very little offservice
    -residents did not seem strong, faculty I interviewed with seemed disinterested, cramped department, city sucks and lots of residents live far away in nice town, bad ultrasound

    OHSU: +very nice hospital, good research, cool city, residents were friendly
    -small program, go to lots of different hospitals because primary does not see enough variety, residents did not seem strong

    Carolinas: +great teaching, great research, awesome facilities, strong off service, good ICU experience, great reputation, strong residents
    -lots of off service months, city not exactly what I expected

    ECU:+strong residents, good teaching, nice department, great patient population, good reputation
    -electronic records seem poorly implemented, city is very undesirable for some people

    Wake Forest: +good teaching, good facilities, strong residents, good US
    -Winston-Salem shuts down on Sundays

    Christiana: +good residents, huge department, good records, good patient population, great benefits, nice facility, good teaching, very little off service, great ICU experience, great ultrasound
    -area may not suit some

    U Conn: +nice PD, nice facilities, good relationships with trauma

    Duke: +New PD seems awesome, nice hospital, would be a good area to live in,good teaching
    -not enough electives
  4. beanbean

    beanbean 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 19, 2002
    I applied to Baystate and ranked it second. I have lived in the Hartford/Springfield most of my life. I had been a volunteer EMT in the area for many years and had brought many patient's to Baystate. So, I certainly can't give you the insight a resident would have, but I'll let you know my thoughts.

    I think Baystate has some real strengths as a program. The ED volume is very high (>100,000/year) which gives you great exposure to pathology. They are the Trauma center for the area between Hartford and Worcester. This means a good mix of blunt trauma (MVCs, etc) and inner-city penetrating trauma. All the serious medical stuff comes your way as well and Baystate is the peds center for the area as well. I was impressed by the teaching staff and residents when I interviewed last year. Residents seemed happy and were a diverse group from around the country. They all seemed to feel they had found a "hidden gem" with Baystate. The program is very family-friendly with a mix of single and married residents with or without kids. The program seems to pride itself on keeping residents happy and sane. The curriculum is very ED focused with no inpatient med or surg floor months. The faculty I met seemed very knowledgable and friendly.

    The cons: The ED is very cramped and small. There is a new ED plan in the works, but i don't know what the time frame is. I think the staff does a great job seeing a ton of people in a limited space, but this must be a stress on everyone. Learning to make it work in less than optimal physical space prepares you well for future chaos, but how much does it detract fromthe educational process? I think doing a rotation in the ED would answer the question for you.

    The other 'negative' people refer to is the area. Springfield is no shining big city, but the suburbs are very nice and Northhamptom is a cool, hip college town about 10 mins away. You are about 2 hrs from NYC, 1 hr from Boston, with in 45 mins of skiing and about 1 hr to CT beaches. Housing prices are pretty good, certainly more than some rural areas, but nothing like Boston or other big cities.

    I think I wrote a review of baystate in the EM Review thread last year which probably says all the same things. I am a PGY1 at UCONN and if you have any questions about UCONN (a very similar program to Baystate in the same area), let me know. Good luck !

  5. alreadylernd

    alreadylernd Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 29, 2006
    Baystate is an hour from Boston...if you're driving 90-100 mph. Springfield is a good 90 miles from Boston. It's an easy drive, but I'd leave at least an hour and a half if I had to be anywhere on time ;)

    There are also nice towns commutable to Springfield - Amherst, North Hampton come to mind and if I remember correctly, a good number of people in the program live there.

    My opinion of Baystate is that it is a very strong community program. That is NOT meant as a back-handed compliment, but I think if you are interested in an academic career, it might not be as strong for you as other programs in the region. That said, the hospital overall is very well run, the ER is chaotic but gets great pathology (as previously stated), and everyone there has a great attitude (at least when I was there).
  6. trkd

    trkd 10+ Year Member

    Dec 23, 2002
    San Diego
    Sorry I haven't chimed in sooner but this is my first time back on SDN for some time. I guess I have just neglected my SDN chatting I used to do.

    I am a second year at Baystate. I flat out love the program. The faculty are wonderful. Patient population is diverse as ever and the volume is superhigh (~125K/year which I hear is the highest in the Northeast). The residency itself has a very chill and laidback attitude all around. Nothing but first name basis. The residents and faculty get along and hang out. For example, last month our asst PD had a pub crawl starting with dinner at his house. It was about 50/50 resident/faculty. A few weeks before that our PD had us all over for 4th of July/welcome interns pool party at his house. We seem to get along with most of the other residents in the hospital and there is no real animosity with any service. We do 5 1/2 call months (MICU, trauma, 2 weeks of pedi floor, and cardiac ICU in 1st year, then SICU and PICU in 2nd year ) total throughout the 3 years. As far as call goes, all q4. Conference is completely protected regardless of your rotation. First month of residency is orientation with the aim of teaching the fundamentals and getting to know and bond with the other interns. Also during July there is a retreat where the attendings take over the ED and ALL residents head up to Maine for a couple days of fun by the lake. All paid for with food and the entire camp is ours. That sets the tone for how the residency is as a whole. The ED shifts are 9 hours with 1 hr overlap so you stop taking patients in the last 90 mins of your shift. 4 weeks of vacation. Usual benefits, blah, blah, blah.

    As mentioned above, Northampton is a super cool place to live with tons of restaurants, bars, etc. Very hip and ecclectic. There are other cool places to live such as West Hartford if you are looking for something bigger, Longmeadow and Agawam if you have a family. Tons of places depending on what you are looking for I guess. Springfield is not the most desirably place to live as mentioned before though. It makes for great pathology though. Personally, I just drive about 1/4 mile off I-91 to get to work and get right back on to leave Springfield. Most residents are married or "not single" but there are many who are single. Most are from the Northeast but probably a 1/3 are from other parts of the country (several from San Diego, a couple from the northwest, some from the mid-Atlantic and other places).

    Not sure what else to add. I really could not be happier. I am so glad to be at this program. I originally had just applied to this program because it was the size city I was looking for (medium) with a large & diverse population and somewhere close to other many other interesting cities I could check out on my days/weekends off. The PD and asst PD were the clenchers for me. They are awesome.

    The cons would be if you are interested in being in the inner city itself (NYC, Boston, Chicago). It is a medium sized city with lots of college town type things around (there are a bunch of colleges here, the biggest one being UMass and include a lot of liberal arts colleges like Smith and Amherst colleges) so lots of college students around too. I am not single so I don't really know how the dating scene is but certainly not as good as NYC I imagine. So that is something to consider if it matters to you I guess. Can't really think of more but I guess they are all dependant on what matters to you.

    Well I will try to answer if any questions come up. Good luck to everyone this upcoming interview season. Hope you find the program you are looking for!
  7. RxnMan

    RxnMan Who, me? A doctor? Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    This is a review sent to me by a SDN user who interviewed there and wishes to remain anonymous. I am posting it verbatim as a service for the SDN community.

    Baystate Medical Center (Springfield, MA)

    Pros: Very busy, urban ED. Springfield itself isn’t a cool place but most of the residents live in college towns ~20 mins away. Lots of resources at the hospital. Simulation lab was really nice. The attendings are very focused on resident wellness. Plus all the residents I met were the happier than anywhere else and were all thrilled about the program. Good salary for a place with low cost of living.

    Cons: The ED is cramped, which for some people is a turn-off. They are building a brand new building, of which the entire first floor will be a new 96-bed ED, but it won’t be done for another 2 years.

    Impression: I really liked this program. They are transitioning PDs right now (the old one is taking a higher position in the hospital, the new was has been associate PD for like 20 years), so I’d expect the transition to go smoothly.
  8. docB

    docB Chronically painful Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

    Sent to me by a user who wanted to remain anonymous.

  9. Braves123


    Sep 8, 2011

    gonna have to say that springfield is not nearly as close to boston as some people think it is, having driven it a few times in real life conditions, its closer to 2-2.5 hrs from getting in car to parking at destination An hour and a half pretty much assume your going 60-70 every moment of the trip.
  10. Deuce Doc

    Deuce Doc Communityist 5+ Year Member

    Oct 19, 2011

    .Residents: They have assembled a really great group of people. This was showcased in an unusual pre-interview get together. Instead of a dinner they rented out a room above a bar and picked up the tab for drinks. This was great from the standpoint of being able to mingle and really showcased what a warm, friendly residency they have. Also unusual was the presence of the PD and a couple of the faculty who were present but unobtrusive. They blended in so well with the residents that I really go the sense that it was just another typical evening out together. The interesting addition to recent classes is 2 residents from Saudi Arabia. The PD sees this as an option though. It helps with the ED staffing, but if he can't find applicants of high enough quality, he will let the spots go unfilled. .

    .Lifestyle/City: The PD took pains to emphasize that they are not in Boston, and it is definitely a bit of a drive, so don't plan on living there. The area itself seemed very cool though. The docs all seem to live in and around Northampton which is a college town with all the culture and fun that brings. The little bit of the town that I saw was a pretty vibrant downtown with lots of shops and bars and restaurants. Springfield itself, is not recommended by anyone I spoke to as a place to live, but a great place to put a trauma center. Shifts are 20, 19, 18 nine hour shifts per block and pay is quite good 53-58K (commensurate with a high-ish cost of living in Northampton)..
    Curriculum: Peds experience is linear and with additional dedicated Peds ED and PICU time. Ultrasound is available as a fellowship with one specialist and one fellow in the dept. I believe that conference time is not protected on some of the off service rotations. The residents were adamant about the great degree to which the PD would go to bat for them over any issues on or off-service. Quizzes are optional. I don't think that this is the sort of place where you have a strict structure that you are forced to comply with. Self-directed study will be required.

    Facilities: They have a brand new ED underway which should be up and running by the fall of 2012. It will have an Obs unit (with no resident role), and full time PEDS/EM staffing for their department. Volume is 114K and is projected to increase by 10% with the new ED. The acuity is very high as well--PAs staff the fast track which increases the admission rate from 25% generally to 50% of cases seen by residents (a stat that's tough to discern most places). They also provide manpower to decrease nightshifts for residents! Fellowship training is also available in Sports, Research, Wilderness (brand new), and international. Particularly cool about these opportunities, is that the Baystate residents get first crack at all of them. The residents are involved in teaching to whatever degree they want, but there are many opportunities with med studs. .
    Interview Day: The interviews went incredibly smoothly and were very comfortable. The PD clearly places a high premium on resident wellness and seems to be well liked by the residents as a consequence. All of the other faculty was equally friendly and comfortable in their interviews..

    . Summary: I was completely in love with this place and the people. For me, the East Coast location is probably the only thing I'm not excited about, but the specific region in Western MA seems great..
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  11. asokabarr


    Sep 9, 2011
    Do you know what scores they are looking for in this program for steps? How competitive is this program. Im really interested and would love to match here.
  12. BoardingDoc

    BoardingDoc Don't worry. I've got my towel. 7+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2010
    You have 6 posts total, and all of them were made today bashing Baystate. I have no idea if you're right or not as I don't know anything about this program, but you seem a bit more like a jilted lover than an impartial reviewer here.
  13. vg2014

    vg2014 Probationary Status

    Sep 17, 2016
    Well, I spend three years there and whatever I have said is based on my direct experience and data collection during my time at this place. From a balanced perspective, I would sum it as up as follows, this used to be a well managed place probably but currently has too many issues which impact resident experience and residency education negatively.
  14. gutonc

    gutonc No Meat, No Treat SDN Administrator 10+ Year Member

    But there's no way you spent 3 years there in all the different specialties that you've posted in.

    We get mad bro. So mad that you have to necrobump the same crap all over the place.

    Just stop. You're embarrassing yourself and make us think the program(s) really isn't all that bad.
    wook, AlgernonMed and BoardingDoc like this.
  15. BoardingDoc

    BoardingDoc Don't worry. I've got my towel. 7+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2010
    I was able to find a source talking about an anesthesiologist who faked data in his trials 7 years ago. Nothing else popped up for me. I couldn't find anything related to the two other topics you mention. Do you have any sources to back up your claims?
  16. madog1881718

    madog1881718 2+ Year Member

    Nov 1, 2012
    Can anyone comment about the moonlighting situation?
  17. tkim

    tkim 10 cc's cordrazine 10+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2002
    New England
    So close to graduation ...
  18. togaedere

    togaedere 5+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2010
    Detroit, MI
    Not an EM resident at Baystate, but med-peds, and just wanted to give a bit of a different take on Springfield. I live here in the city, not far from the hospital, one block or so from downtown. Absolutely, Springfield is economically depressed. The fun stuff you do have to search a bit for, but there are restaurants and bars (even within the city limits) and basically anything you wanted in the area. I live here because I think it's weird not to live where you work, and cities aren't going to turn around if no one invests in them. For those of you into this stuff, there's a whole entertainment complex being built downtown - centers on a casino but I'm told the shopping and entertainment stuff you can do without setting foot in the actual casino. I'm iffy at best about casinos but i got a sense of the whole plans and it looks like it'll bring a movie theater, shopping, more restaurants to that area.

    Never felt unsafe here, but I did go to med school in Detroit (another place that i found completely different than advertised). Walk my dog at night, ride my bike to work, etc.

    Anyway, like I said before I can't speak to the EM training but I came for the culture of the place, which I've really enjoyed. Haven't seen "poor staff morale" but definitely it's not going to be all roses at a busy hospital. Not trying to make up anyone's mind but just figured I would chime in with my perspective. Good luck everyone with the match process!

    AlgernonMed likes this.
  19. tkim

    tkim 10 cc's cordrazine 10+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2002
    New England
    Your post says more about you than it does about Baystate. Fer shizzle.
    wook and EMincognito like this.
  20. EMincognito


    Nov 30, 2016
    Just wanted to add another n to balance out what appears to be a singular attack on Baystate by one disgruntled person (who wasn't even EM). I did an away rotation in Baystate's ED and had a fantastic experience. The residents were happy and seemed to have an amazing quality of life, the attendings were eager to teach, and the PD was such a kind, warm, and genuine person (I'd put him in my top 3 favorite PD's I met on the interview trail). The APDs were also lovely people, and I thought the didactics/conferences were particularly strong.

    The patient population was a lot more diverse than I was expecting, and more sick than my other away rotation at an inner-city safety net hospital. For example, I could generally manage 4 patients simultaneously at the other hospital, but felt stretched managing 2-3 patients at Baystate just because they were in general more acutely ill. The chair was very accessible -- he encouraged med students to meet with him one-on-one -- and very enthusiastic about supporting the department within the hospital. The new ED is beautiful, and I enjoyed working with the nursing staff.

    Compared to other programs I interviewed at, Baystate seemed one of the most humane and family-friendly, but with the numbers/pathology to make the time spent in the ED a high-yield learning experience. I've ranked it pretty high on my list, and would be excited to match here.

    For me, a month working in the ED tells me much more about what my life as a Baystate EM resident would be like than a bunch of articles about dialysis infections, a psych resident who drank too much at a party, and an unethical anesthesiologist.
  21. pedstar09

    pedstar09 2+ Year Member

    Aug 8, 2015
    An intern (non ED) here at Baystate. Work culture is wonderful and it can always be better. The nurses are awesome, they actually lookout for interns who look lost (like me..). The ancillary staff is very helpful. The problems you describe for moonlighting, aren't they going to be universal for ANY emergency room?

    The things that we get to see, the things that we get to do are very unique. The educational opportunities are out there for you as a resident- you have to grab it! While I agree that the population is not the best of the lot, but isn't that why you became a doctor? To help those who cannot advocate for themselves? I have learned about so many social constraints and determinants of health as compared to other interns at other institutions. Isn't that making this whole residency experience more humane?

    While I get it that you may not have had the best experience at Baystate, please do not ruin it for others. I live in the area (but not in Springfield itself). We hang out with co-interns almost every week at various restaurants in the area and my family feels totally safe in the place we live in. So, even if this may be the armpit of the state, we have found our comfort zone.

    Everyone is welcome to Baystate! Good luck with the match!
    AlgernonMed likes this.
  22. wook

    wook Just a hairy situation 10+ Year Member

    Interesting discussion.

    I have lived and worked in the area for over 15 years and just moved back. Originally, I worked in a different career and can tell you that the western Massachusetts is not a "depressed" area. I was surprised to see someone post that. There are several big projects going in the area, including in Springfield. I moved back to the area because of the excellent opportunity and the great reputation Baystate has.

    I can tell you that our Emergency Medicine residents get excellent training and a great experiential opportunity. As far as the negative poster, not sure why a bad experience, but all the graduates of the program I know have been positive about their experience. They work in community and academic settings. I have worked with several of them in both, and they can hold their own in any Emergency Department in which I've worked.

    Baystate has many accolades to its name and is well ranked by several national organizations. There are some very talented medical professionals (e.g. physicians, nurses, physician assistants, respiratory therapists, etc), and it is recognized for this.

    As the negative poster stated, I would get all the accurate information that you can and make your decision based on that. If interested in Emergency Medicine, come see the program and ask questions.

    Feel free to PM if I can provide any information.


    Last edited: Feb 26, 2017

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