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May 25, 2002
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Hello! Does anyone have any more advice on interviews? Any strange questions you were asked? Any typical (besides why PMR and why us?) questions? Any reading you recommend before going on the interview trail?

I'd like to start a thread for all the interviews us 4th years have gotten so far.

1. UMich
2. UPitt
3. Mercy @ Pitt
4. UVa
5. East Carolina
6. U Cinn
7. CWRU-Metro Health
8. TJ
9. SUNY Syracuse
10. URoch
11. UNC-Chapel Hill

Stinky T

Try to schedule interviews at your top choices after you've had a couple of practice interviews at other programs (much lower on your list). I was asked a few medical questions at UC Davis, but they were pretty straight forward. I can't remember if it was at Tufts or BU, but one of the interviewers wanted to verify that my paper was indeed published. We spend about ten minutes going to a computer and looking it up. :rolleyes: I was asked questions about treatment options for spasticity by a TBI doc at Tufts. Something I noticed during interviews (not just for PM&R, but for TYs and Prelims too) was that the better programs had more laid back interviews. I was asked twice how I would define the field of PM&R. Once was by the residency director at RIC.

One of the regrets I had during the interview process is that I wish I would have spent more time just enjoying the different cities. I should of just skipped some interviews instead of trying to pack them all in. Interviews that I wish I would've skipped back then are: Tufts, BU, UCLA, UCI, and Mt. Sinai. On the other hand, I wish I had gone to my Mayo interview (one of the worst winters in MN that year) and had spent more time in Chicago.

For those of you who don't know, at Baylor, they will save a spot for you in the TY program if you let them know beforehand. You have a short interview with one of the PM&R attendings who is also involved in the selection process in the TY program.

I don't know that I'd really do any additional reading. However, if you know you are interviewing with a TBI, SCI, Pain, or Sports docs beforehand, you can start thinking of questions you might want to ask them.

Well.....those are just some of the tidbits that I remember or thought about when I was interviewing back then.


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Nov 21, 1998
Over the rainbow
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I'd ask for specific information about what residents do after residency: Fellowships, private practice, academia? Does the program have a good alumni network to help residents find a job? Some places like RIC, Seattle, and Mayo have strong alumni networks and this makes a difference how easily residents find a job.

Ask about procedural training and EMGs: If a program can't commit to 250 quality EMGs and basic exposure to rudimentary injection techniques (or at least the opportunity to attend workshops and conferences to learn some of these techniques)---then move along...

Ask about didactics: They should be faculty-directed (with the exception of maybe a journal club or board-prep group that should have substantial involvement from upper-level residents).

Ask about board pass rates: Good programs, obviously, have high pass-rates...

Ask about electives: Rehab is the most interdisciplinary field in medicine. Therefore, good programs have excellent departmental relationships and residents have no problems doing electives in rehab-related specialties: Trauma, neurosurgery, rheumatology, sports medicine, orthopedic spine, anesthesia/pain management, occupational medicine, urology, neurology, etc.

Working environment/conditions: Are the residents over-worked? Are residents well-supervised or hung out to dry? Do residents have time to read, study, do small scale research projects?

Research infrastructure: Programs with good infrastructure attract intellectually curious individuals and top faculty.

Things to watch out for...
---residents having to scramble for EMGs and procedures. EMG trainig should include work with both neurologists and physiatrists.
---lack of structure or "cohesiveness" in a program. You should feel like you're interviewing at a program with a solid identity about what it is and where it is going...
---selective meetings with residents. The residents you will meet at specific programs are usually the politically-connected ones. If a program doesn't offer some sort of open catered "mixer" where any old resident can stop in and say "hi" they may be trying to hide something from you.
---malignant faculty. You'll know. It's a gut instinct.
---lack of pride. If residents seem like they're just going through the motions, this is a bad sign.
---lack of balance. Good programs basically have a training gradient from inpatient to outpatient as one progresses through PGY2-PGY4. Some programs have an inpatient senior rotation in PGY4 which is fine. At almost all programs, your PGY2 is inpatient oriented, but by PGY3 you should be getting into rehab specialty clinics (sports, spine, arthritis, pediatric, etc).

Good things to notice and appreciate:
---model systems for brain and spinal cord injury
---multidisciplinary specialty clinics in spine, sports, occ med, etc.
---diverse faculty. Good programs have at least one faculty in each "core area" of rehab: TBI, SCI, MSK/spine, sports, general/geriatric, occ med.
---moonlighting opportunities in rehab related areas in PGY3 and PGY4 years
---programs with leaders or who have trained leaders in the field: Do names like DeLisa, Frontera, Zafonte, Kraft, Herring, Stolov, etc ring any bells?
---Gait labs, flouroscopy suites, dedicated EMG facilities, etc.
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