Venus21pam

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I'm just wondering what kind of letters are prefered by anesthesia programs.

I'm a foreign grad and the only rotations I did in the States were anesthesia, therefore I only have LOR from anesthesiologists.

I'm currently working as an MA in a private practice and my boss (she's a rheumatologist) is very eager to write me a letter but I'm not sure if it would be of any value since what I'm doing now is not really considered "clinical experience". Should I still have her write the letter and submit it as one of my LORs?

And is there a problem if all my letters are from one specialty? Considering they would be sent to internship programs as well...

Thanks in advance for the input.
 
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Venus21pam

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Thanks. It's good advice.
The only problem is that I have no clue what's in each letter as I waived my right to see ithem.
But I'm pretty sure that two of my aneshesia letters will be very strong.
One of them is from a professor which is know in the field (the residents told me his name will open doors for me) an the other one is from a Director of Anesth. Dept. at a major New England Hospital.
Other than that I have a letter from an attending who was very impressed with my performance and the one from my employer.
Regarding the last one I asked the employer to highlight my other attributes such as aptitude, reliability, good patient relations, etc.
But I'm still not sure if I can use three aneshesia letters when applying to anesthesiology or should I throw in the one from my employer???
 

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Venus21pam

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Great, thanks.
I guess I will just submit 3 anesthesia letters to the anesthesia programs and use the one from my empolyer for internship.
 

foodcoma

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what is the latest you can add letters to your eras app? i'm doing an away rotation in nov and am wondering whether that will be too late to upload a LOR.
 

bubalus

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You want good letters from people who know you well. I would much rather see a strong letter from a person who knows you well than a generic letter from an anesthesia attending. I don't think you need more than 1 anesthesia letter.
 
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Venus21pam

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Well, the thing is my strong letters will come from Anesthesia people. I did two months of aneshesia and I also worked as a research assistant with anesthesia dept. for a while so that's why.
I was wondering if having letters from just one specialty could hurt me in any way.
 

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foodcoma said:
what is the latest you can add letters to your eras app? i'm doing an away rotation in nov and am wondering whether that will be too late to upload a LOR.

nov is late in the game for sure but the answer to your question is: anytime.
 

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VentdependenT said:
nov is late in the game for sure but the answer to your question is: anytime.
no my friend. never too late. i didn't even apply for anesthesia until novemeber. of course its ideal if you get them in earlier, but if you don't interview until february, you could potentially add LOR's up until then.

i had 1 letter from anesthesiology, 1 from surgery, 1 from OB-GYN, and 1 from peds. The non-anesthesia letters were much more personable and these types of letters while not from your chosen specialty can be very helpful in giving insight as to what kind of person you are.
 

foodcoma

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I got this anesthesia PD LOR that i was waiting on...listen to this:

I know this PD for SEVEN months, b/c i do research with him, and meet with him AT LEAST every week for the past 7 months. ON my LOR he wrote that "I've known this student during her 2 week clerkship in the Operating room as part of her MS3 rotations, and as she helped prepare a research proposal".

WHAT THE FUUUCCC?? he makes it seem like he doesn't know me AT ALL! THIS WAS THE ANESTHESIA letter I was counting on!!! I LITERALLY wrote that research proposal word for word by myself with no one to help me!! the LOR has already been submitted to ERAS, now what? I'm doing a 4 week sub I with him in sept, can i ask for another LOR then, and just apply without a letter from anesthesia in the interim? or should i at least apply with what i've got?!

what a crap situation. i hate PDs.
 

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foodcoma said:
I got this anesthesia PD LOR that i was waiting on...listen to this:

I know this PD for SEVEN months, b/c i do research with him, and meet with him AT LEAST every week for the past 7 months. ON my LOR he wrote that "I've known this student during her 2 week clerkship in the Operating room as part of her MS3 rotations, and as she helped prepare a research proposal".

WHAT THE FUUUCCC?? he makes it seem like he doesn't know me AT ALL! THIS WAS THE ANESTHESIA letter I was counting on!!! I LITERALLY wrote that research proposal word for word by myself with no one to help me!! the LOR has already been submitted to ERAS, now what? I'm doing a 4 week sub I with him in sept, can i ask for another LOR then, and just apply without a letter from anesthesia in the interim? or should i at least apply with what i've got?!

what a crap situation. i hate PDs.

Ahhh, you poor thing, I can feel your pain. Something similar like that happened to me too.

Anyways, I actually had zero letters of recommendations from anesthesia and I interviewed at all the top notch programs in the country. The key is a strong personal statement and good LOR's, even if they're non-anesthesia.

If I were you, I'd plan on doing a sub-I with someone else. Let someone else have a fresh look at you and write you a strong LOR since you'll be working like a dog and kicking arse in the sub-I. This guy doesn't deserve you.



P.S. was the rest of the letter strong, or just as ho-hum as the opening?
 

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TIVA said:
Ahhh, you poor thing, I can feel your pain. Something similar like that happened to me too.

Anyways, I actually had zero letters of recommendations from anesthesia and I interviewed at all the top notch programs in the country. The key is a strong personal statement and good LOR's, even if they're non-anesthesia.

If I were you, I'd plan on doing a sub-I with someone else. Let someone else have a fresh look at you and write you a strong LOR since you'll be working like a dog and kicking arse in the sub-I. This guy doesn't deserve you.



P.S. was the rest of the letter strong, or just as ho-hum as the opening?

THanks TIVA for the boost. I really needed someone to empathize with me. The rest of the letter was OK, nothing spectacular. whatever. still sucks because the underlying problem is that he seems like we just met.

so like i said, i'm doing my sub I at my home university's hospital. I'll work with everyone else, but no one else carries the name PD, so i feel a letter from anyone else wouldn't be worth it. I would schedule that sub I at a different location, but i need to finalize that research project with him, otherwise I'd drop him like a bad habit.

oct/nov and nov/dec i have other gas sub -i'S scheduled at more prestigious places...i've been asking this around before, but do you think that would be too late to get a letter for ERAS? i was toying with the idea of scheduling these other sub Is in the place of my home hospital...its just this research thing holding me back.

any suggestions.?
 

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Foodcoma,

I need to ask you some tough questions:

How critical are you to the research project? If you were to not show up, would the key people in the project care? Would someone be able to pick up the slack with little or no difficulty? Or, would the project come to a standstill?

If you are a key part of the project, then you should stay for a few reasons: (1) hardworking people finish what they start, (2) you might get published which'll be a feather in your cap, and (3) you'll have fodder for discussion during the interview trail, and program directors can tell if somebody is a key part of the project or just riding other people's coattails.

If you are not a key part of the project, then thank your program director for the research experience, wish him well, and plan on doing sub-I's with other people. I'm not a progam director, but if I was, I would much rather see strong LOR from whomever vs. run of the mill letters from another program director ... cuz then I'd be wondering, why would the applicant's own in house program director be so lukewarm to their own student? Something must be wrong with the student.

Also, judging from your tone, I take it that you're not too excited about the research project. In the future, don't partake in research that you're not enthusiastic about, cuz it'll show in the quality of your work and when you're discussing it with others ... unless of course you're getting paid for it, in which case, it doesn't matter if you like it or not.

My advice, pending how you feel about the research project and how critical you are to it, would be to do sub-I's with someone else ... and the earlier the better, so that you can use their references for the application process. Me personally, I submitted my application around Thanksgiving, but I wouldn't recommend waiting anywhere that long. It's possible luck may have been on my side. And I ended up calling a lot of places and asking for the interview. (I'd say I got 50% of my 16 interviews by calling them up and asking them for it.).
 

foodcoma

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TIVA said:
Foodcoma,

I need to ask you some tough questions:

How critical are you to the research project? If you were to not show up, would the key people in the project care? Would someone be able to pick up the slack with little or no difficulty? Or, would the project come to a standstill?

If you are a key part of the project, then you should stay for a few reasons: (1) hardworking people finish what they start, (2) you might get published which'll be a feather in your cap, and (3) you'll have fodder for discussion during the interview trail, and program directors can tell if somebody is a key part of the project or just riding other people's coattails.

If you are not a key part of the project, then thank your program director for the research experience, wish him well, and plan on doing sub-I's with other people. I'm not a progam director, but if I was, I would much rather see strong LOR from whomever vs. run of the mill letters from another program director ... cuz then I'd be wondering, why would the applicant's own in house program director be so lukewarm to their own student? Something must be wrong with the student.

Also, judging from your tone, I take it that you're not too excited about the research project. In the future, don't partake in research that you're not enthusiastic about, cuz it'll show in the quality of your work and when you're discussing it with others ... unless of course you're getting paid for it, in which case, it doesn't matter if you like it or not.

My advice, pending how you feel about the research project and how critical you are to it, would be to do sub-I's with someone else ... and the earlier the better, so that you can use their references for the application process. Me personally, I submitted my application around Thanksgiving, but I wouldn't recommend waiting anywhere that long. It's possible luck may have been on my side. And I ended up calling a lot of places and asking for the interview. (I'd say I got 50% of my 16 interviews by calling them up and asking them for it.).
1. regarding the research: i came up with the topic on my own, wrote the proposal, got departmental approval, took it to the IRB and presented it myself (with the PD standing next to me/to validate a lil ole med student!), an d am doing EVERYTHING MYSELF to get it underway. the residents on the project and the other attendings don't care enuf about it to make it happen. but i'm so mad and burned by my home hospital, that i'd rather match/get a good LOR than stay back for a project no one else in the dept cares to see happen. plus, i'll be in my home hospital for the rest of the year = ample time for me to go during my nonstressful 4th yr and complete it.

2. I LOVE your advice about doing my sub-I somewhere else. I was driving myself crazy with what to do, and now i've solidified it. I knwo you applied late and you must have been an awesome candidate to get such great interviews so late in the game, but i may not prove to be so lucky. I have a great package, and i just want to have great LORs to support me even further. Having a dinky research project that wouldn't even be finished in time for interview season is not gonna push me over the edge in terms of competitiveness.

3. lesson learned: no one is gonna support you. you have to make it happen. after all the time and energy i put into my anesthesia home dept, they should AT LEAST help me out/support my endeavors. I wouldn't want to stick to a place that at the very least cannot offer that to its own students and residents.

4. by the way, i'm interested in how you were able to call up programs and CONVINCE THEM they should give you an interview. I think that's just a fantastic trait, and i wish i had that in me. how exactly did you do it, if you don't mind me asking. what did you say? i feel i may need this advice as i apply and don't get my interviews...

thanks for the advice and the vested interest in my case.
 

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What is the best way to ask if you can read the LOR? I feel like I trust the writter however, is there a diplomatic way to ask before its uploaded to read it or do you have to wait until its been submitted to ERAS?

There are so many layers to applying htat I never thought of until now - AHHH its so stressful!
 

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foodcoma said:
1. regarding the research: i came up with the topic on my own, wrote the proposal, got departmental approval, took it to the IRB and presented it myself (with the PD standing next to me/to validate a lil ole med student!), an d am doing EVERYTHING MYSELF to get it underway. the residents on the project and the other attendings don't care enuf about it to make it happen. but i'm so mad and burned by my home hospital, that i'd rather match/get a good LOR than stay back for a project no one else in the dept cares to see happen. plus, i'll be in my home hospital for the rest of the year = ample time for me to go during my nonstressful 4th yr and complete it.

2. Having a dinky research project that wouldn't even be finished in time for interview season is not gonna push me over the edge in terms of competitiveness.



Okay, so you're pretty much the one who spearheaded this project ... which means, if you want to, you can put it on hold until after your sub-I's (or at least that's the impression I get), which is fine. Do the sub-I's first, get the LOR's, you can return to your project later.



4. by the way, i'm interested in how you were able to call up programs and CONVINCE THEM they should give you an interview. .... how exactly did you do it, if you don't mind me asking. what did you say? i feel i may need this advice as i apply and don't get my interviews...


Basically, one thing that I learned about the ERAS system is that it although overall it's a good system, it does have some cracks in it. Believe it or not, but there were a significant number of programs that did not get my application in whole. Some got my LOR but no test scores, some got test scores but no essay, some got the essay but no application, etc. I would basically e-mail the program director (you can get their e-mail address from FREIDA) and say, "Hi, I am so-and-so. I'm really keen on going to your program. I just wanted to confirm that my application reached you in full." Usually, they'll forward the e-mail to their secretary who then sends you an e-mail saying yes, they did or no, they did not receive your application in full. For those programs where the application has not been received fully through the ERAS system for whatever reason, I would fax them hard copies of my resume, LOR, test scores, essay, etc with a cover letter telling them I'd love to visit their department.

(This step is very important, because there were times that the program directors would actually apologize to me for not having interviewed me sooner and they couldn't understand why they didn't have all of my application materials.)

For those programs that did receive the application in full (and haven't responded yet either yay or nay to an interview), I would call up the program secretary and say, "Hi, I am so and so. I am really keen on visiting your department. I've heard it's a great program. I was wondering if I could come for an interview." Usually they would say no, that they were still wading through the applications and that I would be notified in due course. But sometimes they would say, "we have an opening on so and so date, would you like to come then." The key is to be nice and pleasant to the program secretary, cuz even if she says no, she's the one responsible for scheduling interviews, so she can slot you in if there's an opening, AND she can draw the PD's attention to your application.

For those programs that would say no to an interview date over the phone, after a week or so, I would e-mail the program director and re-iterate my request (confidently and pleasantly).

That's how I secured half of my interviews.

And regarding LOR's. I never waive my right to see them. These are documents that are going to have a significant impact on my career. And thus, I want to know what is in them. When I applied, I never waived this right. I always knew what was being said, and thus I could pick and choose from all my letters and decide which one went where and which one went nowhere. I wish I had done this when I was applying to medical school cuz I had a bitch of a time trying to get into med school. So this one time, I decided to ask the premed office to mail my LOR's to a fake program with my home address ... I got the LOR's at my home ... I read them ... I could not believe how incredibly mediocre, lukewarm, and just plain crap some of them were.

And regarding LOR's that have been waived vs. those that haven't, I don't think my LOR's were viewed any less favorably because I did not veto my choice to see them.

I hope this helps.
 

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TIVA said:
foodcoma said:
1. regarding the research: i came up with the topic on my own, wrote the proposal, got departmental approval, took it to the IRB and presented it myself (with the PD standing next to me/to validate a lil ole med student!), an d am doing EVERYTHING MYSELF to get it underway. the residents on the project and the other attendings don't care enuf about it to make it happen. but i'm so mad and burned by my home hospital, that i'd rather match/get a good LOR than stay back for a project no one else in the dept cares to see happen. plus, i'll be in my home hospital for the rest of the year = ample time for me to go during my nonstressful 4th yr and complete it.

2. Having a dinky research project that wouldn't even be finished in time for interview season is not gonna push me over the edge in terms of competitiveness.



Okay, so you're pretty much the one who spearheaded this project ... which means, if you want to, you can put it on hold until after your sub-I's (or at least that's the impression I get), which is fine. Do the sub-I's first, get the LOR's, you can return to your project later.



4. by the way, i'm interested in how you were able to call up programs and CONVINCE THEM they should give you an interview. .... how exactly did you do it, if you don't mind me asking. what did you say? i feel i may need this advice as i apply and don't get my interviews...


Basically, one thing that I learned about the ERAS system is that it although overall it's a good system, it does have some cracks in it. Believe it or not, but there were a significant number of programs that did not get my application in whole. Some got my LOR but no test scores, some got test scores but no essay, some got the essay but no application, etc. I would basically e-mail the program director (you can get their e-mail address from FREIDA) and say, "Hi, I am so-and-so. I'm really keen on going to your program. I just wanted to confirm that my application reached you in full." Usually, they'll forward the e-mail to their secretary who then sends you an e-mail saying yes, they did or no, they did not receive your application in full. For those programs where the application has not been received fully through the ERAS system for whatever reason, I would fax them hard copies of my resume, LOR, test scores, essay, etc with a cover letter telling them I'd love to visit their department.

(This step is very important, because there were times that the program directors would actually apologize to me for not having interviewed me sooner and they couldn't understand why they didn't have all of my application materials.)

For those programs that did receive the application in full (and haven't responded yet either yay or nay to an interview), I would call up the program secretary and say, "Hi, I am so and so. I am really keen on visiting your department. I've heard it's a great program. I was wondering if I could come for an interview." Usually they would say no, that they were still wading through the applications and that I would be notified in due course. But sometimes they would say, "we have an opening on so and so date, would you like to come then." The key is to be nice and pleasant to the program secretary, cuz even if she says no, she's the one responsible for scheduling interviews, so she can slot you in if there's an opening, AND she can draw the PD's attention to your application.

For those programs that would say no to an interview date over the phone, after a week or so, I would e-mail the program director and re-iterate my request (confidently and pleasantly).

That's how I secured half of my interviews.

And regarding LOR's. I never waive my right to see them. These are documents that are going to have a significant impact on my career. And thus, I want to know what is in them. When I applied, I never waived this right. I always knew what was being said, and thus I could pick and choose from all my letters and decide which one went where and which one went nowhere. I wish I had done this when I was applying to medical school cuz I had a bitch of a time trying to get into med school. So this one time, I decided to ask the premed office to mail my LOR's to a fake program with my home address ... I got the LOR's at my home ... I read them ... I could not believe how incredibly mediocre, lukewarm, and just plain crap some of them were.

And regarding LOR's that have been waived vs. those that haven't, I don't think my LOR's were viewed any less favorably because I did not veto my choice to see them.

I hope this helps.
Excellent post. Helped me alot too. where are you training? ;)
 

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That's pretty sneaky TIVA. :) I don't know how you got those letters sent to your house. It just seems like most med schools would know better. Hehe

So were you actually able to screen the letters before you actually submitted them to ERAS? That's a pretty ingenious idea actually.

Peace,
John
 

TIVA

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rufio173 said:
That's pretty sneaky TIVA. :) I don't know how you got those letters sent to your house. It just seems like most med schools would know better. Hehe

So were you actually able to screen the letters before you actually submitted them to ERAS? That's a pretty ingenious idea actually.

Peace,
John


Well, it was my LOR to medical school which I waived my right to see. It was these letters that I had the premed advisory office mail to my house.

But the LOR's I used when I was applying for residency, I actually saw them before I submitted them to ERAS. That's because I did not waive my right to see them. All in all, I don't think a LOR that has been seen by the applicant is any less weighty than a LOR that has been waived off on by the applicant.
 
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