Aug 20, 2015
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Hi, new member here. I'm an M4 researching anesthesiology programs. My husband's doing IM at Northwestern, so I need to stay in Chicago. At least on paper, it seems like Northwestern is a pretty solid program.

I know a program director or chair change is supposed to be a red flag--there's a rumor that the current chair was fired by the hospital, and the interim chair is a radiologist?! Northwestern's website doesn't reflect any of this. I've also heard the program director is interviewing for chair spots elsewhere, and that the residency is on probation. Can anyone at NU shed some light on what's going on there? Should I steer clear?

Thanks.
 

guitarguy

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Medical center politics should have minimal impact on your choice. I don't have any inside information, but a change in department leadership is much more relevant to the faculty than the the residents. It's very common in academics for key faculty to be interviewing for higher positions at other institutions. This is normal and healthy. If the program director is being considered for a chair position elsewhere, it is testatment to Northwestsern for giving him or her the necessary resources to be successful.
 

Doctor4Life1769

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Medical center politics should have minimal impact on your choice. I don't have any inside information, but a change in department leadership is much more relevant to the faculty than the the residents. It's very common in academics for key faculty to be interviewing for higher positions at other institutions. This is normal and healthy. If the program director is being considered for a chair position elsewhere, it is testatment to Northwestsern for giving him or her the necessary resources to be successful.
Lol.
 
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Quixotic2501

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I don't know much about it, but I will say everything I heard about NW Anesthesiology on this board made me not accept their invite last year.
 

leaverus

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I don't think it should affect your decision especially if you MUST stay in Chicago. NW has always been a solid program and it would be a rare anesthesiologists who came out of there without adequate training. Of course, there are several other Chicago residencies to choose from and they all churn out good anesthesiologists with good job/ fellowship opportunities. the question is, which place would you be happiest for 3-4 years. so don't steer clear; apply, interview, and see how you like it.
 
Aug 20, 2015
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Thanks for your input. Given the history of Northwestern's program on this forum, I was hoping somebody in the program might volunteer details. I'm honestly not sure what to make of the dead silence from within, so I'm thinking of looking into Milwaukee as an option also.

My concern with trusting whether I like it come interview day is that it'd be pretty easy to hide a program's true nature by putting on a pretty show. From what I hear, Northwestern's good at that, promising the world with its posh hospital and education program, but failing to deliver. Getting opinions from here is like reading Yelp instead of trusting a restaurant's slick website, so go pefully someone inside will share what's really going on.

As for medical center politics, doesn't that all trickle down? With an abrupt chair dismissal, whether the change is for better or worse, I imagine the faculty are all unsettled. Unhappy attendings mean unhappy residents, no? And if the rumors are true, and the chair really was fired, what does it take to make the hospital do such a thing? Doesn't there have to be some horrible dysfunction within the department for the execs to take such drastic action?
 

ph8

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....My concern with trusting whether I like it come interview day is that it'd be pretty easy to hide a program's true nature by putting on a pretty show....
Yes, you are correct.

....As for medical center politics, doesn't that all trickle down? With an abrupt chair dismissal, whether the change is for better or worse, I imagine the faculty are all unsettled. Unhappy attendings mean unhappy residents, no?...
Yes, correct again. I've seen the trickle down effect first hand. Unhappy attendings can certainly make for unhappy residents.
 
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7

715415

Hi, new member here. I'm an M4 researching anesthesiology programs. My husband's doing IM at Northwestern, so I need to stay in Chicago. At least on paper, it seems like Northwestern is a pretty solid program.

I know a program director or chair change is supposed to be a red flag--there's a rumor that the current chair was fired by the hospital, and the interim chair is a radiologist?! Northwestern's website doesn't reflect any of this. I've also heard the program director is interviewing for chair spots elsewhere, and that the residency is on probation. Can anyone at NU shed some light on what's going on there? Should I steer clear?

Thanks.
I'm a CA3 at Northwestern and can answer the OP's questions.

1. NU recently changed the structure of the hospital, with the medical school, hospital, and physician group merging. When this happened, there was a change in the pay structure across all departments. As a result, all mid levels, including CRNAs had changes to their benefits, which resulted in CRNAs getting less than their market value, and a number of them leaving. In addition to increased clinical volume, this resulted in production stress on attendings, and a handful left at the same time (still an overall small percentage of the department, which is large). The department was slow to react, and that is why the chair stepped down/was fired. The "interim chair" is a radiologist, but the reason he was chosen is that he leads compensation for the hospital and he is in the best position to get funds to bring in CRNAs and put together a recruitment program. He is only leading the organizational/business part of the department, and will be replaced by an anesthesiologist after the staffing improves. The clinical aspect is being lead by the vice chair of the department, who is widely respected.

2. No rumors on PD leaving within the residency.

3. We are not on probation, but did have a review. ACGME asked us to rebalance rotations, mostly because we previously had too much OB call and required ICU months. They are currently working on major changes to the education program, which should be reflected by interview season.

As other non-NU posters have mentioned, my classmates and last years graduates have gotten some spots in the best fellowships in the country, and highly desired PP jobs. The clinical volume and complexity is still probably the highest in Chicago, and you would be hard pressed to find someone make a serious case that any other program in town provides better training or resources. Our hours and call responsibilities are around 50th %ile for programs in the city and across the country. I will be out of here next year, so I have no real reason to convince you to apply/interview here, but I would still apply and ask the tough questions come November about how things are going. Right now, it looks like there will be major improvements by that time. Sure would be a shame if you pulled your app and regretted it then. I also was looking for Chicago programs when I was an M4, and would definitely choose this program again 4 years later knowing what I know.

Yes, I am a first time poster. Don't really care about the trolls on this site, won't be responding. By the way, this is not like Yelp vs a restaurant's website. This site is like the discussion at the bottom of a news article. 50% trolls and 50% real, so take things with a grain of salt.
 
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lakersbaby

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May 31, 2006
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There are still just so many better programs out there without this drama. If you want to be in Chicago tho, theres no other place I'd want to be than Northwestern just given the volume/complexity of cases and the name.
 

pjl

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You have 0 reason not to spend a day of your time interviewing there. Ask questions if it smells funny, but they are a program that is in Chicago, and produces anesthesiologists.
I've not interacted with any I would call poorly trained. One was lazy, but that happens anywhere. They look back on training with the same opinion all of us do, that their program was the best, but they had it harder than most others. Not many from any program say they went to a crummy program that was super Cush.
 

ambiturner

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I remember there was a similar squabble about Mt Sinai being a workhorse program entangled in mergers and leadership changes last interview season. When I was applying to residency, Mt Sinai was the most popular program in NYC and considered the most fun, education friendly place to train. Funny enough, Northwestern was, while known to be hardworking, the most popular program in the midwest and considered great training and a fun place to be. Needless to say they both had great reputations before and still do and most people are not really privy to the internal politics.

I still think the moral of the story is that you should pick a program that historically trains good clinicians and has the name to give you an edge in the job/fellowship market. The leadership and politics may change, the hours/call can change in seconds (one of our home call rotations was changed to q3 in house on one administrator's unilateral whim), but that's all out of your control and difficult to predict 2 years in advance. When you're done the training, connections, and pedigree are the most important things you'll take with you (gray hairs notwithstanding).
 
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Aug 20, 2015
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Medical Student
The latest is that for sure the chair was demoted but not actually fired, so she's at least still around. Am I right in assuming that's actually a good thing, for transition?

Now the vice chair, a big name in the anesthesia world, is leaving for some other chair spot. The education director has supposedly also stepped down (not sure why), and rumors continue about the residency director looking at other chair positions. I guess there's no harm in checking out the vibe come interview day, but with so much change in the leadership, doesn't this sound like a sinking ship?

Thanks everyone for all the input. With all the internal resident response on the previous Northwestern discussions, it's suspicious to me that only one person from the inside has posted anything here....
 

2win

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Apr 25, 2008
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Hi, new member here. I'm an M4 researching anesthesiology programs. My husband's doing IM at Northwestern, so I need to stay in Chicago. At least on paper, it seems like Northwestern is a pretty solid program.

I know a program director or chair change is supposed to be a red flag--there's a rumor that the current chair was fired by the hospital, and the interim chair is a radiologist?! Northwestern's website doesn't reflect any of this. I've also heard the program director is interviewing for chair spots elsewhere, and that the residency is on probation. Can anyone at NU shed some light on what's going on there? Should I steer clear?

Thanks.
Get ANY program in Chicago!
NW sounds good but the programs sucks - however doesn't matter, get the paper and make some $$$, enjoy life with the husband.
The NW attendings, except few of them are overwhelmed with the name ...NW....but they aren't happy
Well - more than you asked, again - family first, get a position ANYWHERE in C.
2win
 

IlDestriero

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Malignant program and unhappy faculty, sounds like a great place to spend 3-4 years.
 
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