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Northwestern vs UW

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by pinkladies, Feb 12, 2012.

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  1. pinkladies

    pinkladies 2+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2012
    I would love some help in figuring out which program to rank #1. Below is a list of pros/cons for each. I had the best feeling overall at Northwestern but I also really liked UW and my husband and I would love to live in the NW.

    Career-wise, I am not exactly sure what I'll end up doing. I want to get fantastic psychotherapy training and will most likely end up in a private practice... I don't love research but have a couple of papers and would maybe continue some smaller projects and would enjoy teaching residents so I may be happy in academics too...


    - Best gut feeling
    - Starting half-way through second year, two days per week are dedicated towards outpatient
    - No call after winter of PGY-3
    - Love that all the residents do medicine/neuro in the first 6 months and start Psychiatry together in January.
    - Very tight-knit group of residents
    - Love the program director, very dedicated
    - Almost a full day of didactics per week
    - Great connection via the airport, with drivable distance to my husband's family and shorter flight to mine
    - Slighly better job opportunities for my husband
    - Really like Chicago
    - Close to Milkaukee (like the city plus have some friends here)
    - Better public transportation – would likely only need one car instead of two
    - Beautiful hospitals, very close to each other
    - Strong psychotherapy
    - Moonlighting options

    - Though the best of the Chicago programs, has a history of being not as well regarded compared to other programs in the country though this is now very much changing
    - Somewhat worse traffic
    - Weaker CL program (though a new director of the program is changing this)
    - Smaller less known psych department (though many new faculty were hired last year and the dept chair is very invested in making the program the best it can be)
    - Not much time in county hospital


    - Really liked the program
    - Very well regarded program, known to produce fantastic psychiatrists
    - Fantastic program director who I completely trust would help me get whatever I needed from the program
    - Lots of great electives, with pretty strong training in psychotherapy
    - Love Seattle
    - Love the geography of the surrounding area (mountains, water, temperate rainforest) and opportunities for hiking, canoeing etc
    - Have a couple friends in the area
    - Larger class so more friends, diverse interests

    - More intense schedule throughout the residency with 22 weekend shifts (10-14 hrs each) with comb of solo/training call in PGY-3 with 4 weeks of backup call. 12 shifts plus 4 weeks of backup call in PGY-4.
    - Hospitals more spread out throughout the city, more driving
    - Worse weather (would prefer snow to rain)
    - Would need two cars, more driving involved with expensive parking
    - Further from family and other friends
    - Less $ available for conferences
    - Not much moonlighting
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
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  3. splik

    splik Professional Cat at Large 7+ Year Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    I would say go with your gut. Northwestern is a much smaller program of course, but I think it is well known and whilst it doesn't have the C-L opportunities that UW does, nowhere does. Northwestern is actually quite strong in C-L and neuropsychiatry, it would be unfair to rcompare it to UW in this regard as no program in the country can compare.

    Northwestern is really an excellent choice if you are looking to go into private practice, the PD is well regarded, it is a bit more cush.

    IIRC there are no moonlighting opportunities at UW (no inhouse moonlighting) and residents seemed to be under the impression it wasn't really allowed. However I interviewed with someone who said residents do disability evaluations or fly to spokane for the weekend to moonlight and make good money.

    It is hard to imagine you would be equally happy at both - one is a small cosy cushy program with a biological exterior and a softer psychodynamic center, whilst the other is a large workhorse program with a biological exterior and a crunchier alphabet soup psychotherapy center.
  4. BobA

    BobA Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 23, 2004
    The rumor is that the residents at UW are spread out over several hospitals which might limit the amount of camaraderie you cited as a plus.

    Personally, I'd prefer to live in the NW because there are more outdoor opportunities.
  5. NoNoNoNo


    Sep 13, 2011
    It sounds to me like you're leaning toward Northwestern and unless there's a very specific reason you want to be at UW (example: rural primary care psychiatry), you might already know the answer. Good luck!

    p.s. I interviewed at both and agree with your pros and cons for each, except maybe the weather.
  6. pinkladies

    pinkladies 2+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2012
    Thanks for the responses so far! :)

    No, there's really no specific program-related reason for wanting to be at UW other than really loving the area and I know that the training is done extremely well... We may want to end up there in the long term so this feels like a great opportunity to figure out if that's true...otherwise it seems risky to move there post-residency after my husband and I both find a job there because we don't really know 100% that we'd love it after a couple of years... So I'm thinking of that plus the fact that UW is a great hospital system, the program is incredibly strong, the PD is fantastic and I completely trust that I can get what I need from the training, including great psychotherapy training. I know I would probably be busier and work harder at UW than Northwestern but I'd be better for it I think, and maybe living in Seattle would be worth it?
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
  7. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California SDN Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    You are going to get to be a good psychiatrist through working and training hard. There's a limit, at which point it becomes malignant exploitation, but that's not the case at UW. None of the top programs are easy slogs, because they wouldn't be producing top psychiatrists if they were.

    Seattle's an acquired taste, but so is Chicago. Both are great psych programs. Go with your gut.
  8. pinkladies

    pinkladies 2+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2012
    Good thoughts...

    Anyone else?!
  9. pinkladies

    pinkladies 2+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2012
    Ahhhhhhhhh I guess there is not much more to add?
  10. Leo Aquarius

    Leo Aquarius Anxiety.org Schizophrenia.com DepressionHealth.net 5+ Year Member

    Dec 16, 2011
    Well then there's the issue about the leprechauns living under the floors. You don't know about those? The purple ones lurk at night in the UW wards, and the green ones at NW. But they are nice from what I hear. Anything else people want to add?
  11. pinkladies

    pinkladies 2+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2012
    I am worried about Northwestern's reputation :(
  12. billypilgrim37

    billypilgrim37 Unstuck in Time 7+ Year Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    That's just silly. Really. Both programs are good enough that you could be one of the best medical students in the country going into psychiatry and still reasonably (though maybe surprisingly) pick them. Both names look good enough on a resume that you will be instantly labelled as "good enough" for anything you want to do in the future.
  13. heyjack70

    heyjack70 Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 24, 2005
    It's always nice to have some established friends in a city you're moving to.
  14. splik

    splik Professional Cat at Large 7+ Year Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    What are you talking about? they have a great reputation even if it is a smaller department.
  15. pinkladies

    pinkladies 2+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2012
    Thanks guys.

    My mentors just seemed very surprised and didn't have much to say about the program there after I had told them I loved it, which was a bit disconcerting. I think in the past, the recommendation had been to stay away from the Chicago programs in general. Northwestern seems to have been on the rise for the past few years and is still very much growing.
  16. NoNoNoNo


    Sep 13, 2011
    I don't think it's necessarily overwhelmingly silly or ridiculous to think that (depending on where you're coming from, who your mentors are, etc.), but here is what I can say...

    I interviewed at a LOT of places all over the country and no where else (even places like Mt. Sinai that people always say it about) had the feeling that Northwestern did in terms of progress/development. Like, I really felt that the program and department are moving in a great direction and about to acquire an even better reputation than they have now. I can also say that I talked to some residents who were applying for fellowships while I was there and they definitely related that they were having no problems being strongly recruited.
  17. Shufflin

    Shufflin 2+ Year Member

    Jul 20, 2011
    Only a handful of departments at Northwestern are as supportive and dedicated to students and residents as our Psychiatry department. They have always impressed me and have provided outstanding mentorship all four years of my medical school training. You will be in solid hands here. I'm ranking a few programs above NW because I want to move out of state, but if I happen to match here I'd be very happy and set for anything. Our residents place really well across the country. One placed in the child fellowship at UCLA if I'm not mistaken, and others are equally as impressive. In the summertime, there's no better city than Chicago because the whole place comes to life. I don't like the winters here though. But many do. Overall we have an amazing program and probably the strongest in Illinois.
  18. custard

    custard 5+ Year Member

    Dec 28, 2006
    Northwestern is a fantastic place - I know a couple residents in various departments, including one in psych who are very happy there!
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012

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