mpat78

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hi there,

I will be a senior this summer and was planning on doing an externship in surgery but having a tough time targeting a particular institution. Anyone done an externship and have suggestions, please let me know. Thanks
 

Yah-E

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MPat:

Alright, here are couple of things that I looked for or considered when I looked into OMFS externships:

1) decide how long you would like to stay at an externship? 2-weeks (minimum, highly recommended), 3-weeks or one-month. 1-week externships are available, but I wouldn't recommended if this is your first OMFS externship. If it was your 5th one, then yeah, do a "1-week"er. After talking to many OMFS residency directors, one-month externships are recommended with 2 weeks minimum.

2) location, location and location! Decide where you would like to spend that 2 weeks, 3 weeks or even a month. Don't know about you, but for me, my goal for my OMFS externship is to:

a) determine if, in fact, OMFS is absolutely what I want to do
b) check out the clinical exposure of that specific OMFS residency
c) make a positive impression to OMFS residents and faculty
d) to learn and have fun in a fast-paced clinical setting

With that said, select a location or a specific residency that you would like to make a positive impression at and in return can see yourself applying to for your actual PASS application.

3) A place where you can stay! Out of all the OMFS externships that I had considered applying to, I made sure that I had a place to stay for back up (in case the externship does not take care of your place of stay during the length of your externship). Luckily, at LSU, they had FREE stay for me in the on-call room at the hospital. You may want to use this opportunity to visit your family and/or friends across the country by staying with them during the length of your externship.

4) Prestige or name. To have a month-long OMFS externship at Harvard MGH may look very impressive on your CV than let say a 2-week OMFS externship at St. Johns in Joe Schmo land. This wasn't a factor for me, but it maybe for you.

5) Externship requirements. Out of all the OMFS externships that I looked into, they all have different requirements. I looked at 5 OMFS externships:

Univ. Michigan
UCLA
Baylor
LSU
Univ. FL

Some will require that you be in the top 10 of your class as an externship application requirement, some will require that you have at least a 90 on NBDE Part 1, some will require you to have 4 letters of recommendation and some will simply just give their OMFS externship spots away with no major requirements. You must search and learn what your externship of interest requires from you. You may or may not be qualified!

6) Minor issues and considerations

a) the time of the year or what months in the summer, the externship may or may not have spots left during the times that you wanted to apply to

b) transportation, some externships will require you to have your own transportation on site!

I think that's it for now, if I think of anymore, I'll be sure to share. Couple of things that all OMFS externship requirements have in common are:

1) they all want proof of liability insurance from your dental school
2) to verify that you're a U.S. dental student in good standing attending an ADA accredited dental school

Good luck planning and applying. Just like everything else, be sure to submit your application early! I applied back in November 2003 and was offered and accepted to LSU externship in January 2004. Perhaps, you might want to look into LSU?

Andy
 

omsres

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) Prestige or name. To have a month-long OMFS externship at Harvard MGH may look very impressive on your CV than let say a 2-week OMFS externship at St. Johns in Joe Schmo land. This wasn't a factor for me, but it maybe for you


YAH-E, where did you get this? This hospital may be impressive in some medical specialties, but in the world of oral surgery some would consider it sort of "weak". I mean, they didn't even match either of their spots on the 1st match this year. Not trying to be mean, just informative.
 
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River13

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I agree w/ omsres on this one...MGH doesn't carry prestige in the specialty and isn't a big name either...you'll always hear more negatives than positives about it...
 

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I'll put my two cents in on thnis even though it is a double edge sword. Its good to hear advice eventhough I wouldn't put much weight in it, including mine. I wonder if anyone interviewed/externed at MGH? My impression of it were that it has big name surgeons with a malignent program. I think a lot of people were scared off because of the tough rep.

You could ask ten people the top ten programs/names in the country and will definanetly get ten different answers, but alot of names will appear on most lists, and I'd bet MGH is one of those names.

I've posted before that if you don't have your heart set on one place, then you should extern at a big name place. Though now these lits are very bias after match, I'd venture to say Parkland, UPitt, LSU, Houston, UCSF, UCLA, Penn, Louisville, UNC, and MGH will most likely come up on most lists.
 

ajmacgregor

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Gentlemen,
It seems like MGH is taking it on the chin from you guys...

I'd just like to say that every program has different strengths and weaknesses, and perhaps some of you should be a little more open-minded about a program before tearing into it.

For example, one could quote the recent JOMS article about the MGH program and the outcomes of the education there. I think you would be extremely hard pressed to find another OMFS program that has produced such an impact in academic OMFS.

MGH does have quite a legacy behind it - it is a good department, and certainly one of the best in the US. Their program has a 18 month general surgery rotation at the MGH - don't even try to tell me that the MGH General Surgery program isn't one of the best in the country.

While it is certainly unfortunate that they didn't match two spots, there are likely a number of reasons for this:

1. They may not have ranked enough people.
2. Harvard Medical School is not cheap...add $100K onto dental school and undergrad debt and you might want to go somewhere else as well. Especially since they don't pay you during med school.
3. MGH produces world class academic surgeons - how many people out there realistically want to go into academics?
4. The program is tough - there are plenty of programs that will give you as many opportunities in the post-graduate arena and are not even close to as difficult.

Try to open your minds a little.

AjM
 

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I thought MGH was a great program. But I do know that it got a bad rap. on the interview trail this year. For whatever reason.

People for the most part were relatively open about their impressions about programs. MGH, I though was talked about the most, for its tough interview. Only a couple others came close in comparision in my opinion.

I don't know who's out there that interviewed this year?
 

omsres

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Here's a coulple of things to think about:

1. The article about MG's program in the JOMS is one the biggest joke's in an already poor journal. Most programs can claim those same accomplishments such as board certification, success in private practice etc.

2. 18 month's of general surgery? Tell me, with 3 years of medical school, and 18 month's of general surgery, how many months of actual oral surgery training does one get there.
 

Yah-E

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Alright!

OMSres:

I don't know if you're an OMFS resident or a current dental student, but lets get something cleared up. If you're here to critisize other residencies, you might want to get your info correct.

According to MGH OMFS residency's website, there is only 2 years of medical school and not 3. Total OMFS training is 24 months worth out of the 6 years of residency. General surgery is only 16 months. For the break down, check out their site:

http://www.massgeneral.org/depts/newomfs/residency/residency.htm

I stand by my previous post, it would be much better if you'd contribute instead of critisize others. Corrections or clarifications are always welcomed, but primary goal here is to answer questions and concerns of others. If you're an OMFS resident, then you have much resources and knowledge to share. If you want to post, then why not share "your" experiences with OMFS residencies?

Again, lets go back to the original question on hand. DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR LOOKING INTO AN OMFS EXTERNSHIP?
 

ajmacgregor

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Hey Yah-E - Thanks for your post. A few comments:
The website is out of date - the acutal program as it stands has everyone, regardless of where they went to dental school, doing HMS III and IV, and the anesthesia component (as a PGY-1 level anesthesia resident) has been moved from intern year to the 4th year of med school. Instead of taking electives, students get to rotate on the oral surgical service if they wish.

Also - there is a new 2 month ENT rotation at a local hospital. Add the four months of anesthesia to a year of general surgery and 2 months of ENT and you get 18 months.

Take home lesson - don't believe everything you read on websites. ;)

And OMSRes:

You've failed to actually provide any concrete criticism of why the MGH article is a joke or why the JOMS is a 'weak' journal. It's embarassing that someone who is interested in OMS would take such a negative view of their trade journal. JOMS may not have a high impact factor (because the only people who read it are oral surgeons, by and large), but given the alternatives (International Journal of OMFS, Triple O), the JOMS is quite a good journal. I hope you stand by your criticism and make your way through your career in OMFS without submitting an article to the weak JOMS.

There's absolutely nothing intelligent about your "argument", if it can even be called that. Secondly, you state that "many programs can claim the same results" - can you actually prove this or is it unsubstantiated hubris?

It's quite irresponsible to make such unsubstantiated claims and certainly may make others, myself included, lose some of the respect we have had for you.
 

omsres

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Sorry to offend everyone here. I realized this thread is not intended for bashing MGH as a program. My original reply should have been left at that. However, my opion of MGH is unchanged and I think my sources for this information are accurate. Again I apologize. If anyone would like my impression(biased) on some of the programs I have experience with, please feel free to PM me. And by the way, I think the old volumes of JOMS are very good just the recent issues have very little clinically useful in them. Try the british journal of oms, head and neck surgery, or journal of plastic and reconstructive surgery, OMS knowledge update, selected readings in OMFS.
 

Doggie

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Omsres,
Could you please shed some light about the various programs that you have experiences with? I havent heard too many positive things about MGH from my mentors either. Please be as brutally honest as possible, and nevermind the whiners. :D

BTW, I think the Triple O journal (oral surgery, oral path, oral med....or something like that) is a better journal.
 
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I agree with omsres, since he's my coresident. We're sitting in an ER right now treating MVC's, MI's, and CVA's. Far cry from MOD's, huh? Mastered that and moved on. Before you go dogging omsres I thought you should know that he and I are not "interested" in OMFS, we're doing it.

As for MGH, what's so great about it? The name? Similar to Parkland in that respect. Does MGH dissect necks, do maxillectomies with orbital exoneration? Do you know what that is? Do they have privelages as oral surgeons to do free flap reconstruction? When was the last time they harvested the entire calvarium to reshape a scaphocephaly?

Even those things don't mean our residency is great. What makes a residency great? I'd say it's getting along with other residents, the staff, and other services. It's in the variety of cases you do. It's in your ability to treat a patient and operate, not quote stupid articles or ride on the coattails of an institution's name.

The article in JOMS (a weak journal) is stupid. Did anyone else notice that MGH's attempt to toot their own horn was stuck in the SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE section?!!! Absolutely ridiculous. Does JOMS really think that was scientific? It's just a review of a residency. Please.

Finally, if MGH is only 24 months of OMS they wouldn't be accredited since 30 mos is the requirement.
 

TX OMFS

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Originally posted by mpat78
hi there,

I will be a senior this summer and was planning on doing an externship in surgery but having a tough time targeting a particular institution. Anyone done an externship and have suggestions, please let me know. Thanks

mpat78,

I externed at LSU New Orleans, LSU Shreveport, Houston, and San Antonio while I was in dental school. In my experience, LSU New Orleans allowed me to do the most as a student. I was able to wire about 40 jaws during my mouth, take out a slew of teeth, sew a few lacs, and pre-round/write notes in the mornings.

I would just suggest that you bust ass on your externship, BE HUMBLE, and never complain about hours or not getting do something that you want to do. Working hard is the best thing you can do. Take the first few days to feel things out.

Residents will notice if you do these things and will be more willing to let you do stuff. When I get a good extern I let them do everything they can and I take them out on the town. When I get one that sucks I ignore them. Residents will also tell the attendings about you, which could mean a spot for you in the program and/or a letter of recommendation.

Since I've been a resident I've seen some good externs and some that won't wake up until 8:00am. Always ask what you can do to help, look for things to do, volunteer to do the scut work (tracking down x-rays, changing dressing, etc).

A huge pet peeve among all residents I know is students giving us pointers. DO NOT GIVE "POINTERS" TO THE RESIDENTS. Ask questions all you want, but do it in a tone that suggest you are curious and don't know the answer. Even if you think the resident is a huge idiot b/c of something you're read or heard, don't convey that thought. Just say, "Hey, I've heard blank before, is it true?" Also don't say that stuff in front of patients. Remember, READING about stuff is different from actual experience.

Finally, don't do anything that might embarass a resident or make him look bad in front of the attending (like pointing out something they forgot to do). If the attending asks the residents a question (pimping) let them answer first--you should be the last to chime in. However, it is good to respectfully make friends with attendings.

I hope this is helpful.
 

Yah-E

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TX OMFS:

The most helpful post yet by an OMFS resident since I've been on SDN! I would say there are about 4 or 5 current OMFS residents lurking on SDN and about 4 or 5 will-be OMFS residents 4th-year dental students on here. The way you describe LSU's OMFS externship, it sounds like I'll be having a blast this upcoming summer for a month. I can't wait.
:clap:

By the way, did you stay in the on-call room at LSU, that's where I'll be crashing for the entire month. Isn't weird or inconvenient for all the doctors for an extern to crash there for the entire month? I find it hard to imagine to just show up at the hospital with my suitcase at the on-call room with all the cots and call it my bedroom for an entire month? Please shine some experiences with this issue. Don't get me wrong, for me to crash at the on-call room for the month, I believe I'll get to see and do the most and I'm looking forward to it, but this will be a first for me.

Again, thanks for sharing the type of experience that we, Pre-OMFS are looking for. If you're ever have a second or two during your rounds or on-call nights, then please feel free to come back and post some more, it'll be greatly appreciated!

Welcome to SDN!
:D
 

TX OMFS

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Originally posted by Yah-E

By the way, did you stay in the on-call room at LSU, that's where I'll be crashing for the entire month. Isn't weird or inconvenient for all the doctors for an extern to crash there for the entire month? :D

Yah-E,

LSU New Orleans has a large call room with 5 or 6 beds and two rooms plus the bathroom. There should be plenty of room for you there. The only thing you have to worry about is the food--the cafeteria sucks. However, there's a diner and a Burger King in front of the hospital. The French Quarter isn't that far away either.
 

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TX OMFS

I am applying this summer to programs in texas. I hear parkland is good and houston also. What do you think about these programs? Any thoughts on which program is strong? i.e. from parkland, houston, baylor and san antonio. Thanks.
 

omsres

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WestCoast,

TX OMS and I have talked about this before and I think he would agree with me that all of those programs with the exception of San Antonio are high tier. Parkland has some faculty instability issues that haven't surfaced yet. This is just hearsay though. Our program has had the same critisism. Some other programs that deserve a closer look are UAB, Lexington and Louisville, KY, LSU New Orleans and Shreveport.
 

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Thanks for your reply omsres

Just a general question... If you are interested in going to a particular program, is it a bad idea to do an externship at that program for one month? I know ideally its better to do 2 week externships but some schools say they strongly recommend doing a one month and they are very discouraging in doing 2 weeks. I feel that if I insist on 2 weeks, it would reflect bad on me. So what's the verdict? 1 month externship ok for a program that one is interested in?
 

omsres

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If it was a program that you are extremely interested in do 2 months. I've always heard a month is better than two weeks. Just think about it, you get to know the residents and attendings that much better. No brainer in my opinion.
 

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I disagree. You can't know you want to go to a place so much until you extern there. Especially if this is your first externship, you need to be able to compare different programs by doing different externships. If you're pretty sure you like the program then do the month, but try and get more in later that are 2 weekers even if you loved the month one--to be able to compare, cover your bases, and to be a more well rounded applicant. 2 weeks is plenty of time to leave a great impression and get a good feel for what that program's about, and it doesn't lock you into something for a month that may not be as great as you thought it would be.
 
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