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filter07

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Just wanted to take an informal poll on the forums' opinion on operating early, salary, and other not-too-important but not-insignificant factors...

What are your opinions on operating early? I'm wondering how much it will affect my happiness as an intern/PGY2, and whether this should weigh into choosing one program or another.

On one hand, 1 year out of 7 is not too significant.
On the other, attrition in surgery is mostly early (1/5 of even those with the best of intentions leave), and maybe getting operative experience can motivate me enough to get past the tenuous period.

Program A: Operate early, 6K salary/yr advantage, weather not great
Program B: Top heavy, 6K salary/yr less, weather is pretty good

Do you think at this point in our lives, salary is pretty insignificant? I mean I could buy a nice home theater with 6k, take some nice vacations every year...

Feel, reputation, academic development, ancillary staff, call, fellowship match, etc are fairly even.

Any thoughts?
 

Winged Scapula

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Having a happy life outside of the hospital is paramount. Operating early does give you motivation but in the end you will come out well trained.

So, my answer is, all else being fairly equal, pick the place you think you would be happiest at OUTSIDE of the hospital (if that means weather, able to afford nicer home, opportunities for social outlets, etc.). What is more important to you: nice home or nice weather (not that it wouldn't be great to have both)?
 

Red Man

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The only issue I've found with salary is that of the outliers, i.e. those who pay real low. Other than that, you need to do some research about how much pay you'll take home (after state income tax, health insurance, etc...). You really need to read the fine print b/c some programs have expensive benefits. For example, the two places I'm ranking 1 and 2 pay about the same, are in relatively large cities with equitable housing prices, but one has health insurance for $640/month and the other about $300/month. That's a huge difference in final take home pay.

I think it's prudent to take a hard look the final take home pay at the programs you most want to go to.
 
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Winged Scapula

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Are you sure those are YOUR costs for health insurance? Usually the program pays the vast majority of the monthly premium and you have a minimal monthly payment.

The most I've ever paid during residency was around $25 a month, with my married colleagues with family policies paying twice that much.
 

Pilot Doc

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The most I've ever paid during residency was around $25 a month, with my married colleagues with family policies paying twice that much.

At my institution, single coverage is in the $25/month range, but it's much, much higher for family coverage. Spouse + children is several hundred/month.
 

Winged Scapula

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At my institution, single coverage is in the $25/month range, but it's much, much higher for family coverage. Spouse + children is several hundred/month.

Ouch...I guess I looked at the family policies and saw they were double the single coverage, but that probably didn't include children. Expensive little buggers.
 

madtowngirl

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I hadn't really looked at salary or benefits of my top programs, and this thread prompted me to do so. Salaries themselves seem pretty comparable, but benefits can provide a lot outside of salary (meals, parking, insurance, which in one place was $0/month out of my pocket! Some even included gym memberships.). I'm not sure how much to factor this stuff in; I love my top 6 programs, and would be happy at any of them.

And if programs didn't give you salary/benefits info on the day of interview, and you can't find it on their website, what are some other ways to find this info?
 

Doc Ivy

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Some programs have salary/benefit information on FREIDA
 

Bitsy3221

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Some programs have salary/benefit information on FREIDA

I'd be very wary about taking anything posted on FREIDA as gospel. I've found (as have others on here) that a fair amount of that info is either out of date or just plain wrong, and there is no way to tell. It may be a good basis but I wouldn't base any major decisions on those figures.
 

Winged Scapula

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The GME office at the programs will have basic stuff like health benefits, savings plans, disability, parking, etc. However, meal benefits, coats, etc. can and will vary by department, so check with the program coordinator for that stuff (although she/he should have the health/401K/etc. stuff too).
 
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