i am only an applicant myself, but when i was there at the interview for CHOC i got the feeling that they were overworked to some extent. One of the residents on the tour mentioned that they last year had a lot of problems with meeting the 80 hour rule, but also did say that changes had been made to try and remedy that. Two other girls giving the tour who were interns said SO many times how tiring and busy the residency was. I mean they said it alot. And when we went to the call rooms they made comments about how they never really see them anyway because they are always SO busy.
At another program a non-CHOC resident said that she didnt want to go there because she had those concerns as well, and things like they don't have a cap for admissions and stuff like that. Sadly I liked the program and the people otherwise!!!
i'm an intern at CHLA and i love it.
to address your concern, you're going to work hard wherever you go and pretty much every program is going to have difficult meeting the 80 hour work week rule. having said that, i'll say something useful: i can't speak for CHOC because i didn't interview there, but i can say that, in my experience, wards are tough at CHLA. the acuity of the patients is super-high, most definitely higher than any other place i interviewed at (except UCSF maybe, which sucked for a host of reasons- sorry guys). you can expect to not sleep much on call nights. i'd be lying if i said i had an easy one yet. however, our seniors are AWESOME and there's plenty of support from all sides. most of the nurses are really good, too, which makes one's life immeasurably easier.
i think the difference between this program and others that have a less trying reputation is one of the attitude of the residents. they come in knowing it's going to be a pretty high-pressure environment and they thrive on the acuity of the patients. you've got to employ the attitude that each new patient is a learning opportunity, even if you've seen 10 cases like it before. if you would like to admit 2 or 3 kids in a night and read about them that night, then this place isn't for you. if you'd like to admit 5 or 6, if you enjoy having to make real-time medical decisions (obviously i'm biased), then this place would be a good fit.
i encourage all who are interested to PM me and sign up for a visit.