Qualities/Drawbacks of These Programs: NYU, BIDMC, Penn, Pitt, UChicago, Northwestern, UW, Stanford

Nov 3, 2013
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So I've pretty much finished my interview trail and there are a bunch of programs that I thought I could see myself at, but none that I absolutely fell in love with. I'm not really asking for help ranking, but any commentary about the programs would be nice as it seems there's always something someone else notices that I didn't. Here are the programs I'm thinking about in rough geographic order: NYU, BIDMC, Penn, Pitt, UChicago, Northwestern, UWashington, Stanford. Any help is greatly appreciated.
 

Guillemot

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Dec 24, 2010
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In terms of best location IMHO: UW > Stanford > BIDMC > NU > UC > Pitt > NYU > Penn
 

BigMAC3

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Oct 1, 2012
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I interviewed at most last year (not at Pitt, UC, or Stanford). Overall my list would be:
1. BIDMC - Nice people, well rounded program, harvard affiliation, Boston is a pretty nice place to be
2. NYU - Incredible location in lower manhattan, friendly program, great clinical experience, private and public hospital experiences next door to each other
3. Stanford - Great reputation. SF is amazing, but Stanford is pretty far removed and very suburban environment. I have an urban east coast bias, bump it up a couple notches if you're looking for west coast.
4. Northwestern - Beautiful hospital, awesome location, but it is definitely more of a workhorse mentality program. Residents seemed happy, but also tired -- I interviewed with PD, and was very open about maxing out on work hours (to his credit, he was happy that the residents were no longer going way over work hour maximums)
5. UWashington - also have reputation for working very hard, hospitals are spread out and it's a big program. PD was really nice and seemed to be resident advocate, but made note that trying to change the culture of a big program is like "trying to turn a battleship."
6. Penn - I know someone going here, he tells me they don't have CRNAs. He viewed it as a positive, I view it as a negative -- it sounds like the residents become cheap labor (chair sitters) in some cases. Has an awesome reputation, but I find phili to be kind of sketchy (The only time I've ever been mugged as in phili, so I'm very bias against the city of philadelphia)

I don't know anything about UC or Pitt, so I'm not including them on my list.

Based completely on location:
1. Northwestern - Beautiful hospital in downtown Chicago, great neighborhood with a supririsingly reasonable cost of living
2. NYU - best location of any hospital in NYC, very safe livable neighborhood, and you can do anything you want in lower manhattan
3. UW - Easy access to Seattle, on a beautiful campus overlooking the cascade mountain range. Bring an umbrella, but temperate winters and fun city with lots of outdoor things to do.
4. BIDMC - it's in Longwood, so it's removed from downtown boston but easy enough to access. Boston is a great place to live, but is a quaint college town compared to NYC and Chicago.
5. Stanford - SF is great, but palo alto is pretty far removed from the action.
6. UC - access to chicago, but neighborhood is kind of sketchy
7. Pitt - I hear Pitt can be fun, but I've never been personally
8. Penn - ha, I guess I'm just really not a phily fan.
 
Dec 26, 2013
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Didn't interview at Stanford or BIDMC, but I'll give you my two cents for what it's worth.

NYU: Nice location, nice pay, super chill and low key. Probably the most resident friendly program that I visited. Uses three hospitals with three different patient populations. Facilities were kinda old and outdated. No real subsidized housing, but the higher salary I think compensates for this (they get paid more than any other residency program in NYC I think). Residents were happy and PD seemed to be a really laid back guy. Transitioning to a new chair who I think is someone internal that knows the program well. My biggest problem with the place is that it's advanced only, but some people might prefer that.
Penn: I liked Philly, the campus, and the hospitals. PD was a huge resident advocate and the residents seemed happy and satisfied with their training. Chair was a bit awkward, to me at least, but was nice and interview with him was laid back and conversational so I'm sure he's that way with the residents. They work really hard and the residents were very upfront about this. Long days, 24hr calls on OR rotations, 30hr calls on ICU rotations, but still 3 golden weekends/month on OR rotations and post-post call day off on ICU rotations.
Pitt: Not a huge fan of the city itself and the fact that they use 7+ hospitals. Since there are so many hospitals it kind of seemed that the residents don't see each other much and camaraderie within the program may be weak. Incredible clinical volume and acuity though. In terms of training and experiences it is probably one of the best if not the best that I've seen. Residents seemed happy, PD is a real nice guy, and I think this is a relatively "cush" program.
UofC: Not a great part of the city, but the campus itself is really nice. The facilities that you use are all grouped together, which is convenient and the new hospital is gorgeous. Residents seemed happy. Chair is a really nice guy. PD seemed quiet and shy, but nice and was cracking jokes with us. Program had a reputation of both being cush and malignant (not sure how those two went together), but current residents denied both claims. I had a hard time gauging this place.
NW: Great hospitals and unbeatable location within the city. PD was a real nice guy who seemed to be a resident advocate. Similar to Penn I think in terms of the workload, but they pay for staying late (Penn does as well), but personally I would rather leave at 5pm than get paid to stay late consistently. I know there are rumors about morale being low at NW on here and other forums, but the residents I met denied that and seemed happy. I didn't like that fact that they had to do room turnover and had to relieve CRNAs sometimes.
UW: Seattle is a nice, fun city for young professionals. They use four hospitals (UWMC, Harborview, Children's, and VA) which is a bit much for me and they also share a few of these with VM residents, which isn't a big deal, but I would rather have the facilities, cases, faculty, etc. to myself. PD is a super nice lady and residents say she has done some really fantastic things for the program. They just got a chair - some guy from WashU who is a UW alum. Residents seemed pretty happy. I would say this program is somewhere in the middle in terms of workload maybe more toward the hard working side. I did like their call system, which consisted of 3-4 of night float/month and occasional late stays.

All in all I'd say all of these are FANTASTIC programs and there are people who would love to have to choose from these programs. Hopefully I provided some new insight or made you see some things in a new light. Of course, the decision is ultimately up to you and is all about the right fit (whatever that means). Good Luck and feel free to PM me with any questions or if you want to share/compare notes.
 
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BigMAC3

5+ Year Member
Oct 1, 2012
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Cool, your interview impressions were very similar to mine. Nice post, I totally agree.
 
OP
F
Nov 3, 2013
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Medical Student
Thanks for the feedback letheon and BigMAC3. This whole ranking business is gonna be a lot harder than I thought it was gonna be. I was hoping that I would absolutely fall in love with a place, but unfortunately this wasn't the case :( I think BIDMC, Penn, and UofC are leading the race, but it changes nearly every day.