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Residencies: Academic or Not?

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by LoneSEAL, Jun 1, 2002.

  1. LoneSEAL

    LoneSEAL Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 24, 2000
    I've noticed that many of the top residencies are very academic. For example, I was looking at the well known general surgery residencies,i.e. Mass Gen, B&W's Hospital, and it says that the residency is well-suited for those interested in academic medicine.

    My question, though, can one go to these academic residencies but decide not to do the academic track. I want to go to a top-notch residency but I think I want to work in private practice when I finish.

    Incidentally, what are the top academic general surgery residencies? What about the top clinical ones that produce excellent surgeons but not necessarily the best researchers?
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  3. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    No residency can MAKE you choose a certain career path. Some academic programs will require you to do lab years (ie, mandatory 7+ years instead of the usual 5+) but what you choose to do after you complete the residency is up to you. During residency, unless it is stated that the academic track with lab years is mandatory, they generally don't make you take that track, although there will be variable pressure to do so. In addition, if you state this at the interview it mayb e a strike against you, if they WANT people who wish to pursue academic surgery.

    However, I must ask...if you are interested in private practice, WHY would you choose an academic program, particularly one known for training academic/research surgeons? Frankly, I'd think you'd want to be the technically best surgeon you can be and programs which STATE their mission is to train academic surgeons are often not the best technical training grounds, IMHO. Teaching something, knowing the current research and being able to do something are two different things. Wanting to train at Mass Gen because you want to be some big timey academic surgeon is one thing, but to go there and then work in private practice seems not the best plan to me. You want to choose a program which is the best for YOU - meaning geographically, personality and which produces fine quality surgeons who have similar clinical goals. No use in going someplace which specializes in academic surgeons if you don't wanna be one. Keep your mind open - a good university program can open doors for you. Even though currently you are thinking about a career in private practice, you may someday change your mind; in addition, university programs typically have better success in fellowship placement. Not all university programs are geared toward training academic surgeons, but I would consider those that do as their primary goal, less desirable given your stated career goals.
  4. droliver

    droliver Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    May 1, 2001
    I would not rule out going to some of the University programs unless they had mandatory research time (ie. Brigham & Women's, Duke, Minnesota,etc)built in and you were 100% sure you didn't want an academic career. You never know what you will end up specializing in, and in general its better to come places that give you more options for fellowships, especially som e of the more competative ones (Plastics, peds surg, vascular, and surgical oncology).

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