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UPMC Shadyside vs. Mercy Transitional program

Discussion in 'Internship' started by Member111111, Feb 2, 2013.

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  1. Member111111

    Member111111 2+ Year Member

    Aug 4, 2012
    UPMC Shadyside and UPMC Mercy Ty programs have similar schedules. Residents seem happy. Was wondering if there is a difference in atmosphere/collegiality/stress/flexibility/elective opportunities between these two Ty Programs? Having a hard time comparing them..any help would be appreciated!
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  3. Igor4sugry

    Igor4sugry Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2005

    Short answer: UPMC Mercy is like working in the ghetto vs UPMC Shadyside is working in a hospital that is well known in Pittsburgh and also in the nicest area of town very desirable by young professionals..

    Long answer:
    UPMC Mercy and UPMC Shadyside are very different hospitals. UPMC Mercy was purchased by UPMC <6yrs ago. Whereas UPMC Shadyside has been under UPMC Umbrella for a long time. UPMC Mercy is a catholic hospital (still don't allow to do tubal ligations). Whereas UPMC Shadyside has many Jewish physicians from the community (put up a big menorah during holidays).

    Upmc Mercy is located in uptown area of Pittsburgh, in one of the poorest areas. Literally people get shot and walk into the front doors. There is no place to live near by as it is so dangerous. There is an apartment complex, but it is extremely isolated, dangerous to walk form, and overpriced. I wouldn't walk by myself at night more than 50 yeards from the hospital. The IM residency there has shown up on SDN list of malignant programs. So in terms of living you will need to drive there from some other part of the city, and traffic in that area is quite heavy as it is next to downtown. Once UPMC purchased it, it started pouring tons of money so things seem new. Even though it has the UPMC name it does not have that history. It seems that most residents there just keep their head down and put their 3 years in and get out.

    UPMC Shadyside is pretty much a landmark hospital in Pittsburgh. It is well known and well respected. It was founded by physicians after which there are streets named in the city. It has a long legacy of having the best known physicians of the city work there. It is basically #2 hospital after the UPMC Presbyterian hospital (their flagship).
    It is located in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. This neighborhood has a high concentration of young professionals, has many apartments to rent, and is the place where young professionals hang out on weekends. For example its the only place in all of the city that has an apple store. You could rent and walk or bike to work every day. There is whole foods/trader joes/nice giant eagle near by. Again, nice area to be in. The IM residency there is more prestigious than at Mercy. There is a lot more money being poured into that hospital than Mercy.

    I would go to UPMC Shadyside hands down; as your quality of life will be much better.
    choc_mint likes this.
  4. residentdoc


    Feb 12, 2013
    I am currently a TY at UPMC Mercy so I can address your questions regarding our program. However, I can’t really compare it to Shadyside’s TY program. In my opinion, our TY program has an excellent atmosphere and overall sense of collegiality among residents as well as between residents and attendings. The transitional years as well as the categoricals have an overall positive sentiment towards the program. It is definitely more of a family environment. The program director is very receptive to resident concerns and he manages/maintains the program very well. The program coordinator and the rest of the administrative staff are amazing. They’re extremely friendly, approachable, and helpful in all aspects of the residency program including scheduling.

    The level of stress is very manageable, particularly as an intern year. I can honestly state that I feel less stressed during my intern year at UPMC Mercy than I did as a third and fourth year medical student on clinical rotations. Granted your ICU and floor rotations will be more stressful than the electives, but the stress level is very manageable. The PGY-2 and PGY-3 residents are excellent, and the seniors or an attending are always available for questions that you may have whether you are on days or nights.

    Elective opportunities are really whatever you can think of. You are pretty much guaranteed an elective in whatever specialty you’re going into (Rad Onc, Dermatology, Radiology etc.). The others include Anesthesia, PM&R, Neurology, a research month, Surgery, Ob/Gyn, Family medicine, and pretty much all of the medical subspecialties (ID, Cardiology, GI, Pulm, Heme/onc etc.).

    In terms of location, sure UPMC Mercy isn’t in the most favorable part of town. However, I have walked out of the hospital at 2am from a late night ED shift and never really felt unsafe. The surrounding area and resident parking lot are very well lit at night and there are usually security guards outside the ED. During the day time, there are plenty of people around the hospital so it is completely safe. Of course, you have to be wary of your surroundings particularly at night but that’s just common sense in any major city. Also, you can live in Shadyside or other parts of town and commute to Mercy (<10 minutes). You don’t necessarily have to live in the Uptown neighborhood.

    In the end, given the degree of positive sentiment and my overall excellent experience at UPMC Mercy, I wouldn’t trade this year for a year at a program with a better location. In fact, I wouldn’t trade this year for any other transitional year or preliminary year that I interviewed at across the country. It’s been awesome thus far and I will definitely recommend this program to my friends who are interviewing for advanced program specialties. Good luck with the Match!
  5. PhilNiles


    Feb 12, 2013
    Hi! Current UPMC Mercy TY here. Feel compelled to respond, as I not only love my TY program, but also love my TY hospital.

    First, let me confirm how happy we are. There are 15 TY's and I think all of us are happy to be here. Me and my friends joke around about how if our residency program directors all called us and told us that we need to repeat our TY year - we'd be thrilled.

    I can fill you in on the Mercy side of things (never been to Shadyside). Atmosphere here is extraordinarily collegial. I have almost all of my attendings' phone numbers. They see me as a growing professional. There is no malignant "pimping" like you had in medical school. They take us out to lunch. Like anywhere else, some are friendlier than others, but none of them are unfriendly. Our year started off with a dinner party thrown by the nephrology attendings (out of their pocket) in our honor at nice restaurant outside the city - and one of them still brought in a few home made dishes for us.

    In terms "stress", I think this matters much more on the person than on the program. We have several rotations (approx 7 out of 13) where I think it would be challenging to become stressed. Our floor months are really laid back compared to other places. ICU was my favorite rotation because of all the support and how much I grew; the attendings are awesome, and I actually switched my assignment to cover ICU for the holiday schedule. For what it's worth, I don't think you want a program with zero "stress". If you do, there are other TY programs that won't even realize if you don't show up for the year - neither us nor Shadyside are amongst them. I can say with certainty that some TY's go out 4+ nights a week; or at least until they ran out of money.

    Flexibility/elective opportunities are great here. We have 13 blocks, SIX are electives, 1 ED, 1 ambulatory (both of which we would all chose if they were electives), 1 ICU (see above), 3 floors (only one overnight evening per block), and 1 night float. Quantity of electives rival any program. Quality does too. You get as much out as you're willing to put in (and some people put in a lot and some people take time to enjoy their personal lives). My rotations were awesome. I did ENT, where there were no ENT residents, so I was first-assist on ALL of the surgeries - and we had two PA's that wrote all the notes, so I just showed up straight to the OR every morning and got to assist on procedures that I'll be learning in my residency like a zygoma fx (I'm going ophtho). I have "medical informatics" coming up, ie a research month. Neurology (9am-2pm), Rheum (so much time in the library and cool cases), radiology (a lot of neuro-rads and personal time) and ophtho (Dr. Waxman leads it and he's supposed to be awesome) are my others. That said, a lot of people opt for more medicine electives, where our renal rotation is supposed to be intense but rewarding, cardiology is supposed to be cool, and GI with Dr. Kondaveeti a blast. Also, our coordinator (who won the UPMC system-wide rookie coordinator of the year award), has worked her butt off to make electives that aren't listed on the website - like Rad/Onc and derm. We don't have a pathology or psychiatry elective, but short of that I would have trouble imagining a better elective experience - or one that will better-prepare me for ophthalmology.

    Sorry that this is getting unusually long, but I also feel compelled to respond to the second poster's statement about Mercy. You make it sound like a warzone! On my ED rotation, we would often have GSW's brought in via ambulance - and it was awesome! (from an educational standpoint of course) In general, there are things you see at Mercy that you don't see elsewhere. There are people at Mercy who don't get seen elsewhere (and transferred here because of things like insurance status - not to knock the more sterile hospitals around town). We get to see some advanced pathologies of neglected members of our community who are really, really sick, and may in fact be dying - it is truly is a privilege to participate in their care.

    Some of the the other things said, were just factually incorrect. I walked 50 yards from the hospital over to Consol during a Pens game last week. I live nearby - a 5 minute drive where I encounter no traffic - from my nice apartment just across the Birmingham bridge. Others live in new complexes downtown (Rivervue) or in the Strip district (Cork Factory), and several live in Shadyside. Even with said traffic, I wouldn't be surprised if the TY's who live there are home before our Shadyside colleagues...

    Lastly, our IM program has made my experience. I didn't think having a categorical program alongside my TY mattered, but now that I have 60+ residents/friends working alongside me in my hospital, every day of mine is more fun than it would have been otherwise. They are some of my best friends, and we always talk about how sad it is going to be to leave at the end of the year. In terms, of our IM program being "malignant", I'm here almost every day, and I just don't see it. We might have one or two residents out of 45 who are just generally disgruntled, but I can't say that has affected my experience. To the comment about "most residents there just keep their head down and put their 3 years in and get out." We have a bunch of former residents who have stayed here at Mercy - including our program director - and we have several more that apply to work here as attendings after graduating.

    Our program isn't perfect, it does have downsides like any other, specifically they don't pay for Step 3 and our elevators are just so, so slow and always under construction. But that's really it.

    So sorry for the vent, but I really feel passionately about how great this year has been. And I think my 14 other TY friends would agree. I don't know anything about Shadyside to comment, but I just can't picture somebody regretting coming to Mercy for TY year - I certainly haven't.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  6. Geniusbar


    Feb 12, 2013
    Not to judge these posts, but I have noticed stuff like this always starts popping up in February when people are interested in ranking certain programs higher and lower.

    As a current TY at UPMC Mercy I want to clarify a lot of what this above review states.

    Quick Summary: I ranked Mercy number 1 and would rank it 1 again. It's totally worth two moves (and you have the last week off anyways to allow for that). They also give a $1600 food stipend that pretty much covers you for 1/2 - 3/4 of the year I would guess. Some people ran out halfway, some people still have a ton of money left. Either way it helps financially.
    Also, you will get excellent training at any of the UPMC hospitals.

    Comparison: Keep in mind I do not work at Shadyside so I cannot comment on their work.

    Detailed Breakdown.

    Location: I live 7 minutes from work - door to door in a super nice area. I drive to work. In the freezing cold weather and snow I do not plan on biking or walking regardless of how close I live. Mercy gives you included parking right next to the hospital.
    West of the hospital is nice and East is bad. West is Duquesne University. East is Hill District. The bad area is about 3-4 blocks North and East. You really do not come in contact with that area.
    Traffic is not bad at all unless you are trying to cross one of the few main tunnels. Most people go out in Southside which is 3 min South of Mercy once you cross the Birmingham Bridge.

    Regarding Shadyside Hospital - I agree that Shadyside is a beautiful area but for me they are both driving distance regardless of where I would live. I live in downtown at River Vue apartments. Expensive but I live pretty well. Some of my friends here live in Southside and Shadyside. Everyone is happy because everyone has their choice of bars, grocery, etc. Driving 2 miles to work daily to wake up and happily go to work is a small price to pay. I personally do not mind driving a whole mile and half extra for groceries, because I have all the time in the world outside of the hospital :p

    Cush/Malignant: Definitely Cush. I would compare it to my 4th year of medical school, but getting paid to do it. I text message my attendings. I have been to bars with a few of my attendings.

    I have never been "pimped"...and a good amount of attendings take you out to lunch some days just to say "thank you."

    FYI we met all the TY's from all of the programs at the UPMC orientation and message all TY's to come out with us. Out of everybody the Mercy TY's are the only one's that go out very frequently (almost every night someone is out). We talk to the Shadyside and Presby TY's when they go out on the rare occasion and I truly believe we are the happiest residents out of the TY programs in Pittsburgh and Shadyside is a close 2nd.

    The key is the 13 blocks as opposed to 12 months. 12 weeks of floors and 4 weeks of ICU sold the program for me. It actually turns out better than expected because out of the 3 floor rotations you get at least one (if lucky then you get 2) private service which is a touch easier than the hospitalist service (turnover is slower, but less learning - more autonomy). You will never get overwhelmed with work because the attendings and the senior residents will text you asking if they can be of any help and if there is ever lots of work, the senior will ease the burden because their only job is discharging and oversight.

    Hours: Floors - 65 to 70 hours a week for 12 weeks total. Electives/Ambulatory ~ 8am-4pm (Lots of study/Ping Pong/research time in between). Your purpose is to learn, not be a scut monkey and the attendings make a big deal out of that. I am going into radiology so on electives my attendings have me see only patients with imaging. Pretty cool.

    Religious Affiliation: I did not do a tubal ligation this year...nor do I want to do one. I am not Catholic and I have not been negatively affected by a chaplain saying "good morning doc" to me when being passed by in the hallway

    Newly under UPMC umbrella: Awesome because you get the ancillary staff of a private community hospital doing all of your scut work, and the name of UPMC to flaunt.

    Prestige: The prestige of Mercy vs. Shadyside is subjective and I cannot comment on that because I have a biased opinion in favor of Mercy. Mercy is older and has a longer tradition. Both are community programs and under the very large UPMC umbrella. In response to the above post - Shadyside was purchased in 1997, Mercy in 2008. That fact did not play a role in my rank order list.

    PD: Great guy, gets things done. Stoic demeanor when you first meet him, but super chill. I think people have a misconception about him because he is a very good boss. A good boss will expect that you show up and do your work. If you do not show up you will be in trouble. I have read some posts giving him a bad rep for that. I show up everyday, do my work, and go home...haven't had a problem yet. In fact, I asked for new ping pong equipment and he gave the Mercy credit card number to the PC to order whatever stuff we wanted. Pretty cool in my opinion. Your interaction with him is as much or as little as you want.

    PC: Won the rookie coordinator of the year award for being so helpful to the residents. I think that speaks for itself. If you are nice to her she will hook you up with an awesome schedule. She hangs out with us outside of the hospital occasionally which is super cool of her. Again, your interaction is as much or as little as you want with her.

    Overall: There are "Cush-er" programs out there, but they are not in Pittsburgh. I came here just for a year. I am learning how to be a good doctor while not getting overworked like a typical intern. I feel like I am here getting privately tutored.
    This place has the ideal balance of working, learning, and free time.

    PM with any serious questions about the program.
  7. Igor4sugry

    Igor4sugry Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2005
    Due to Mercy's location (right next to downtown) it gets affected by downtown traffic quite a bit. This is coupled with Pittsburgh's overwhelmed highway system due to large number of people commuting from suburbs.

    It takes <10minutes only in AM. In PM you hit major traffic as people from downtown leave the city. If you live in Sq Hill or Shadyside it will take you at least 20-30 minutes to leave due to multiple traffic lights. If you live in suburbs it will take you at least 15 minutes to just get on the highway and then heavy traffic from there. 45min-1hr commute home is the norm for suburbs.

    Downtown in pittsburgh does not have a gorcery store, after 5pm there is no one there,
    Shadyside is a very vibrant community.
  8. residentdoc


    Feb 12, 2013
    1. God forbid a 20-30 minute commute during rush hour in the evening. Clearly you've never been to LA, Chicago, New York or any other major city and experieced what rush hour is really like.

    2. Don't live in the suburbs if a short commute is your priority. There are neighborhoods like Shadyside, Squirrel hill, Oakland, and South side that are all close to Mercy. <10 min in the AM and a "dreadful" 20-30 min in the evening if you leave between the hours of 5 and 6:30pm.
  9. engineeredout

    engineeredout 7+ Year Member

    May 11, 2008

    I grew up in NYC, so when people bitch about the traffic around Pittsburgh and the horrendous 20 minute commute I just laugh. I know if I end up in residency in NY my commute will be more like 45min on a good day.
  10. Igor4sugry

    Igor4sugry Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2005
    This is similar to saying something along the lines: "I don't care about paying $2000/mo for 1br appt in Pittsburgh (note real avg price ~$800-$900/mo) because I grew up in NYC and that is cheap there."
    You have to look at the whole situation and make decisions based on environment there.

    Book on history of Shadyside Hospital is called: Inheritors of a Glorious Reality: a history of Shadyside Hospital Its a good read and gives a nice addition to Pittsburgh history in general.

  11. tco

    tco 7+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    You guys are convincing me into staying north for my intern year...
  12. kwyjibo

    kwyjibo 7+ Year Member

    Jul 29, 2008
    Lot's of good info on the Mercy program on this thread.

    Anyone have anything to say about the Shadyside program?
  13. Sandman2


    Oct 3, 2013

    Any one with insider thoughts on the Shadyside program??
  14. JackofAll


    Oct 16, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  15. 123eyes

    123eyes 2+ Year Member

    Nov 7, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014
  16. SinceNobodyPosted


    Oct 30, 2013
    Shadyside - Leah Thompson
    Mercy - Katie Collins
  17. 776880


    Jan 10, 2013
    How competitive are these 2 programs? Approximately what kinda step scores do you need to get ranked?

  18. TrueAntagonist

    TrueAntagonist 2+ Year Member

    May 24, 2012
    would like to know this as well
  19. ratherbefishing

    ratherbefishing Name says it all. 2+ Year Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    Bump bump. Never heard anything about Shadyside. Seems like the only way to get decent responses on SDN is when one person randomly attacks a program and then a bunch of people at said program jump on with long responses to argue that it is actually good.
  20. MDSlacker

    MDSlacker 2+ Year Member

    May 3, 2013
    .....let's try one more time.
  21. SLKT


    Oct 8, 2014
    has anyone heard from Mercy?
  22. ratherbefishing

    ratherbefishing Name says it all. 2+ Year Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    In ERAS it now says that Mercy is "not participating in ERAS." not sure if this is temporary or if the program shut down
  23. Igor4sugry

    Igor4sugry Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2005
    That doesn't sound good.
  24. NilaMonster


    Apr 24, 2014
    Per a current TY, the program is now gone and they are rolling those spots into an expanded categorical program.
  25. FrostyHammer

    FrostyHammer 2+ Year Member

    Aug 20, 2014
    Former UPMC Mercy TY here, I feel compelled to add a few things:

    - Program dissolved because apparently some of us were too slacker (which means coming in late and leaving early pretty often) and taking a lot of work-hour advantages (like 15 hrs a week on some rotations). Pretty sweet though. And the PD (who is clinically insane btw because he micromanages everything and in general is a piss-poor leader, dunno if the previous posts referred to the former TY-only PD who is now in Qatar who was really chill and nice) wanted to focus on running the categoricals instead of TYs who are in and out just like that.

    UPMC Mercy is a great place even if you're doing categorical, so feel free to place this onto another appropriate forum too. Attendings are all great, comments about texting them and going to lunch are all true. I still text my former attendings! Teaching is great. It's a homestyle atmosphere which elinimates the hustle-bustle businesslike atmosphere of the main campus.

    The TYs and categoricals are, for the most part, great. I would only saw a handful were rotten apples and 95% were fantastic. I made so many great friendships with them that I'll never forget.

    That comment on having to repeat TY and being thrilled is SPOT ON. I was legitimately sad to leave at the end of my TY and I even still think of doing IM because of that year. Med school didn't make me want to do IM but TY did. Stunning eh?

    And the electives are fantastic with 3 minor floor blocks. If you're lucky like me you'll have another intern on the floors or get put onto a low-volume service = 1 serious floor block month. ICU was intense and I didn't really care for it, but there's nothing like having 4 months of chillax electives after that!

    SO I'm not really sure how this will impact anyone who's reading it unless they choose to apply categorical IM, but at least for the archives, Mercy TY was flippin amazing, a really good year of my life that I and many other TYs I'm sure would want back in a heartbeat.

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