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were you/are you recruited?

freelancewriter

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    I really enjoy reading the posts on this site - I'm learning a lot!

    I'm a freelance writer who formerly worked as a college recruiter, then for a large clinic system. I'm interested in doing recruitment consulting for residency programs, both in drafting brochures and Web sites, and in creating overall recruitment plans.

    My perception is that med students actively seek out residency programs, but residency programs don't do a lot to recruit medical students. Is this accurate?

    What types of information did you receive from institutions that encouraged you to consider them for residency?

    How much information did you receive?

    What year of med school did you start to receive this type of information?

    Would you have been interested in receiving multiple mailings from an institution that familiarizes you with the institution? How about free journal subscriptions from institutions that produce them? Other general information, such as internally-produced health newsletters or annual reports?

    What type of information did you receive post-application? Post-interview?

    Thanks for helping me learn!
     

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      No. Its not accurate. Residency programs also recruit. Ineffective recruiting for me consisted of all the stuff you mentioned. Effective recruiting consisted of:
      1) Personal phone calls and emails to residents
      2) Accurate information from residents and attendings about the program, not stuff about the hospital bla bla bla bla
      3) Paying for our hotels when we interview, paying for our meals when we interview, paying for us to fly out when we interview etc etc etc etc

      Don't bother sending it until the end of the third year of medical school.

      You need to find out what questions applicants have, then answer those as quickly and easily as possible. The program website is key. Most are generic and don't answer the questions we really want to know, which are:
      1) What sucks about the program?
      2) Who is the unhappiest resident and can I talk to him?
      3) What is the benefits/pay/perks package like?
      4) What is it really like to live there?
      5) Will I like the residents and attendings?
      6) What will my hours be like?
      7) What are the off-service rotations like?
      etc.
       

      dingiswayo

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        it seems to me that there are two types of program "promotion" you are talking about: recruiting students to apply to the program vs. getting students to rank your program highly after they visit.

        as for recruiting, there is some of this, but mostly it is limited to the least competitive specialties.

        i received mailings from several family practice residencies in my region (mid-atlantic). but, since i am applying for a surgical subspecialty, these mailings were of no use to me. they went straight into the trash can. they came mostly in the end of the 3rd-year and start of the 4th. also, there are residency fairs often in major cities. frankly, these mailing made me wonder why this program was sending info to the entire medical school class--it made them look desperate.

        another "sneakier" way programs recruit is by arranging to have medical students do 3rd- and 4th-year clinical rotations at the program. for example, here in philadelphia, all 5 medical schools send students to the allentown/bethleham area for some 3rd or 4th year rotations.

        of course, many specialties don't really need to recruit at all--ent, neurosurg, derm, urology, etc. these programs get between 20 and 200 applications for every resident position they want to fill.

        as for what information we want when we visit a program--mostly it's the stuff mentioned by Desperado. are the residents happy? have they ever lost residents? how is call? what hospitals do residents rotate through? what is the city like? where do residents live? how much do they pay? what is a typical day like? where are current residents from? did former residents pursue fellowship? where are former residents practicing? research? etc.

        when interview offers were made, most programs sent links to informational web pages and/or email attachments with program information. most programs provided additional program-descriptions, generic hospital brochures, and info on their city on the interview day.

        i used programs' materials/websites mostly as a gauge of commitment to resident education. if a program is too sloppy to even market itself effectively, most applicants are going to suspect that program is not all that well organized.
         
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        BPKurtz

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          I agree with what these guys said. And I wouldn't look at a mass mailing unless I was already interested in the program. I have looked at a lot of websites and it's important for that to look professional, although you only look at a website from a program you're considering anyway. So to me, the website is worth considerable time and effort from those wishing to market the program because it could turn me off a program I was considering or teach me something new about a program that moves it up on my list.

          For each specialty, you want to know different things. I'm someone who wants to do pediatrics, and eventually a fellowship. So to me a good website has the following characteristics:
          1) Professional looking, easy to navigate, easy to find the part for the residency program (it's intuitive to find it from the hospital's website)
          2) Contribution of material from someone high up in the program (i.e. welcome statements from the chair and program director)
          3) Details about the program : how many residents per class? Where is the hospital/what is it like? Salary/benefits?
          3) Details about the curriculum : how many months in the ER? the ICU? on the wards?
          4) Details about call : do you have night float? Are you q4 for all the years and it never gets better?
          5) What do graduates do? In what specialties do they get fellowships and where? Where do they do private practice?
          6) Details about how to apply : how many letters of recommendation? Should one of them be from the chairman of the department of pediatrics at my home institution?

          Without details (ESPECIALLY numbers 3 and 4), I wonder what the program is trying to hide.

          After you've applied, if you get an interview, they send you an email about scheduling the interview and also more info on their program (sometimes an email attachment with accomodations info, sometimes a snail mail brochure). I read all of this stuff, but again since I've applied I'm already interested in the program and it's not "junk mail." At the interview they give you a little folder with a lot of the info you'd find in a website, also maybe something about living in the city (visitor's guide, etc.). After the interview you don't really need any more info or stuff sent to you, sometimes they send you a follow-up email.


          bpkurtz
           

          Apollyon

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            Originally posted by HamSandwich
            i am v. suspicious of programs that do not include on their website what med schools their residents went to and where program grads are practicing now. again, what are they trying to hide?

            Where they are now is valuable, but where they went to med school is specious; that would appear to be an effort to flaunt that. If it really an issue, I don't think anyone at a program would have an issue telling you; at the same time, though, YOU might be the one looking a little suspicious, ya know?

            I've gained a new respect for Duke, because Duke will look at you, no matter where you're from, as long as you are the best. Plain and simple. There is no "USMD" bias. If you equate "FMG" with "dump", or "DO" with "dumb", maybe that's why you want to know where people went to med school. I give you Duke as an example where that dispels the myth.
             

            gimmedog

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              Originally posted by Apollyon
              Where they are now is valuable, but where they went to med school is specious; that would appear to be an effort to flaunt that. If it really an issue, I don't think anyone at a program would have an issue telling you; at the same time, though, YOU might be the one looking a little suspicious, ya know?

              I totally agree that school names shouldn't be used to jump to conclusions. I do have to say that it does help me to see whether the residents are largely regional or from their home institution, etc. Also have they ever taken anyone from my school? Though this doesn't predict whether they'll take me, it has helped me to track down these people since we have a similiar frame of reference. In my experience, these people were the most up front with me and have even let me crash during interview trips!


              Ugh! 6 interviews to go!
               

              freelancewriter

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                Thanks for your insights, and I hope that more people provide feedback. I'm learning a lot.

                In my search for residency Web sites without using Google (the old-fashioned approach of going to the hospital Web site, then trying to find the residency program) I found myself getting very frustrated.

                Google searches could be equally frustrating, since they would deep link you into a program, and the navigation scheme prevented getting to more basic information, such as salary, etc.

                FREIDA and CareerMD.com were a lifesaver in this respect.

                I suspected the importance of the Web, but the details on information that you consider helpful/necessary on a Web site are a great help.

                Someone commented on salary. My impression is that salary varies little. Are there benefits that vary greatly that are worth marketing?
                 

                misfit

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                  Freelancewriter:

                  You may also wish to look up www.scutwork.com for a major listing of U.S. residencies in every specialty. Not only does the site offer feedback from students/residents/interviewees about these programs, but it also has links to the residency's own website when available.

                  As far as salary, I, too, get the impression it veries little, but I am not yet in residency.

                  misfit
                   

                  Finally M3

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                    Originally posted by Apollyon
                    Where they are now is valuable, but where they went to med school is specious; that would appear to be an effort to flaunt that. If it really an issue, I don't think anyone at a program would have an issue telling you; at the same time, though, YOU might be the one looking a little suspicious, ya know?

                    I've gained a new respect for Duke, because Duke will look at you, no matter where you're from, as long as you are the best. Plain and simple. There is no "USMD" bias. If you equate "FMG" with "dump", or "DO" with "dumb", maybe that's why you want to know where people went to med school. I give you Duke as an example where that dispels the myth.

                    I think you will be seeing more and more of the USMD bias. Not saying that FMGs are less qualified, etc., but as federal funding for US residencies shrink, you will see more impetus for keeping spots open for US grads...

                    I think there was an AAMC or AMA paper essentially stating this.
                     

                    HamSandwich

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                      Originally posted by Apollyon
                      Where they are now is valuable, but where they went to med school is specious; that would appear to be an effort to flaunt that. If it really an issue, I don't think anyone at a program would have an issue telling you; at the same time, though, YOU might be the one looking a little suspicious, ya know?

                      I've gained a new respect for Duke, because Duke will look at you, no matter where you're from, as long as you are the best. Plain and simple. There is no "USMD" bias. If you equate "FMG" with "dump", or "DO" with "dumb", maybe that's why you want to know where people went to med school. I give you Duke as an example where that dispels the myth.

                      i dont know if it is suspicious to ask where residents went to med school....as a DO myself, I like to know as gimmedog said...do they prefer people from their home school/is there someone from my school in the program/are there DOs in the program? furthermore, i have worked with many FMGs in the inner city hospital where i did my third year. while most of these residents were brilliant and could run circles around many attendings (because they were a trauma surgeon in their country for 10 years and are now a medicine intern) i found that some of these residents had extremely thick accents and i lost a bit of my education by not being able to understand them during case presentations etc. it wasnt everyone certainly but enough to affect my education negatively.

                      additionally i emailed a program twice where i had an interview set up asking for a list of med schools attended and where their alumni are practicing now. i received my directions to the program etc via email but no answer to my questions.
                       
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