What really matters to residents and why?

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by Back34, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. Back34

    Back34 Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Jul 30, 2002
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    Somebody started a thread about how they felt like a fraud going into their interviews -- couldn't have said it better myself. I was planning on family med up until a month ago when I finished my EM elective and was hooked. I wound up with a dozen interviews scheduled (the first is next Saturday) and don't have the first clue how to respond to the ubiquitous "do you have any questions for us" question because of my lack of experience with the field. Actually I do, but they're the same old tired questions you can find circulating on the internet.

    Thus, for the residents, what is it that makes or breaks a program? Knowing what you know now, what are the questions that MUST be asked when interviewing? Thanks.
  2. roja

    7+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2003
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    Attending Physician
    It sounds corny but "resident happiness index' is really crucial.

    Depending on your personal interests things to ask about:

    -International medicine
    -Ultrasound experience
    -Resident responsibility (do you end up as a senior running a team to prepare you for attending).
    -in NYC, housing is a big issue
    -happiness (this is really really key....)
    -direct admissions in the hospital? (do you have to fight to get your admission in or do the teams have to take your admissions)
    -fellowship (how many residents get it when they apply?)
    -diversity of attendings

    Other things:
    -Benefits (depending on where you are this can vary)
    -CME money
    -Conference attendance (if you get an abstract accepted, is conference paid for)
    -regular Conference: protected? not protected? structure?
    -departmental relationships (how are they? really anatagonistic relations can make your residency hard)

    I'll try and think of some others.
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  3. The White Coat Investor

    The White Coat Investor Practicing Doc and Blogger
    Physician Partner Organization 10+ Year Member

    Nov 18, 2002
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    Attending Physician
    You do not need a generic list of MUST ASK questions. You need YOUR list of must-ask questions. It may take you a few rotations or a few interviews or some discussions with a significant other to determine what it is, but when you do, that should be all that matters. By the time you get to one of your later interviews, you should only have a few questions and you should ask them to everyone you meet to compare their responses.

    My list:

    Do the residents like to do the same things I like to do?
    Is this residency close to the outdoors?
    Has the residency been around long enough to work out the kinks (especially with off-service rotations)?
    Is this residency attractive enough that it doesn't have to take people that I will worry when I sign out my patients to them?
    How much preparation do the residents put into their presentations? (These last two questions show why I wanted to go to a competitive residency.)
    Is there a commitment to the residency by the faculty? (Difficult to determine without rotating there)
    Will I learn to do ultrasound basics (I defined as GB, FAST, Aorta, US-guided lines, intracavitary pelvic US for IUP, abscess vs cellulitis, bladder, cardiac for arrest/pericardial effusion)
    Does this residency have an above average pediatrics experience (hard to define)
    Will I see "enough" trauma ( I defined as greater than 3000 traumas brought to the facility per year.)
    Is there more than one month of internal medicine wards?
    Is it longer than 3 years?
    Will my wife be happy here?
    Can I afford to live here without taking out more loans?
    Does this residency have a good sign-out culture, or do 12 hour shifts stretch into 14 hour shifts?
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  4. BKN

    BKN Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Oct 31, 2005
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    Two questions you must have answered:

    1. What is the current accreditation status of this program? Ask it of the PD. It's actually available at the ACGME website, but it shows you know what's important. Learn what the answers mean from Iserson's book.

    2. Ask the chair or most senior faculty you meet: Do you think the program and institution are financially stable? You don't want the ship to go down while you are shoveling coal in the boiler room. It happens occasionally.

    Although both of these questions are somewhat sensitive,you shouldn't fear asking them. If someone gets defensive, that's an answer.

    BKN, P.D.

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