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Lives of Doctor Wives: Facebook question

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Facebook question

There is a great question over on the Facebook group:

"So, my med student and I have been wondering since he is 1/2 way through his 3rd year.... what makes a 'good' residency program? What should we be looking for in a program or in a location? Any advice? I hear so often people saying "Oh, yeah, that's a good program" or statements along those lines.... which is why I can't help but ask, well, what MAKES a program 'good'. I read the terms 'top tier' 'mid tier' and 'low tier' programs and wonder- how do you know where a program fits in those terms? Thanks!"

Any thoughts you want to share here or over on the group?



Blogger Jeni said...

That question has so many answers. It depends on what you're LOOKING for in a residency. My husband chose family practice, we were just about to have our fourth child (two in elementary school), and all our extended family pretty much lives in one state. So our top priorities were location, family friendliness, how they treat their residents and their families, and of course the education and experience my husband would get.

We chose a program that had a "partnership" model where they have weekly meetings with the faculty and residents, talk about what's working or what's not and vote on ways to improve things. 85% have families with children and that really appealed to us because they value families. We want our children to still know their dad by the time residency is over.

But we had friends who chose more competitive specialties (like derm) who really had to take what they could get.

Things you might want to consider when you narrow it down are housing, insurance, vacation days, call schedules, types of electives you're allowed. Our top two programs were very similar except that one had 9 months of inpatient medicine in the first year- brutal schedule - and for what my husband wants to do, not that important. Make pros and cons lists, make lists of questions to ask when you go interview. I had a friend who had separate folders for each place to just keep it all organized. Good luck!

December 15, 2010 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger Melisa said...

Not that it would have made a difference in our decision, but be sure to find out when or if moonlighting is allowed. Depending on your family situation, that could be important.

December 15, 2010 at 3:02 PM  
Blogger Jeni said...

Good one, Melisa! And to add to that one, ask how the new rules will effect the program and the interns and seniors. Our program has had to completely rearrange rules about moonlighting (because with the new rules moonlighting now has to be counted into their 80 hours per week) and interns aren't supposed to work more than 16 hour shifts with 10 hours off in between so the seniors at our program have to pick up the slack.

December 15, 2010 at 3:07 PM  
Blogger Melisa said...

Here is my comment over on the Facebook group:

That is a great question! We really wanted a program that was big enough to give him all the experience he needed. I have 3 kids and didn't really like the idea of him leaving for out-rotations for months on end. His program here covers 7 different hospitals, so everything he needs is in town. He still has to leave for courses, but that is only a week.

December 15, 2010 at 3:11 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Disclaimer - DrH graduated from med school in 2003, so some of this information may be outdated.

There are so many residencies out there and each with their own idiosyncrasies. Some residencies require a transitional year be completed. Depending on the field, the student could be looking at either a surgical or medicine internship. For neurology, psychiatry, and ER, it could be either. For dermatology and ophthalmology, it will be surgical.

For us, it was important to see how many spots the program had per class and how many hospitals they were expected to cover. What types of continuity clinic options were available. How much research time was allotted.

My DrH is on his second fellowship and is very research oriented and we knew he would be pursuing more training after residency. It was important to us to see what the match rate was for fellowships and where the residency program grads ended up. He also looked at the amount of grant money the department had and what the faculty was publishing so he could find good research mentors.

December 16, 2010 at 12:02 AM  
Blogger TheFamousStacie said...

Find out if a program is "malignant." Do the folks hang out together or hang each other out to dry?

Find out if they make you lie about your hours. A very close friend of mine had a husband in a program that forced him to lie about his 80 hrs and the dishonesty became a wedge in their marriage. He ended up quitting the program and switching specialties.

Your spouse can ask around to his deans at school etc... to find out this information.

December 16, 2010 at 9:35 PM  

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