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Fri, 2009-12-11 14:26
One left. That’s it! This process will really bring you too your knees at some points. The sad thing is now we simply have to sit around and wait for the match results. I mean does it really take that long to “compile” all that data in to a computer once everyone has submitted (around Jan 4th?). Oh well.
So with one program left to see I feel like I am sorting to get a handle on this whole evaluating programs thing. For me it has really broken down in to three different types of programs. Also given the fact I want to do academics after residency may make my impressions slanted. I will try and list a few programs for the third year med student who have no idea about which programs are of what type (i.e. me as an MS3). Of course it’s only my opinion and I of course may miss some obvious ones but you got to start somewhere. Hopefully others can give their own opinions.
1) Research Matters (So do it!)- These are programs that I think most everyone knows about. Some of them may say that they don’t push research but find that all there residents seem to “enjoy” doing it on their own. While that may be true for some residents I really believe it is because of the culture or tone set by the program. If you like research and want to do it anyway than this doesn’t matter. These programs also tend to focus more on the In-service exam and wanting you to present at regional and nation meetings (not simply attend). Naturally these places want you to do fellowships and would want nothing more than you to go on to be chair somewhere. I feel that with these types of programs one thing I looked at was to see if they still got good operative experience/variety and also time in the clinic (you need a lot of the basics in residency, not just the rare cases). For the most part it was not a problem, since these tend to be well run programs anyway. Also I looked at the residents to see if they are like me and seem to be enjoying their work. I don’t want to be stuck at some place like Wake Forest and be forced in to the lab.
Ex. University of Washington, UCLA, JHU, Mayo, Vanderbilt, Cornell…
2) Research is Cool (Try your hand at it)- Naturally these are places that are more middle of the road. They tend to have a mix of both residents and faculty with opposing views on how much research should be a part of the training. Some really want it while others feel it should only be the resident’s choice. This can make it a little dicey when interviewing with different faculty there and trying to get on everyone’s good side. They also tend to be places that are very busy clinically, whether by the own choice or the fact they are the only game in town. This clinical commitment usually means a good OR experience. The nice thing about these places is you can come in there and find out what kind of resident you want to be and then usually find a way to make it work (writing papers or just load up your OR time). The thing that may matter to some people is how many of the residents go on to fellowships or how many go in to private? I found that these numbers can vary quite a bit between these types pf programs so you have to look a little deeper than the commonly given “Well about 50% go on to do fellowships” answer.
Ex. USC, Colorado, UT Southwestern, University of Michigan, UC Irvine, Wash U, NYU, Columbia…
3) Research doesn’t pay the bills (You do, get back to the floors!)- Some places, for many different reasons, don’t do research. They tend to be the places that try and act like they do, while the places that do a lot of research are trying to act like they don’t run a paper mill (funny how that works). These programs can be small programs who simply don’t have the time or manpower to give too residents. Also they may be more community programs that service a lot of patients, maybe too many. Also the hospital may be part of a university that simply has not given the hospital a lot to work with (labs, PhD’s, money). For whatever the reason you see the residents really more concerned about the three ER consults and four SICU patients than they are about the upcoming AUA submission deadline. For some people this may be what they are looking for in a program because fact is most urologist go on to practice in this kind of environment. It can also be great for those who just hate research and really want o focus on their OR experience and clinical responsibilities with minimal red-tape and politics from faculty. Of course most residents at these places go on to private practice and get right in to living life (enough training already!). Saying all this I feel like all these programs have a resident (or faculty) who did publish a lot and went on to do academics, so of course they hold this fellow as the model of what their residency produces (even if the guy finished 15 years ago). But fact is these places train the urologist that make the world go round and simple don’t have the luxury or the opportunity to devote resources to research.
Ex. USF, SUNY’s, University of Illinois, OHSU, University of Arizona, Penn State,
Of course as you go through the whole process you will find places that tend to blend in to multiple categories. Also you find some that don’t fit it to either, which could be a very bad thing or a perfect situation thing. There may be one or two places you go to where they just have nothing going right for them (The Yale phenomenon). Research and things of that sort only play a part of the reasons you should want to go somewhere so keep that in mind. Location, Family, and many other big and small things come in to play but for me (at least prior to interviewing) finding out how places stand on research and fellowships was the hardest thing for me to grasp. I hope this helps some people and I am sorry if it offends others (i.e. I forgot to name program or “clearly have no idea what I am talking about” when it comes to your program). The list applicants have as their top choices before they start interviews is sometimes a far cry from the one you submit but for others (me) it is almost exactly the same. There is only one way to find out, interview!