Saturday, January 03, 2004

Ah the wintertime, when fourth-year medical students around the country travel form coast to coast interviewing for residency positions. Almost as fun as interviewing for a real job. I had lunch the other day with a medical student who wanted to go into surgery (poor soul) and asked me about the interview process and that got me thinking about my own interview experiences. Luckily for me the fourth-year requirements at my medical school were pretty lax (only six months of rotations were required) so I was able to take a good deal of time off to interview. I was pretty much on the road for December and January of my fourth year.
At that time surgery resident interviews were held on Saturdays. The reasons for this were twofold: Grand Rounds could be a part of the interview, and since there were no elective cases over the weekend the faculty could give full attention to the applicants. That may be different now with the eighty-hour workweek limits are making Saturday conferences passe'.

Some of the highlights of my interview trek:

University of Tennessee, Memphis
Very good program, and at the time,very large. One of the highlights was touring the Elvis Aaron Presley Trauma Center. We were proudly shown the room were Elvis died. Quite the tourist attraction during"Dead Elvis Week"

University of Louisville
This was an interesting interview for two reasons: One was the opportunity to meet the chairman, Dr. Hiram Polk. Dr. Polk had (has) the reputation of running a very tight program and firing residents on the spot if they displeased him. A part of the interview day was rounds with Dr. Polk and the residents, quite a show. The other was having the chance to read our Dean's letters and recommendations, as we carried our application files from session to session. During this trip I paid a very fun visit to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY.

Georgetown University
My first interview. The mission of this program is to generate academic surgeons (a point not well made when I applied). The highlights were observing the Russian Embassy through my hotel window and touring the National Cathedral.

University of Arkansas
Hillary Clinton was in Little Rock during the time of my interview. The ED had a trauma room taped off for her in case something happened.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
A large program, taking thirteen residents a year. Spent a few days in Dallas and toured the Sixth Floor Museum. Historical tour of the ED where Kennedy died.

Interviewing is a tiring and expensive process, and like many applicants, I canceled many interviews because I became tired and ran out of money.

The American College of Surgeons has an excellent resource for those applying for or considering a surgical residency here.
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