Sunday 20 November 2011

Top online information sources for residency applicants

Do your homework well
There are many reasons why you should do your homework before choosing a place for for an interview or even looking up about a program before you rank them. There are many forums dedicated to this purpose and most of the applicants including myself have used a forum for obtaining more information. This article does not discuss the forums but in fact places emphasis on other online sources of information for residency applicants. 

Questions you must ask yourself
You need to know what the place is like, what are their values, where is it, who are you going to work with, is the place safe, is it going to be an educational experience, what is the work load like. There are many questions which are fortunately answered or are available to be answered online!

Check out these sources
If you are wanting to look in to the place or the city that you are going to here are some excellent resources

This provides the most comprehensive information regarding any city in the US.  - you name it and it has it. An excerpt from the site introduction says how much information this website has to help the applicant - "
population, demographic, transport, governance, weather, crime data, registered sex offenders, cost of living, housing, religions, businesses, local news links based on our exclusive technology, birthplaces of famous people, political contributions, city government finances and employment, weather, tornadoes, earthquakes, hospitals, schools, libraries, houses, airports, radio and TV stations, zip codes, area codes, air pollution, latest unemployment data, time zones, water systems and their health and monitoring violations, comparisons to averages, local poverty details, professionally written city guides, car accidents, fires, bridge conditions, cell phone and other towers, mortgage data, business storefront photos, ...etc"

2. Wikipedia: This is of course known by all. Wikipedia the place or the hospital before you go so that you know a little geography, history and philosophy of the place that you are going to. It helps to look smart at an interview

Then there are some good resources for checking into programs and residencies

1. Scutwork: This is a site where there are reviews about the residency programs from residents or graduates from the program. This website is good but suffers from the same drawbacks as other sites with anonymous reporting, there is usually no verification of the source. but this is better than having no information at all.

2. Google: You can use google and its tools to gather information about a program or a hospital. Use google images or videos to get information about programs. sometime, there are videos on youtube from faculty or program directors that you can bring up in conversation. If you tell a faculty that you recognized them from a video online while you were researching the place, trust me, they are going to remember you. Use google maps to locate the place and get directions. Another great resource to get a scoop on the hospital and program is google news. You can get information and news regarding the hospital that you can use to decide your rank order list or even interview options. Just type in the name of the hospital or program and see if it has been in the news lately for good reasons (or bad!).

3. Website of the department or hospital:
This is also the best resource for looking up on faculty and details of the program. This is of course the first place most applicants turn to but it should not be the only place you look for information when you blazing the interview circuit.

For those questions that you cannot find and answer to are the questions you should pose at an interview. This will make you look well researched, smart and make you stand out from the crowd. 

If you find this useful, please spread the word - 'like' on Facebook or 'stumble upon'/'digg' this. Thanks.

Related posts that may be useful for the applicant include

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