This is part 1 of 4 in a series of articles about what makes a program a good one.
|education in residency training|
Current resident satisfaction about the educational aspect of program: this one is easy to ask when you are interviewing. If you missed the chance to ask the residents, then make sure you write to them, emails or even phone calls to go back and ask about how well they think the program prepares them for future life as a physician. Also, if you have been invited for a second look this may be a good opportunity for you to delve into this a little deeper. Ask for how many didactic sessions there are, ask for what is expected of a resident when they present cases in noon or morning conference. Are they encouraged to present cases or abstracts to scientific and medical meetings? All of these will be important clues as to how committed is the program to education of the. Some of the things to ask are
- How often and when are morning reports
- What is taught in noon conferences
- Is there active teaching on rounds
- Is there an opportunity to teach and interact with medical students and other medical staff (RN, PA, Pharm etc)
- Are residents encouraged to present cases and present in meetings?
- What is the level of research support for residents?
Successful fellowship transitions and post graduation careers: Another rough metric to see if there is a good amount of research, didactic and educational support at the program is to see how may residents end up getting into a fellowship from the program. This would be another question to ask the program coordinator or even look up on the program website. If the program is on top of things and updates its home page each year then they will usually also indicate what the recent graduates of the program are doing. See if any recent graduates have made it to top rates institutions (Harvard, Mayo, Johns Hopkins etc) for fellowships. Also, you can do some research about the medical subspecialties from ABIM.org about number of fellowships based on the subspecialty.
Residency program pass rates: a fair (I am not saying the best or even the most important) indicator of how well the residents are trained in program is looking at the pass rates for the residency program. Each specialty like internal medicine, pediatrics, radiology, family medicine etc have their own American board of __, which oversees the certification exam. Dig a little deeper and find out how the program did in these certification exams. For example, the program pass rates for family medicine based on the programs are here and the ABIM pass rates are here. If the residents are not given enough teaching and do not have time to study on their own in view of continued patient care or just scutwork then it is going to be reflected on poor exam scores and thus may be an indirect assessment of the education provided.
The above sources and information should be able to provide the applicant with a fair to decent idea about the nature and quality of education being provided at the institution. If you think of any other metrics to assess the education being provided by the program please leave a comment!