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How Do I Choose the Best Medical Residency Program?

Med school graduates must complete a residency training program.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 12 June 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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There are many things to consider when the time comes to choose a medical residency program. Among them are your interests in terms of the types of patients you want to treat and the kinds of illnesses, disorders, and injuries that most interest you. In addition, you may consider such things as the stability of the medical residency program and scheduling flexibility when making your choice. The level of support you can expect and the opinions of residents currently in the program may prove important as well.

Part of choosing the best medical residency program is selecting one based on your interests and the experiences you had during medical school, volunteer work, or an internship. If you've developed an interest in working with a particular type of patient, such as the elderly or children, you may do well to choose a residency program that will allow you to pursue this interest. Likewise, if you have a preference when it comes to treating particular types of disorders, you may prefer a residency program that will focus on such conditions.

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You may also do well to consider the stability of the residency program you are considering. Unfortunately, it is possible for a residency training program to suffer as a result of cutbacks and mergers. To ensure you will have to deal with the least amount of upheaval during your residency training, you may do well to learn as much as possible about the program’s financial outlook before you select it. You may also inquire about whether or not the program has a permanent department chairperson and program director.

When attempting to choose the best medical residency program, you may also find it beneficial to select one that is very supportive of its residents. You can learn how much support you are likely to receive by speaking to current residents and learning what their complaints are. You may also use the residency program’s turnover rates to help you make your decision. While some turnover is normal, a high level of turnover may indicate a problem. Likewise, you may want to find out how many of the residents stay at the institution to complete fellowships.

Flexibility may also prove important when you are trying to choose the best medical residency program. It is normal to have a schedule to which to adhere, but some scheduling flexibility may help you to have a satisfactory personal life outside of training, deal with unforeseen circumstances, and take advantage of opportunities such as conferences and seminars. Likewise, if you are a female, it may be important to determine how difficult it would be to get time off in the event of a pregnancy.

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