🚩Residency Program Red Flags You Need to Know

Medical Students

Happy Halloween Eve Eve!🎃

These past few weeks we've been discussing some critical aspects of residency interviews and how to be successful on the interview trail🛤️.

One thing that I mentioned in last week's newsletter is to always remember that as much as residency programs are interviewing you, you are also interviewing them.

No residency program is perfect, and they will all have their flaws. However, there are certain "red flags" to be aware of that could indicate a particular program is toxic, has a poor culture, or is just not be worth the hassle🙅.

Here are 5 red flags about residency programs, both from personal experience and researching the topic⬇️

🚩 Poorly planned interview day. Residency programs take interview days very seriously. And they should! After all, this is the time of year when they are meeting with the future of their program💪. I remember attending a residency interview day that had no agenda and no structure. The residency faculty ended up fumbling around looking for things to see and people for us to talk to. Bad sign😱. If they aren't prioritizing putting their best foot forward for interviewees, they likely won't prioritize you as a resident.

🚩 Little to no face time with residents on interview day. One of the biggest resources for a potential resident to better understand if a certain program is a good fit for them is talking to a current resident. If a program doesn't allow their residents to interview you or at least speak with you❌, that means they are either forcing residents to work or are excluding them due to concerns they may say something negative about the program🤬.

🚩 Bias against DOs, IMGs, or other groups. Although this issue is improving, some programs still unfortunately hold a negative stigma towards students from osteopathic medical schools as well as international medical graduates (IMGs)👎🏼. If a program does not have any current residents that are DOs or IMGs listed on their website, or if there are signs they do not routinely interview DOs or IMGs, it may very well not be worth your time and money to apply and interview there.

🚩 Inappropriate interview questions. As critical as residency interviews are, there are certain things that do not need to be discussed. I have heard terrible situations where interviewees were asked about ridiculous things like racial issues, political affiliation, even if they plan on getting pregnant during residency🤦🏽‍♀️. If you are asked a question that makes you uncomfortable, it could represent an abuse of power and that is not okay.

🚩 Lack of wellness initiatives. Residency is hard, and fatigue and burnout are real issues. In response to this, programs have created wellness initiatives as a means to help their residents find a better work-life balance⚖️. Wellness initiatives may include things like an annual residency retreat, monthly dinners, planned social outings, certain days off at the end of a block, and more. If a program does not proudly mention this or if you ask and they give a bad answer, that may indicate they are not taking care of their residents very well☹️.

This list is by no means complete, and red flags may vary from person-to-person. Nonetheless, these are some important things to be on the lookout for when interviewing at a residency program. If you are going to be working hard for them, the least they can do is be honest and take care of you🤗.

❤️ Something I love: These Verb Energy Bars. I have been a fan of Verb since discovering them in residency because they are a healthier, cheaper option for a caffeine energy boost compared to Dunkin or Starbucks.

My schedule at work has been rough this week, but the birthday cake flavor of Verb has been keeping me from imploding!

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