Questions to Ask Residency Program Directors and Residents

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Questions to Ask Residency Program Directors and Residents

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Always remember that the best questions are those built on prior knowledge of the program trying to gather more information that would help you rank the programs.

Make sure NOT to ask questions that have answers available online. Do your homework by searching all the information available online before your residency interview.

  • Some of the questions for the residents will be similar to those for the faculty. I tried to put the questions that you can ask for each group separately even though some will be repeated.
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Questions to Ask Residency Program Directors and Faculty

General

1. What are the strengths of this program?

2. What would you like to change about the program in the coming years?

3. Have there been any changes in the program recently based on the residents’ feedback?

4. What do you like the most about this program?

5. If you had to change three things about this program, what would they be?

6. How would you describe the relationship between the residents and faculty?

7. If you were in my shoes, would you choose to train at this program? And why?

8. What are the changes that are expected to happen in this program in the next five years?

9. What has the program done in the last five years to improve diversity and inclusion among the residents and faculty?

Clinical

10. How would you describe the clinical experience at this program?

11. I’m interested in head and neck reconstruction. How is the exposure to these types of surgeries?

12. I saw that there are six months of elective time during the third year. What options are available to residents during this time?

13. Regarding clinical experience, which areas are the best in this program and which areas are the weakest?

14. Can you tell me about the resident autonomy in the operating room?

15. If you had to change one thing about the program clinically, what would that be?

16. When do residents start doing laparoscopic appendicectomies?

17. Do you see a diverse type of patient population in the city?

18. There are four residency programs in the city. Does that affect the volume and clinical exposure of the residents in this program?

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Research

19. Can you tell me about the research opportunities at this program?

20. On average, how many projects do residents get involved in during their training?

21. I have an interest in assessing the surgical outcomes of breast reconstruction. Are there opportunities in this program to help me nurture this interest?

22. Do you have a dedicated research lab?

23. Do you have a dedicated statistician?

24. Do you have dedicated research personnel to help with research?

25. Are there any mandatory years to do research?

26. I’m interested in identifying ways to improve healthcare disparities. What resources does your program offer to help me achieve that?

27. What support is there to conduct clinical research projects in this program?

28. I read on the website that you have multiple labs assessing the outcome of chemotherapy on breast cancer recurrence. Are there any opportunities for residents to be involved in these projects?

29. I’m interested in pursuing a fellowship in critical care and I saw that there are two mandatory years of research during this residency. Am I allowed to take one of the two years to do this fellowship?

30. I saw that you do research in hepatocellular carcinoma, and this is one of my interests. Are there opportunities for residents to help with your research? 

Residents

31. How would you describe a resident that would fit in well among the resident group?

32. What type of applicants is this program looking for?

33. How is the mentorship model in this program?

34. Do residents get to choose their mentor or are they assigned one?

35. What is the mentorship model in this program?

Education

36. I’m interested in education, and I helped tutor many medical students in my school. Are there opportunities for me to be involved in medical student education in this program?

37. What resources do you have to help residents with board exams?

38. How is the board passing rate at this program?

39. Do you have a dedicated simulation lab?

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Future career

40. What percentage of your residents go into fellowship versus straight to practice?

41. What percentage of your residents go to academics versus private practice?

42. I’m interested in a critical care fellowship. What percentage of the residents go into this fellowship?

43. I’m interested in a cardiology fellowship. Is it possible for me to pursue that fellowship after training at this program?

44. What percentage of the residents match at their top fellowship choice?

45. What do residents who graduate from this program typically do after residency?

46. I’m interested in academic medicine. Is it possible for me to pursue academia after training at this program?

47. I’m interested in academic medicine. What resources and support does the program offer to help me achieve that goal?

48. Is there any fellowship that is hard to get into after training at this program?

49. Do graduates of this program find jobs easily after training here?


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Questions to Ask Residents 

General

1. What are the strengths of this program?

2. What would you like to change about the program in the coming years?

3.  Have there been any changes in the program recently based on the residents’ feedback?

4.  What do you like the most about this program?

5.  If you had to change three things about this program, what would they be?

6.  How would you describe the relationship between the residents?

7.  How would you describe the relationship between the residents and faculty?

8.  What do you like to do when all the residents get together?

9.  Are you allowed to moonlight during residency?

Clinical

10. How would you describe the clinical experience at this program?

11. I’m interested in head and neck reconstruction. How is the exposure to these types of surgeries?

12. I saw that there are six months of elective time during the third year. What options are available to residents during this time?

13. Regarding clinical experience, which areas are the best in this program and which areas are the weakest?

14. Can you tell me about the resident autonomy in the operating room?

15. If you had to change one thing about the program clinically, what would that be?

16. Do you have PAs and nurses to help with clinical duties?

17. By the time residents are in their chief year, about how many cases have they scrubbed in for?

18. When do residents start doing laparoscopic appendicectomies?

19. Do you see a diverse type of patient population in the city?

20. Can you please tell me about the clinical responsibilities on the medical ICU?

21. Which hospital(s) do you spend the most time in?

22. How many hospitals do you rotate at?

Research

23. Can you tell me about the research opportunities at this program?

24. On average, how many projects do residents get involved in during their training?

25. I have an interest in assessing the surgical outcomes of breast reconstruction. Are there opportunities in this program to help me nurture this interest?

26. Do you have a dedicated research lab?

27. Do you have a dedicated statistician?

28. Do you have dedicated research personnel to help with research?

29. Do you have dedicated time to do research during residency?

30. Do you get funding and time off for meeting presentations?

31. Are there any mandatory years to do research?

32. I’m interested in identifying ways to improve healthcare disparities. What resources does your program offer to help me achieve that?

33. What support is there to conduct clinical research projects in this program?

34. I read on the website that you have multiple labs assessing the outcome of chemotherapy on breast cancer recurrence. Are there any opportunities for residents to be involved in these projects?

35. I’m interested in pursuing a fellowship in critical care and I saw that there are two mandatory years of research during this residency. Am I allowed to take one of the two years to do this fellowship

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Fun/Wellness

36. Which areas of the city do most of the residents live in?

37. What is the percentage of residents in this program that own vs. rent?

38. How is the call schedule in this program?

39. What has the program done to improve resident wellness?

40. What are some fun things to do in the city?

41. How is the food scene in the city?

42. How is the art scene in the city?

43. Are there good places to hike around the city?

44. How is the weather here throughout the year?

45. Do I need a car while training at this program or can I use the transportation system or a bike?

46. I love classical music. Are there any concerts in the city?

47. I’m interested in watching some football games. If I was fortunate enough to match at your program, do you usually get free tickets to attend these games?

48. What percentage of the residents are married?

49. What percentage of the residents have children?

50. What percentage of the female residents have children?

51. Do you have maternity leave in this program?

52. I saw that three residents left the program. What was the reason for that?

53. Is it easy to find parking at this program?

54. How many weeks of vacation do you have a year?

55. What is the average cost of living in the city?

Education

56. What resources do you have to help residents with board exams?

57. Do residents get to choose their mentor or are they assigned one?

58. What is the mentorship model in this program?

59. How is the board passing rate at this program?

60. Do you have a dedicated simulation lab?

Future career

61. What percentage of your residents go into fellowship versus straight to practice?

62. What percentage of your residents go to academics versus private practice?

63. I’m interested in a critical care fellowship. What percentage of the residents go into this fellowship?

64. I’m interested in a cardiology fellowship. Is it possible for me to pursue that fellowship after training at this program?

65. What percentage of the residents match at their top fellowship choice?

66. What do residents who graduate from this program typically do after residency?

67. I’m interested in academic medicine. Is it possible for me to pursue academia after training at this program?

68. I’m interested in academic medicine. What resources and support does the program offer to help me achieve that goal?

69. Is there any fellowship that is hard to get into after training at this program?

70. Do graduates of this program find jobs easily after training here?

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I would like to thank again everyone who worked and helped with this list. I hope it helps you to navigate US residency programs. Good luck everyone on your US residency journey.

With Love,

Dr. Malke Asaad

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