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USMG Residency Match Forum United States Medical Graduates and Students discussing the Residency Matching Process.

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Old 09-10-2013
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Warning! Malignant Residency: Cook County/Stroger IM

This post reflects the collective views of a few Cook County/Stroger Internal Medicine residents. The reason for this is to increase awareness given our first hand experience in hopes to enforce change.

I, like many of my fellow foreign resident colleagues, came here looking for a positive American experience. But the culture and intolerant mentality of our Internal medicine department administration makes you regret setting foot here. The reasons for this are your ward attendings, firm ABC attendings, chief residents and program directors. Their primary goal here is to constantly butcher, terrorize and intimidate in order to maintain ownership over the residents. The environment is by default very accusational as everything is “your fault”. This place is strictly resident-run, so do not expect to sit for even a single second. Do not expect any appreciation for those long back-breaking hours you put in. But come morning-report, be ready to literally be fingered up the @$$ for what you did NOT do in the wee hours of your night-call while admitting, cross-covering, running Codes---all while you are functioning as the procedure service, RN, the phlebotomist, transport and sometimes janitor. Given these circumstances, you are going to make mistakes---Why else would you be in training? As expected with such a malignant program, nothing is confidential. A small dispute with a senior resident/attending will be magnified to such an extent that you will be subjected to work with those same abrasive people repeatedly. It is their sick and sadistic approach for some reality show entertainment, so bend over. Three residents did leave this year due to related issues.

Given that there are no research opportunities, one is better off going to any other community program where there is little to no scut work, a supportive environment and a decent work/life balance. Fellowship opportunities are just as limited because of funding and politics. County will boast about their commitments with Rush/UIC, but both of these hospitals have their own qualified IM residents going for these same fellowships. The attendings and directors at County have little to no power outside of this institution, however they will gladly go out of their way to sabotage your fellowship chances internally. Do not be fooled by the lovely smiles of our female directors, this is a very TOXIC program with lots of empty promises and shattered dreams.

Overall, a very hostile program in west Chicago with unhappy residents and faculty. The malignant administration/PDs do very little to improve these areas in order to make resident experiences rewarding. This is a resident-run program with way much time spent doing actual physical labor. The didactics are good if you are caught up with your work by noon, however given the time-constraints and pressure to 'get things done' with little help from lazy seniors at times, you will most likely sign in and then page yourself out. Attendings contribute very little to patient care and usually are gone by 1pm. During night-calls, there is no attending coverage---good luck getting a hold of the sleepy specialty fellows. Given that there are limited slots available throughout, i.e. scheduling CTs, MRI, surgery, echo, etc---you are usually fighting like a hungry pitbull just to prioritize your patients. The staff throughout the hospital is unionized, so they have no motivation to work hard at all, meaning YOU must get everything done. This of course leads to very limited personal time outside of work, as you will be too exhausted to study, spend time with family or even go out with buddies to see Chicago.

Counting down the days until graduation! Cheers and good luck in the Match!!
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voicesinmyhead (10-28-2013)

Old 10-01-2013
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Just a few remarks on what has been posted above.

It is extremely sad that you have perceived the program as an unfriendly one. As a recent graduate from the IM categorical program, I can say with MORE experience, that I have never felt targeted in the program. Starting with my interview day, it has felt like a friendly place to work and learn in. The attendings put in a lot of effort into conducting the morning reports and teaching on rounds. The range of cases we present and talk about is so wide that it merits mention. After stepping out of County, I can say little surprises me in the medicine field. The bedside rounds are exceptional. One learns from teachers with years of experience seasoned with EBM backed knowledge. There is an easy way to build your CV - you see enough variety of patients to send in abstracts for ACP / SGIM and County has very good representation at these conferences. Lastly, about the interview placements - I can say this ( since I applied for fellowship myself) that one interviews at Ivy League universities if you have cared to work on your CV. The program fully supports it, infact the program director takes a personal interest in it.

I hope I have convinced people that it isnt a dark and dreary place. We have a lot of IMGs yes, and they work in harmony. Doesnt it say a lot about a place that is able to achieve a cohesive workforce drawn from >50 countries across the world?
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