It might be hard to have an objective conversation about this here, but I'm not really sure how else to go about this. I loved everything about Penn on my interview day, but I'm apprehensive becuase of the reputation it has for being brutally grueling. Despite this reputation though, the residents seemed happy. Could someone who rotated there or goes to Penn med school comment on this? Is it possible to train there and still have time for a life or family outside of the hospital? Are people actually happy, or just putting on a good front for the applicants?Thanks!
and if anyone could comment on their robotic/minimally invasive exposure. Thank you very much
I did an away at penn. Outstanding training with both open and robot. Dr Lee at one of the sites does ~5/day. Even though he has a fellow the chief was doing important parts of the operation like the bladder neck dissection and the reanastamosis. The resident will have a solid RALP when he's finished. All of the residents that you will be working with are quite good. The reputation that penn has will be graduating with the current upper level residents and a lot of the juniors I spoke with went out of their way to help their younger peers. They were not putting on a front and were genuinely happy. That being said the penn residents do work quite a bit, but mostly at the main hospitals. They have smaller hospitals that they spend 6 mos of the year or so that are much lighter in load and residents will use these months to write papers or just enjoy philly
while a resident at Penn, one of the founders of this site had plenty of time for both academic and extracurricular endeavors. between the 3 residents in that Penn class (there are now 4 residents per year) we also had 9 children. philadelphia is one of the best places in the country to train as a urologist. all philly programs are extremely solid.-A. Kutikov
I am one of the chief residents at PENN Urology and am happy to answer some of your questions and concerns. I came to PENN ~5 years ago and was single when I started residency. As I approach the conclusion of my residency, I am now very happily married for 1.5 years, have time to work out 4-5 times per week, have a great life outside of the hospital, so it is certainly possible to train here and have time for a life and family outside of the hospital. Two of my co-residents were also single at the start of their residency and one is currently happily married and the other in a very serious relationship. Our other co-resident in my year was in a relationship coming into the residency and is now engaged. All of my co-residents have time for family, friends, and have a life outside of the hospital. Philly is a fun and affordable city with great restaurants and night life. There are numerous parks in the surrounding area where you can jog, bike, walk, etc... Philly is also very affordable compared to the surrounding northeast cities. It is very close to New York (my wife commutes to NY a couple times a week without a problem), Washington, D.C., Poconos, Jersey Shore/Atlantic City. The rest of the world is hours away from the East Coast....my wife and I vacationed in France a few mos. ago and the flight to Paris was only 6.5 hrs. or the Carribean is a 2.5 hr. flight away. So, certainly the east coast is a perfect gateway to the rest of the world and you have vacation time during residency to enjoy it!As far as whether the residents at PENN are truly happy vs. putting on a good show for the applicants, let me be very clear. The residents at this program pride ourselves in being completely and unequivocally honest with each and every applicant that comes through here. We hide NOTHING! Why? Because it is our philosophy that any resident that comes to this program should be equipped with full knowledge of how this program works. We want happy residents and the last thing that we would want is to put on a show for the applicants such that when the applicant comes to our program, he or she feels betrayed or unhappy b/c of misrepresentation during the interview day. Does that happen? Yes but NOT at PENN and we pride ourselves on this aspect and we pride ourselves on taking great residents that are truly happy in this program.Let me answer one last concern and that has to do with this 'reputation' for PENN being brutally grueling. Urology is a surgical specialty and like any surgical specialty, Urology is no exception when it comes to long hours and hard work. The program at PENN is very special because we have world famous faculty starting with our chief, Alan J. Wein, who despite his world-wide fame and accomplishments, values and cares for his residents very much and from day one has the residents address him on a first name basis. This is no exception when it comes to the remaining faculty. Our program offers tremendous sugical volume and autonomy and the program is exceptionally strong in all major fields of Urology. If anyone is concerned about hard work, then neither PENN nor any other top Urologic program in this country is for you. However, if you do not mind working hard but with amazing rewards and upside where you will graduate as a skilled and confident Urologist ready to take on either private practice or Academia without hesitation, in a great city after only 5 years, with great co-residents and faculty, from unquestionably one of the best programs in this country, then PENN is for you. I am proud to be a resident at PENN!If you or anyone has any further questions or concerns that you would like honestly answered, please feel free to contact our residency coordinator, Helen Scanlon. She has all of the residents contact informations and can provide that for you. Feel free to contact any of the residents for their honest opinions.Gene Veltman, M.D. PGY-5
As a current chief resident at Penn I feel I might be able to help answer your questions. My residency experience has been outstanding. The training is superb and I feel very comfortable with all aspects of urologic surgery. The robotic and lap experience is exceptional. You will not find a better open surgical experience. I have kept in touch with many of my colleagues who recently finished penn and are in private practice. They feel very comfortable with robot /lap and in there first month out have been doing robot partials, robot nephus, and robot prostates. I'm very comfortable saying that the surgical and clinical experience is arguably the Best in the country.social life: I wouldn't exacty call the penn program brutal. If you want a Cush residency where you don't have to work hard and subsequently are willing to accept the fact that your training will be sacrificed then I would not try to match at penn. that being said, the program is very reasonable and frankly I found it to be easier than expected after completing my pgy 2 year. The program is front loaded. The second year is hard but very doable. Philly is awesome. I met my wife here intern year and married recently. lots of residents have done the program with kids. I have had a blast living here and as the end approaches I already know I will miss it. The program is not brutal. Everyone works as a team and all the residents are highly respected by the other programs. Even though one of the four years is difficult it has significantly improved since I went through. There is a pa who does all the floor work at pensy which is a huge relief for the secod year resident there. The second year call schedule at chop is much improved as well. The last three years of my residency have been awesome. Not to mention intern year which is relatively easy. I have plenty of free time and the call schedule is very very reasonable. Penn is a fantastic program and I am proud to go here. Other than wanting my program to continue to attract te best applicants I really have no reason to lie or bend the truth as I will be leaving in 6 months. Residents here will tell u the truth. Be careful trying to find out about programs from students who rotate for a month. I've Been here five years. Reid Graves
Gene and Reid - this is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply!
For the future applicants who apply to Uro and look at this forum: I rotated at a so-called malignant, but top 10, Uro program and I have to say that it was pretty malignant. Residents were worked pretty hard, too many patients to round on, less "laid-back"/cool residents, talking trash about each other and a-holes to the med students, etc. When I went back for my interview day, things suddenly went 180. I'm not sure if the residents were on drugs, but the same a-hole residents were so friendly and nice to me/other applicants. They were also talking about their awesome social life, how well they get along with each other, how non-malignant their program is, bla bla. The point, I'm trying to make is: Interview season is a time for a massive amounts of BS from everyone. From the trail, I've noticed every single resident talk up their program. Just as the med students put up a front for the interview day, the residents do the same, whether conscious or subconscious. I'd like to conclude by saying: take every single opinion about a program's non-academic qualities from a resident/med student with a grain of salt and go with your gut. For some people (thick skinned people, like myself), the quality of the urologic training at the elite institutions is so awesome, that the crappy residents/life may not matter that much.
Sorry, not too comfortable with saying the program name. It's a top 10 in the midwest.