Attach to Residency Program:
Virginia Commonwealth University
If you were an applicant, why would you choose to train in your residency program?:
Environment: The environment for training is exceptional at VCU and in the Richmond community in general. The training includes rotations at our main university hospital, our Veterans Affairs Hospital, and a private practice rotation with a large urology group in town. Through these diverse experiences, the residents really get a comprehensive exposure to all levels of urology and see a wide range of clinical and operative cases. We have also made the surgical internship a much more worthwhile and rewarding experience in that pre-urology residents are given a dedicated month in radiology and pathology as well as six months of dedicated urology training. In the VCU program, we realize that there is far more benefit to rotating in these areas then doing long hours of non-operative floor work for other surgical services. Finally, the program offers a dedicated 6-month research rotation. This allows residents to gain exposure to basic science work and the majority have commented that the experience has been highly rewarding. It also allows residents to “change gears” and focus on their long-term career and family plans. Finally, the Richmond lifestyle is ideal for residents. I trained in New York City where I lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment and accumulated a significant amount of credit card debt. In Richmond, residents can choose to own a home in the nearby suburbs or rent an apartment in the busy downtown district which offers a thriving social scene. The location is great in that I’m a 45 minute flight back to New York or an hour and 45 min drive to D.C. In summary, Richmond is ideally located and convenient for people from both the North and the South. Collegial Atmosphere: Here at VCU, we are dedicated to resident training and have a residents-first attitude. In the OR, residents are expected to perform the majority of ALL cases. Our six full-time faculty are all 50 years old or younger and understand the importance of this type of training. The faculty are approachable and really take extra time to individualize training for each resident’s particular needs. We like to consider the residents and faculty as part of one cohesive family unit. We all get along easily and generally, although training may at times be long and difficult, most of the residents really enjoy their work and their training.
What is your program looking for in a graduating medical student?:
Here at VCU, we are generally looking for “team players” who are motivated, energetic and are looking forward to growth and positive change. We are a young faculty and are constantly striving toward continued improvement. We want our residents to be part of this growth and change and encourage their participation. We want them to be efficient enough to enjoy their outside lives as much as their work. We want them to be bright enough to be competitive with residents in any training program in the country.
What part of an application do you consider most important in ranking applicants?:
All of our applicants are expected to meet certain minimum criteria in terms of grades, class rank, and board scores. However, once applicants make it to an interview, we generally feel that they should all get an equal shot. Higher ranks are given to those individuals who demonstrate the qualities that we consider most important: being a team player, being motivated, and being happy and well-adjusted in the Richmond community
What advice do you have for medical students hoping to match in Urology?:
Good Luck! You’ve chosen a fantastic field, and if you make it, you are going to have an enjoyable and rewarding career. Keep in touch with people you meet on the interview “trail” as they can provide valuable information about other programs and places. Keep your file active by sending in updates as they come in (abstract acceptances, new board scores, nomination/acceptance into AOA, etc). Make sure that you’ve read up about the program and show your interest. If we think you not interested in us, we are probably not going to be very interested in you. RELAX and enjoy the chance to see a lot of new and interesting places.