Mayo and Northwestern program reviews?

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uhohurinetrouble
Mayo and Northwestern program reviews?

I was wondering if anyone can review these two programs. They are high on my list. Thanks.

Edited by: nicky on 05/11/2015 - 19:51 Reason: Updated by FeedsNodeProcessor
Anonymous (not verified)
Agreed, as someone also

Agreed, as someone also interested in these places any input about their pluses and minuses would be appreciated. 

Anonymous (not verified)
Thoughts

Anonymous User wrote:
Agreed, as someone also interested in these places any input about their pluses and minuses would be appreciated. 
I didn't interview or rotate at Mayo so can't speak to it (though I've heard great things minus being in Rochester). Here are my thoughts on Northwestern from my interviewPros: Reputation: It's a traditional Urology powerhouse with a lot of big names, though many of them are on the downslope of their career, lots of research opportunitiesFacilities/Location: Beautiful facilities in an awesome part of Chicago. Only downside to that is living nearby is expensive, but still peanuts compared to NYC/Boston/SFExcellent in Peds and ReconReally innovative program structure: They only have like 4 or 5 months of gensurg time and include a LOT of elective time to let you explore things like IR, transplant, international rotations, etc.They have the traditional Main hospital/VA/County hospital structure so you get a variety of environments with varied levels of autonomyCons:After interviewing at both Uchicago and Northwestern, I definitely got the sense that Uchicago is more up and coming, and gets much more oncology volume then Northwestern. Evanston hospital also recently switched affiliations to Uchicago so their residents get the benefit of that high volume private-practice type environment, which was a blowVolume not the highest based on the surgery schedules I saw, and I heard mixed things about resident autonomy at the main hospital.Didn't seem like the most cohesive group of residents/faculty, some of the faculty seemed standoffish (though everyone was very nice). 

Anonymous (not verified)
Mayo Review

I did an away rotation at Mayo-Rochester and I can comment on it.Pros:Top notch staff in every aspect of urology, great facilityes that are only going to get better (Mayo is planning on spending a couple BILLION dollers over the next decade or so expanding/improving facilities and the city of Rochester itself).When you graduate from their program, you are stamped with the "Mayo" name, and that goes a long way.  Probably top 3 in the country in terms of reputation.Large program with amazing call schedule (I think it was like, q14 or something).  They have a foley team that roams the hospital and takes care of any catheter problems so you don't get those annoying pages.  Hell, you don't even have to position and drape the patient, someone does it for you (if you want).You have a lot of free time (in comparison with other programs) to do research and plenty of faculty opportunities. Or to spend with your family.Cons:The big one: Rochester, Minnesota.  Long cold winters in a small city that entirely revolves around Mayo.  It seemed like 80% of the residents were married with children, and everyone was pregnant.  Kind of creepy in a Stepford Wives kind of way actually.  If you're married or have kids, this is a great, safe city with very affordable housing.  If you're single it's going to suck.  The consolation is that it's only a 40 min drive to the twin cities.  There's also a sweet looking strip club in Cannon Falls right outside of Rochester, so that's a plus too. There's also no VA or county hospital for the residents to rotate at and I think you miss out on some good autonomous educatin' by not having those experiences.  However, I think they did run some kind of chief service that gave them a level of autonomy in a way to replace that.Some might argue that not having any scut work could be detrimental, as someday you will leave Rochester and need to position the patient and troubleshoot foleys on your own.  However, I think most residents took the initiative to spend a week with the foley team and get the hang of that stuff.  You certainly don't need 5 years of it to learn it.I just said that "someday you will leave Rochester" but that's clearly not true if you look at the staff.  Tends to be an inbred program.  Whether that's really a bad thing or not is up for debate.  They tend to do things the "Mayo Way" and if you don't want to buy in to that it wouldn't be a good fit.  Having said that, I really didn't see that much that was wildly different from standard operating procedure at other hospitals.  They glove left hand first, call laps "salts", they don't round in a top down approach (just one on one with the attending you're assigned to during that block), but there was no real crazy kool-aid to drink that I saw.  One thing to keep in mind if you're considering doing an away rotation here is that there will be many other sub-I's with you at the same time.  I think there were 9 or 10 with me when I was there.  And they assign you to the consultant, one per week.  If you don't get assinged to Leibovich you probably ain't gonna see him.  Just tougher to make an impression and get a LOR in my opinion.  It really is a fantastic program, certainly top 5 in the country. If someone else from Mayo or who rotated at Mayo sees a mistake in my review please correct me. This is just one person's opinion.I also interviewed at Northwestern and thought the above review was spot-on.  Particularly the comment about the standoffish faculty and not the most cohesive group of residents.  Maybe we just had a weird interview day or something though.  

Anonymous (not verified)
Mayo Review

The above poster's assessment is very accurate.I would like to add a few things.  Mayo clinic makes an effort to make professionals from day 1 of residency.  They try to shape residents into attendings and the mentorship model does  a very good job at that.  The residents typically have attending hours ~65 hours/week.  Some might say that this isn't enough hours put in for someone to become a great urologist.  Even with such hours they log in the 95%tile for most procedures (except maybe ESWL) and the reason is because they are effecient. They even have surgical assistants that close and take the patients to x-ray/PACU while the resident leaves to grab food. The residents duties are to resonate what an attending does.  They are assigned to a consultant (attending) for a period of 10-11 weeks.  They alternate OR days and clinic days during the week.  This means that the residents start building their clincial and surgical foundation from very early on as opposed most tradional programs that are top heavy (i.e. Cramp learning complex operations with the intricacies of running a clinic during senior years).   They treat their residents like human-beings.  This means very little to no scut work.  All the resident does is operate, see patients in the clinic and do research.  Without having a dedicated research year, the residents avg around 3-5 manuscripts with tons of abstracts/posters/podiums. Other pros: Travel costs for research presentations are WELL compensated (to the point that some money spills over).  Food is subsidized ($1700/year allowance).  During the chief year, 2/5 quantiles are dedicated to chief service.  This means the resident is the attending and if he/she needs help with an operation, a supervising consultant is a phone call away.  "Mayo" stamped residents are HIGHLY sought after once they graduate.  That stamp is something that stays with them for the rest of their careers. To clear up a common misconception: Mayo receives a lot of famous patients from around the world including a few who might not want a "resident" to operate on them.  This mentality does not sit well with the consultants.  They are dedicated to resident education and often times tell the patients that they are more than welcome to seek treatment from another institution (Consultant's are salaried not RVU-based, therefore there is no real incentive for them to push for an operation). A few things about the city of Rochester.  It's a playground if you're into outdoors activities.  It's impossible to walk 5 miles in any direction without running into a park/lake.  The entire state of minnesota has made an effort to accomodate bikers.  These trails are some of the best biking trails around and they turn into crosscountry/snow mobile trails during the winters.  There are hundreds/thousands of lakes that are open for water sports, fishing (ice fishing during winter).  There are hunting spots.  Also the Mississippi River is about 30 minutes outside of Rochester which opens up even more activities.  The Mayo Clinic is investing a few BILLION dollars to vamp up the city and turn it into a "destination medical center" (including plans for an indoor park).  There as a brand new, gorgeous gym that is connected to the Clinic for Mayo Employees.  The houses are extremely affordable and the Mayo Clinic Credit Union offers extremely competitive rates with 0 down for all the new home owners.  Also, the twin cities are beautiful cities that offer the nice City life conveniently located 1 hour away.  This means you don't have to deal with day to day inconveniences of living in a city when you're a busy resident (Traffic, pollution, expensive housing, etc...).   Those are all the things that come to mind. These are some of the things that come to mind at this point. 

Anonymous (not verified)
Mayo review

I talked to my chair about Mayo and ultimately decided not to rank it as highly as I first intended. I had a great first impression and the environment their is very professional, but I think too many people drink the Mayo kool-aide. It's not any better than the other top programs, and you might even be sacrificing some things (they never learn how to bedside assist on robot, etc.). On interview day they say they're around 85-90%ile for operative volume (can't remember the exact number). But this is somewhat misleading. Don't get me wrong, they are indeed a busy center. However, as a junior resident, you're doing big whacks like cystectomy, IVC tumor thrombus, etc etc. In reality, you don't have the operative skills at this point to fully appreciate the nuances of the surgery. It's a waste of a case on a junior, so to speak and you're doing more assisting than operating. On the flip side, as a senior, since you're still doing junior level cases too since you have to do whatever the attending you're working with schedules. So it all evens out to the typical pyramid style operative experience. Some argue that the top-heavy style is actually preferred to the preceptorship model since you get all the complex cases when you have the most operative skills. Six in one hand, half a dozen in the other.Overall, though, I really liked the program and found it to be one of the most efficient and professional places around. I just couldn't get past Rochester and once I realized it wasn't any different from other top places operative wise, I looked elsewhere.   

Anonymous (not verified)
Northwestern review

Pros:As mentioned before it's a traditional powerhouse program with top notch research opportunities.  The university hospital is plenty busy with a large active faculty and a private practice that the 4th year residents rotate with.  Probably true UChicago has taken some onc volume from them recently, but those things ebb and flow in every city with more than one major program.  The VA may be a little less busy, but what VA isn't.  I thought their bizarre curriculum was awesome.  You get 4 months of elective time during 2nd and 4th year to broaden your exposure a little bit, and even if you're on radiology or something I think the residents still scrub cases if they want to.  Also allows for international trips if you're into that.I disagree with the "faculty were stand-offish" sentiment on here, I think they were just a little more formal than other interviews.  Yeah they didn't try to be your best friend like some other places, but everyone was nice.  Also disagree with the idea their faculty are made up of old guys on the downslope of their career.  They've got 3 young onc faculty that should grow in their clinical and research productivity.  Cons:Chair is planning to retire soon, so if you're looking for stability maybe not the place for you.  But could be a plus as some of the residents seemed to indicate they thought it was time for some fresh blood in the chair position.  With that will come new resources, new faculty, etc.  Could be bad and a rough transition, but most likely will be almost all positive changes.I think it's interesting that with so many Northwestern students applying in urology they didn't take any of them the last 2 years.  Were they more impressed with other applicants, or do the Northwestern students have a perspective on the program that turned them off to it?  Who really knows, just a thought.In the end I ranked Northwestern in my top 5 and matched right above them.  But would've been thrilled to end up here. Great program in one of America's best cities, what's not to like?

Anonymous (not verified)
Northwestern

I agree with the above poster.  Another point that's worth including about Northwestern: they were one of the few programs I interviewed at that has all areas of urology covered.  Every program in the country has good onc and endourology/stone faculty and volume, but many are deficient in their infertility and reconstructive experiences.  Northwestern has leaders in both these fields with Brannigan and Gonzalez.  Not a deal breaker for most people, but could be a big plus depending on where your interests lie.