When to talk to Program Directors

Forums Residency Applications/Interviews When to talk to Program Directors

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  • #299 Reply

    I’m wondering from current residents when you spoke with your program directors about your desire to practice with conscience in residency. I am a 4th year student applying to OB/GYN and am unsure when or if to bring this up at programs where there isn’t a known precedent. Any advice or experiences would be appreciated! Thank you!

    #301 Reply

    Hello Quinn!

    I have spoken to multiple residents about this. The most open residents encourage conversation only with the program director during interviews; there is little need to discuss it with anyone else. On the other side, some say you should disclose it to absolutely no one during interviews, as the program legally must respect your moral beliefs once you are in residency. I tend to lean towards disclosure, but I certainly see how keeping that information close to the vest can be advantageous. One possible question is: “If I do not want to participate in a certain procedure for moral reasons, are there ways I can help prevent undue burden on other residents?” This leaves the meaning open to interpretation, and most would assume I am referring elective terminations. It also shows that I am willing to accept additional work to help off-set whatever difficulty I am creating.

    I’m curious to see what others have to say about this, too!

    #302 Reply

    I phrased it like this: “How would you view an applicant who was choosing not to _______?” I think the word “choose” or “choice” is helpful, and I was afraid to say “I think, I believe, I want” on an interview in such a vulnerable position.

    I think it really depends on how many cards you have to play with. A five-star applicant with research and stellar STEPs and GHHS/AOA etc etc can probably ask outright. A more average/realistic applicant might feel comfortable asking if a program director seems like a nice person or says something about how the hospital is Catholic or whatever, but wait to make the big phone call/question until sure he likes the program. A less competitive applicant might wait even longer.

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to completely avoid disclosure. PDs legitimately don’t like it, even ones who are generally open to conscience decisions. (Personal experience.)

    #11300 Reply

    If I had a one-on-one interview with the program director on interview day, and there was an appropriate opportunity to ask about whether they could accommodate then I would. Generally they would ask me some questions, then ask if I had any questions for them at which point I would ask (then follow up with another more benign question so that we could reestablish rapport before the interview ended.)

    If I didn’t have a one-on-one with the PD, or it wasn’t conducive to asking the question, or if I strongly felt they might be antagonistic, then I would ask in my follow-up/thank you email as this gave the opportunity to succinctly explain myself if I wasn’t confident to do so in the interview itself.

    I only had one PD be rude about it, the rest were all polite even if they disagreed or couldn’t/wouldn’t accommodate.

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