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    Internal Medicine Residency Program

    Frequently Asked Questions on:
    General Information | For Categorical Applicants | For Preliminary Applicants | Our Program | Your Schedules | Other Important Details

    Frequently Asked Questions: For Preliminary Applicants

    For your convenience, we have prepared the following question and answers frequently raised by applicants.

    Jennifer Pons, MD, Sarah Haserodt, MD, An Uche, MD, & Amy Liao, MD

    What are the three most frequently asked questions by applicants for the Preliminary year?

    1. How hard is California Pacific Medical Center's Preliminary year compared with other programs?

      This is a tough question to answer with 100% accuracy since “hard” is a relative term. There is very little scut work at CPMC, the food is good, the people are nice, the administrative support is excellent, the Program Directors and Chief Residents are approachable and supportive and residents and interns are kind to each other. The number of call months, elective-at-risk (“jeopardy”) and night float are about average for a Preliminary medicine program. The patient census and turnover are probably average or slightly above average for a Preliminary Program.

      Some interns have finished their Preliminary year stating that they thought the year was easier than they thought it would be, while others have finished stating that they felt like they were “worked pretty hard” most of the year. Most, according to the annual survey and personal anecdote, feel that the year was about what they expected for an internship. Suffice to say, if you don't work hard during your residency, you won't learn very much.

      We believe that our program is probably in the 75th percentile for difficulty but there’s really no way to accurately quantitate this. Suffice to say, if you’re looking for a “kick back” year with minimal call and patient care responsibility, this is not the place for you. If you’re looking for a place with a fantastically diverse patient population and case mix where you’ll work hard, learn a lot and establish an excellent foundation for your future career, this is the place for you. The Preliminary interns that have most enjoyed themselves here (and there have been a lot of these), have been those that wanted to see lots of different things—from bread and butter to the truly bizarre—and to work hard and work well with other house staff. If you are interested in a “cush” program where you can simply get the required preliminary year “out of the way,” PLEASE don’t waste your time applying here! Our teachers and program directors take the education of our preliminary interns very seriously and, in turn, these interns take their own educations and hard work seriously. You can certainly find an easier program elsewhere but you will not find a program that prepares you better than ours does.

    2. Pottery Night

    3. But do current medical house staff at CPMC feel like their internships and residency are what they expected relative to hard or easy?

      Yes. For the past six years in the annual house staff satisfaction survey, house staff were asked to score how close to their expectations internship/residency came. On a Likert scale from 1 through 10, 1 was “much harder than I expected” , 10 was “much easier than I expected”, .5 was “about what I expected”. The average score was consistently between 5.6 and 5.9. In other words, on average, house staff felt that their training was about what they had expected. When analyzed by sub-groups (Preliminary R1s, Categorical R2s, Categorical R3s) there was no difference between groups in their perceptions of difficulty/ease of training.

      The Program Directors would be happy to review results from these surveys with you during their closing afternoon session if you visit for an interview.

    4. But will I be happy at CPMC?

      For the past 3 years R1 "happiness with training at CPMC" (for both preliminary and categorical interns) has ranged from 8.5-9.2 on a 1-10 Likert Scale (i.e., they’re happy!)

      Residents’ Report