Review Detail

by John Langland     August 12, 2007    
Overall rating 
Staff Surgeons 
Operating Experience 
Clinical Experience 
Overall Experience 


Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Our program director, Dr. McGann, is very soft-spoken and receptive to resident feedback. The rest of the attendings, distributed between all the hospitals in SF and East Bay are variable in terms of personality, but all want to teach. They are all clinically fantastic, and are involved in the residency program.
Didactics / Teaching
Teaching is done on a weekly basis, with program-wide didactics on Tuesday mornings. This is protected time. Coverage at the hospitals during this time are usually done by attendings or by PAs/NPs. During the first 12 weeks of the year, we do summer anatomy sessions, usually a lecture followed by cadaver dissection and OITE questions. After anatomy course and OITE prep, we do theme based lectures by the attendings. Teaching locations vary, and are usually centered at St Mary's, but they may occur at Kaiser Oakland or at CHO.
Operating Experience
FANTASTIC. I chose St Mary's because of the operative experience. As an intern on my first month, our spine attending was letting me put in pedicle screws. I was able to put in IMNs, with guidance by senior residents. At other programs I rotated, you wouldn't be able to do this until you were at least a pgy-2. Of course, this independence varies by attending, but even as a junior, I feel ready to do simple fractures with little guidance.
Clinic Experience
Variable from each site. At St Mary's, clinic experience depends on rotation. Some rotations are more clinic heavy than others, but most importantly we have weekly resident clinics. These typically are run by residents who are not operating, so staff can be variable. At Highland, clinics are Tuesdays & Thursday. Because of the high patient volume, they are pretty hectic, but you gain clinical judgment and experience quickly and gain a lot of independence.
Research Opportunities
Opportunities are abundant due to the many different attendings we work with. We have a very well-run research lab based at St Mary's, run by our very accomplished research director, who is very helpful in planning, executing projects, and getting published. As a small program based in a small community hospital, we don't have as many resources or sources of funding as at bigger institution, but we do great with the things that we do have. Every resident is required to do a QI project and to have one publishable project prior to graduation. This is easily accomplished, as most residents have at least one project cooking by the end of intern year. The goal is to have something submitted to AAOS by second year and to have a presentation ready at AAOS by third year.
Wonderful group of people. Everyone brings something different to the table, and we all have pretty varied backgrounds. Everyone is willing to help out, and the chiefs are very understanding. They have your back should you have issues when on an off service rotation. We joke around a lot, and everyone is always down to hang out. Most of the residency program is either in a long-term relationship or married; there are a select few who are single. Approximately 1/4 of the program have kids.
St Mary's is technically home call for all 5 years. This works well at rotations where call volume is low, like at St Mary's or Shriners. At other institutions like Kaiser, Highland, or CHO, if you get killed, you often don't get a post-call day. We get reimbursed for most work-related things, such as bridge toll and parking for didactics. We get provided parking at most locations, and often get some reimbursement for food.
Location / Housing
You're living in the bay area! It's a pretty even split between residents who live in the City versus in the east bay. Personally, living in the East Bay is better since most of our rotations are here, though commuting to the city for ST Mary's rotations is painful to go across the Bridge. Our East Bay rotations also require more time on call, so it just makes more sense. Cost of living is EXPENSIVE, but it is affordable. We do get a small housing stipend. The Bay Area is a great place to live, whether you're single or married and/or have a family. It's within driving distance to Tahoe, Vegas, and LA.
Reimbursement is low compared to other programs in the area. Living costs in the bay area are high and we get a very small housing stipend compared to other programs. We get a very small education fund every year.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
St Mary's is a great all-around program. You cannot be the operative experience or the attention you get from the attendings. We need some work in the didactics and research department, but we are a strong community program. I have no doubt that I will graduate this program a clinically and technically strong surgeon. I highly recommend this program to anyone who is interested in a well-rounded program in a fantastic place to live.


I am a current resident of this program.
Date of Rotation
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