Rush University Medical Center

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Ordering 
 
(Updated: October 23, 2007)
Overall rating 
 
7.8
Staff Surgeons 
 
9.0
Didactics/Teaching 
 
8.0
Operating Experience 
 
3.0
Clinical Experience 
 
6.0
Research 
 
10.0
Residents 
 
7.0
Lifestyle 
 
10.0
Location 
 
10.0
Overall Experience 
 
7.0

Rush

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
The personality of the faculty at Rush is great. Many of them are truly master surgeons, and they are, by and large, a very friendly group that is easy-going. Dr. Jacobs, the new chairman, is an awesome guy. My major concern about the faculty will be discussed in operating experience below.
Didactics / Teaching
There's a good mix of resident- and faculty-led didactics. The faculty are usually very in-tune with teaching the residents the "book stuff." All the rotators I was with on my month acknowledged that these residents really knew their stuff.
Operating Experience
In my opinion, the operating experience at Rush leaves a tremendous amount to be desired. I believe the fact that the surgeons are all in private practice contributes somewhat to this. There is a palpable atmosphere that the attendings are trying to pump out as much volume as they can. As a result, there is little time to let residents "find their way" through cases. Note that this often extends into the chief year as well. There were many times when I witnessed the chief resident on a service start a case, only to have the attending pop in after exposure was done to perform the actual substance of the case. As a student, it became routine that I did not get to help close, and I believe this is because closing was frequently the only part of the case that a resident would have to him- or herself. The presence of lots of fellows further exacerbated the situation. I felt that the residents were less comfortable in the O.R. than their peers at other institutions. This sentiment was shared by the majority of the other rotators with me, who were on a variety of services, though I know the Rush residents would dispute this point.
Clinic Experience
Clinic is clinic. I spent most of my time in the O.R., so it's tough for me the comment. One thing I didn't like is that the residents don't get to dictate, at least not on the services I was on. I know that having to dictate can be a pain, but from personal experience I find that dictating helps synthesize your thought process and makes you really think about the clinical decision-making in each case.
Research Opportunities
I didn't do any of this on my month-long rotation, but my impression is that the research opportunities at Rush are awesome. Many of the faculty are very prolific publishers, and having lots of fellows really creates an environment where there's lots of projects for residents to jump on.
Residents
A great group of people. They are a pretty close bunch. Many of them make a habit of going out to a Friday happy hour each week. I had a great time hanging out with the residents both in and out of the hospital during my rotation. As mentioned above, they are also very smart in terms of orthopaedic knowledge. I would be very comfortable training with the residents at Rush.
Lifestyle
Cush. This is a "gentleman's program." I heard one resident said that he doesn't think residents often work more than 60 hours per week. I would tend to agree with him based on what I saw. Call is a joke. I'm not sure, but I think I remember that trauma call is home call. Rush is a level II trauma center, and the Illinois Medical District is replete with emergency rooms. Most of what comes in is old ladies with broken hips. The major trauma experience for the Rush residents comes from Cook County Hospital and a chief year rotation out in Rockford.
Location / Housing
Chicago is awesome, and the relatively cush schedule makes it easy to explore the city during the rotation. The hospital is accessible by public transportation, and parking is available for residents and students. Housing isn't provided by Rush, but no one had trouble finding a place to stay for the month.
Limitations
The program director has been very receptive to the needs of the program, as you can see above. In one year, we have addressed many of the shortcomings noted in the previous review. While this program, like all, has areas that can be improved, it is obvious that the administration behind the University of Florida program is committed to addressing those deficiencies quickly.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
I had a great time at Rush. It was a fun place to do a rotation. That said, the environment I witnessed in the O.R. gives me reservations about the operative training at this program. The name is fantastic, though, and the residents can pretty much go where they want in terms of fellowships. It just depends on what you're looking for.

Qualification

I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
2007
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(Updated: December 10, 2011)
Overall rating 
 
9.6
Staff Surgeons 
 
10.0
Didactics/Teaching 
 
9.0
Operating Experience 
 
8.0
Clinical Experience 
 
9.0
Research 
 
10.0
Residents 
 
10.0
Lifestyle 
 
10.0
Location 
 
10.0
Overall Experience 
 
10.0

Rush

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
The faculty here is amazing. They have superstars in every field, and they are deep (at least 3 in each field except Peds (see below), 8 joints, 7 sports, 7 spine, etc). Chairman Dr. Jacobs is very approachable and is well-known within the AAOS. Program Director Dr. Virkus is resident proactive and works with the residents at both Rush and Cook (for trauma). Only weakness here might be Peds because they only have 1 faculty member at Rush, but the residents also go to Shriners so they are well-covered there.
Didactics / Teaching
Intake conference every morning before clinic/OR going over the previous night's ED cases, followed by a short faculty-led specialty conference. Grand rounds each week (run by faculty, resident, or guest). Protected time fracture/basic science and sports conferences every Monday night - these can seem long but are definitely useful, and food is usually provided. As a rotator, I was not pimped at conferences but still tried to prepare, just in case. Conferences in general were not malignant, and pretty helpful overall. Residents here clearly know their orthopaedics.
Operating Experience
This has been known as a weakness at Rush, and I disagree. I honestly think the residents operate as well as their peers around the country. Bottom line - this place is one of the highest volume institutions in the country. More volume = more cases. Yes, they have a lot of fellows, but they run some of the best fellowships in the country, which means that as junior residents, you can actually learn from the fellows, instead of just watch/stand behind them. Their PGY2's don't operate as much as at some other programs I saw, but they are certainly competent with their hands and operative knowledge base, and they run their own rooms as PGY5's. As the previous reviewer noted - this is a private practice run within Rush University, and as such, the case-load is high. That said, I found the senior residents to be actively doing the majority of cases when working with attendings (not just the approach as the previous reviewer stated), and the junior residents being led through cases when working with the senior cases. As a student, I routinely DID get the close and actually participate a little in some cases. To be fair, for complex cases (this is Rush, they get complex cases referred to them all the time in a variety of specialties), the attendings were definitely running the show. Trauma at Rush can be a relative weakness, but they make up for this by doing trauma at Cook County as well as at Rockford as PGY5's. As mentioned above, there is only 1 Peds attending at Rush, but the residents work at Shriners to make up for this.
Clinic Experience
Clinic experience was very solid. Residents are in clinic 1-2 days/week, and were seeing their own patients, analyzing images, coming up with plans, etc. Clinic is very fast-paced, but enough time for teaching points between patients. Maybe not in 2007 when the previous reviewer rotated, but on my rotation residents routinely dictated. Residents are super smart with regard to orthopaedics, and clinic seemed like where they were augmenting their knowledge base.
Research Opportunities
Research powerhouse, publication city. Check pubmed for Rush ortho pubs. Clearly well-funded and well-supported. Amazing biomechanics, histology, animal, and basic biology labs. Not only do these guys put out papers, but the faculty (and often residents) are giving talks (both on basic research and course lectures) each year at AAOS as well as the subspecialty conferences, so it isn't just research for publication sake - they are actively teaching the rest of the orthopedic community. Three months dedicated time in PGY3 which some residents use for research, others not so much. Despite being a research powerhouse, I didn't get the vibe that the residents were pressured to produce - it was just simply at their fingertips if they wanted it.
Residents
Amazing group of people. This, above anything else, was why I liked the program so much. Tons of respect and camaraderie both within and between classes. I didn't get a sense of hierarchy at all. Seems like they all hang out together, again both within and between the classes. Good mix of married/single. For me, the residents were the biggest plus of this program.
Lifestyle
Cush, though definitely a work hard, play hard program. PGY2 seems to be the toughest year (that's everywhere). They have home call as PGY2's on, but this has pros/cons as there are no "post-call" days. No nightfloat. Rush is Level II and so they're not getting high-energy MVAs (no one in Chicago is except Loyola), but they still see a ton of bread and butter trauma - distal radius, hip fractures, etc. They probably have the best lifestyle and more fun than other programs I saw, but as I mentioned, they definitely work hard. The 80-hour rule didn't seem to be an issue.
Location / Housing
Chicago is amazing - nightlife, lake, sports, arts, food, etc. So many things to do, and as the previous reviewer noted, there is enough time to experience it all. While not NYC or SF, Chicago is still expensive. Most residents live within 5 miles of Rush, and there are a variety of neighborhoods for pretty much any interest. Public transportation is available and accessible, but most/all residents drive. All the rotators during my month had no problem finding places to stay/sublet (no housing provided though).
Limitations
Operative experience is not as heavy/early as at other programs, but the PGY4-5s were certainly comparable to their peers around the country. Trauma at Rush is light, but they get plenty of OR trauma at Cook and Rockford. Lots of fellows, but most attendings run 2 rooms (fellow in 1 room, resident in another), and there are more than enough cases to go around. I was carefully looking at the fellow-resident interaction during my rotation because I thought this was a weakness going in, but was pleasantly surprised by how much the fellows augmented the resident experience.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
Overall, I think this is a top 5 program. The faculty and residents were some of the nicest, most well-rounded, down-to-earth people I met during rotations as well as on the interview trail. For me, it comes down to balance - some programs will allow you operate early and heavy, but you never have time to read, do research, or live your life. In my opinion, I of course want to be competent in the OR, but orthopedics isn't 100% surgery, and the best surgeons know when to "not operate" just as much as they know how to operate. Rush teaches you how to think along these lines as well as how to operate with technical skill and efficiency. It does really come down to what you are looking for. Would recommend rotating here. As for the rotation itself, it is pretty chill, you're on the same service the whole month, and only 1 student per service so lots of facetime with the attendings. Only 1 call per week, and you can present your case(s) at intake the next morning. I was not called on during Monday conferences, but I would be prepared anyway. Definitely not the toughest month in terms of hours. Opportunities to explore Chicago.

Qualification

I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
Summer 2010
Was this review helpful to you? 
(Updated: January 01, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
7.7
Staff Surgeons 
 
9.0
Didactics/Teaching 
 
7.0
Operating Experience 
 
4.0
Clinical Experience 
 
6.0
Research 
 
10.0
Residents 
 
8.0
Lifestyle 
 
10.0
Location 
 
9.0
Overall Experience 
 
6.0

Not all it was hyped up to be

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Great faculty that attract a lot of volume. The staff are approachable and have connections to get you into good fellowships for certain subspecialties.
Didactics / Teaching
They have the usual- morning rounds for overnight ED trauma cases, grand rounds, and a couple didactic sessions during the week but nothing on the weekend. Nothing extraordinary.
Operating Experience
Having perspective now as a resident, I can look back and say that I totally agree with other comments on this forum that there is a lack of operative experience at Rush. The attendings are very hands. Besides the joints service, there is very little hands on operative experience compared to what I've seen elsewhere and experienced. The fellows get to operate a decent amount. The lack of trauma is a huge negative for the program because that is often where you get autonomy. The bone is the deepest thing in the body and that's where you get good at anatomy and exposures. It's bread and butter orthopaedics that they just don't get enough of in my opinion.
Clinic Experience
The one on one attending type set up allows for good clinical exposure but the residents don't dictate. You may think that's a good thing at first but I can tell you from experience you want to dictate and learn how, it forces you to think deeper about the diagnosis and treatment plan. There is also no resident run/community clinic where you follow your own patients and make your own decisions- because all their patients are well insured. Cook county fulfills their acgme trauma requirement but I think there is still a lack of autonomous yet supervised clinical decision making.
Research Opportunities
Plentiful, it's well known.
Residents
A good midwest group of residents. It's a large enough program to where you'll probably have 3-4 co-residents you really get along with and that's your possy, just like med school. That's all you really need.
Lifestyle
One of the easiest. I would disagree that this is a work hard play hard program. They don't work that hard actually, no in house call (at least when I rotated, heard they may have changed that and are trying to become level 1)! You learn a lot getting consulted all night in house, they don't have that opportunity except at cook county.
Location / Housing
It's Chicago...
Limitations
Lack of operative experience would leave you as a sub par surgeon but hey, you'll have a cush residency in a great city and land a great fellowship with a great CV full of research. If that's what you want (which is a lot of people) then great!
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
Lack of operative/clinical autonomy is concerning.

Qualification

I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
2007
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Top academic program

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Huge strength of the program. Dr. Jacobs (chair) is former AAOS president, a great leader, and cares deeply about residents and the program. Faculty in every field are super famous. There is a current president/former president of the major subspecialty society in basically every department (joints, sports, spine, etc). Faculty is very approachable considering this. Monthly casual journal clubs are held by the attending in their homes. Sounds like you are often discussing the faculty's newest JBJS articles with them.
Didactics / Teaching
Strong didactics. There is a year-long intern skills program, weekly whole-residency didactics, along with subspecialty conferences/journal clubs 2-3x weekly. Residents knew their stuff in conference.
Operating Experience
Super high volume for elective orthopaedics. Almost all faculty run two rooms (fellow in one room, resident in the other, so fellows don't affect OR experience). Fast turnovers (probably 15 min on average). Surgical assists to set up room and help with prepping/draping. One-on-one mentorship model so you are single-scrubbed with the attending on day one of PGY-2 year. Because Rush ortho is a private practice operating out of an academic institution, things are run very efficiently and you generally are done with the clinical day at 5-6pm every day but have still done 4+ cases.
Clinic Experience
Pretty typical clinic experience. Very nice facilities are a plus. Super high volume so you will learn to see patients efficiently and dictate clinic notes early on in training.
Research Opportunities
No better place in the country for research in my opinion. Residents routinely graduate with upwards of 40 publications (and some with many, many more). Paid research staff in each subspecialty (you don't need to do much legwork for your projects). Many institutional patient databases so you can come up with a study and have it done very quickly. There are people to do your stats, help with lit reviews, help with writing, IRBs, etc. Travel for research is fully supported too.
Residents
Awesome group. Residents hang out a lot outside the program and seem very happy. The culture of the program also seems great, I saw residents help each other out often. Apparently the administration is very supportive too - very accommodating for family emergencies and whatnot.
Lifestyle
Probably one of the best lifestyles of programs I rotated at. PGY-2 year is busy like most places, but after that call is pretty sparse. Residents with spouses, kids, dogs, etc do not seem too stressed out.
Location / Housing
Chicago is an awesome city with the benefit of being very affordable compared to similar cities on the coasts. I think that there are more bars per capita than any other place in the country. Many residents can afford to buy. Free parking and healthcare which is nice.
Limitations
Call is a bit lighter than other places I've rotated - the nurse practitioners take care of inpatient stuff and you generally aren't getting crushed with consults all night. You will still be busy enough to learn, but not exactly the "blue-collar" experience that some people may be after.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
I'd have a hard time picking a better academic program in the county. Great residents, great operative experience, great location, great program culture, super famous but approachable faculty, very easy to do lots of research. Residents hand pick their fellowships.

Qualification

I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
2015
Was this review helpful to you? 
(Updated: January 01, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
10.0
Staff Surgeons 
 
10.0
Didactics/Teaching 
 
10.0
Operating Experience 
 
10.0
Clinical Experience 
 
10.0
Research 
 
10.0
Residents 
 
10.0
Lifestyle 
 
10.0
Location 
 
10.0
Overall Experience 
 
10.0

Stellar rotation

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Attendings were extremely friendly, focused on teaching and building resident operative skills. There are tons of big names. As a rotator, I worked directly with attendings and even chairs of departments.
Didactics / Teaching
Excellent didactics. Mix of basic level info up to cutting edge lectures. Mix of sessions run by residents and attendings. Good food at the didactic sessions
Operating Experience
Rush has exceptional operative volume, and residents benefit dramatically from this. There are many fellows but there is enough operative volume to go around.
Clinic Experience
Residents get a good amount of clinic experience, but not excessive. Let's face it, noone really likes clinic.
Research Opportunities
Second to none. Enough said
Residents
A fantastic group. Residents like to hang out and have a good time in the great city of Chicago
Lifestyle
Chicago is affordable as a resident and offers plentiful opportunities to enjoy the residency years. The program is relatively benign in terms of hours, so residents have plenty of time to enjoy the city.
Location / Housing
Rush location is easily accessible from a number of Chicago's desirable neighborhoods, such as west loop, river north, and wicker park. The hospital offers free parking garage for residents, so it is very easy to get to work.
Limitations
None
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
Amazing rotation at an amazing residency program. Overall compared favorably with rotations at other top programs such as HSS. Check it out.

Qualification

I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
2011
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