Rush University Medical Center

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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
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(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

Amazing rotation/program

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
You get to work with some of the biggest names in orthopaedics and witness the future of the field. The attendings you work with are so well regarded, on my residency interviews the interviewer would often digress and start inquiring about how Rush attendings do certain procedures. All the attendings are extremely approachable, even the chairman is someone who is interested in getting to know you as a medical student.
Didactics / Teaching
Solid line-up of the basics for the junior level residents followed by more advanced stuff for the seniors. The curriculum starts off the year heavy on the trauma to get the juniors ready for consults and their rotations at Cook County Hospital.
Operating Experience
If you want to be let loose on day one with no oversight, this certainly isn't the program for you. The program takes the approach of a graduated system where you learn the art of good operative technique. After you've demonstrated proficiency of the fundamental principles, you're given more freedom and responsibility in the OR. Ultimately you're not left to re-invent the wheel by yourself and instead get the experience of top notch attendings to help guide you. I think it leads to learning good habits, which means you'll be a more efficient surgeon after residency.
Clinic Experience
It certainly isn't clinic heavy, but you get at least one day of clinic each week. It's good because the attendings use this as an opportunity to treat you the art of non-operative management and diagnosis.
Research Opportunities
It goes without saying this is a research power house. Whether you're looking for clinic or bench style research, they have it all. The attendings are approachable and always willing to get you involved in their research projects. The presence of fellows also helps to drive a lot of the research forward, which offers you plenty of opportunities to get published.
Residents
Exceptional group of residents who all have a great time together. Because the program has five residents per year, it leads to a great dynamic within the classes. Each class seems to function well as a cohesive unit.
Lifestyle
Intern year seems to be easy (as is with most ortho residencies). The second year is by far the roughest, but it drastically gets better during years 3 through 5. The benefits of the program offer you the ability to enjoy living in Chicago and take advantage of the city.
Location / Housing
Given you're living in a major metropolitan center, it's very affordable on a resident's salary.
Limitations
None
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
Overall a fantastic experience. It has the whole package to offer the residents. I would certainly strongly recommend considering this program.

Qualification

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

Amazing program/rotation

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
You get to work with some of the biggest names in orthopaedics and witness the future of the field. The attendings you work with are so well regarded, on my residency interviews the interviewer would often digress and start inquiring about how Rush attendings do certain procedures. All the attendings are extremely approachable, even the chairman is someone who is interested in getting to know you as a medical student.
Didactics / Teaching
Solid line-up of the basics for the junior level residents followed by more advanced stuff for the seniors. The curriculum starts off the year heavy on the trauma to get the juniors ready for consults and their rotations at Cook County Hospital.
Operating Experience
If you want to be let loose on day one with no oversight, this certainly isn't the program for you. The program takes the approach of a graduated system where you learn the art of good operative technique. After you've demonstrated proficiency of the fundamental principles, you're given more freedom and responsibility in the OR. Ultimately you're not left to re-invent the wheel by yourself and instead get the experience of top notch attendings to help guide you. I think it leads to learning good habits, which means you'll be a more efficient surgeon after residency.
Clinic Experience
It certainly isn't clinic heavy, but you get at least one day of clinic each week. It's good because the attendings use this as an opportunity to treat you the art of non-operative management and diagnosis.
Research Opportunities
It goes without saying this is a research power house. Whether you're looking for clinic or bench style research, they have it all. The attendings are approachable and always willing to get you involved in their research projects. The presence of fellows also helps to drive a lot of the research forward, which offers you plenty of opportunities to get published.
Residents
Exceptional group of residents who all have a great time together. Because the program has five residents per year, it leads to a great dynamic within the classes. Each class seems to function well as a cohesive unit.
Lifestyle
Intern year seems to be easy (as is with most ortho residencies). The second year is by far the roughest, but it drastically gets better during years 3 through 5. The benefits of the program offer you the ability to enjoy living in Chicago and take advantage of the city.
Location / Housing
Given you're living in a major metropolitan center, it's very affordable on a resident's salary.
Limitations
None
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
Overall a fantastic experience. It has the whole package to offer the residents. I would certainly strongly recommend considering this program.

Qualification

I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
2011
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
Was this review helpful to you? 
(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
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