Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals

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9.1 (6)
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Contact Information

City
Milwaukee
State/Province
Wisconsin

Program Information

Residents per class
5
Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals Orthopedic Surgery Residency Program

User reviews

6 reviews
 
67%
 
33%
5-7 stars
 
0%
3-5 stars
 
0%
1-3 stars
 
0%
Overall rating
 
9.1
Staff Surgeons
 
9.3(6)
Didactics/Teaching
 
8.0(6)
Operating Experience
 
9.8(6)
Clinical Experience
 
9.8(6)
Research
 
8.2(6)
Residents
 
10.0(6)
Lifestyle
 
8.3(6)
Location
 
9.2(6)
Overall Experience
 
9.3(6)
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*
(Updated: January 01, 2012)
Overall rating
 
9.6
Staff Surgeons
 
10.0
Didactics/Teaching
 
8.0
Operating Experience
 
10.0
Clinical Experience
 
10.0
Research
 
9.0
Residents
 
10.0
Lifestyle
 
10.0
Location
 
10.0
Overall Experience
 
9.0

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Schwab and the upper echelons of the administration are great people. They are interested in developing competent surgeons, as they will tell you if you interview. In many respects, this allows you to direct your education--if you want to do lots of research, that is available. If you want to learn how to do spine injections or do an away rotation, that is available. In fact, there are two elective rotations in the fourth and fifth years. There is not a lot of pressure to fit a certain mold.

There aren't really any malignant staff.. which is nice.

Similarly, the residents have a lot of input on how rotations are run. The administration (Schwab, Vetter, Schmeling, Van Valin) are all very interested in resident concerns. That's not something you will see everywhere.
Didactics / Teaching
The didactics currently are done every Wednesday and Friday. There are also service specific teaching sessions. This may be changing in the future. Overall, they are well done and educational.
Operating Experience
There are few if any fellows to steal cases. There are more staff then there are residents on any particular service. It is graduated responsibility; you may assist as a PGY-2 and do a couple simple hardware removals or washouts. By PGY-5 year, you will be doing complete cases by yourself. The VA rotations (where you spend over 6 months) has a lot of autonomy. If you feel deficient in any one area, elective rotations can help balance your goals. In the end, most residents exceed national averages for cases. More than a few go into private practice from residency--ie, the skill set is there to do whatever you want when you finish.

MCW is very strong with peds, trauma and oncology. It is not as strong in hand or spine, though getting enough of these is never a problem.
Clinic Experience
Tends to be pretty good. I'm not sure anyone anywhere at anytime would say clinic is awesome; clinic is clinic. The VA is nice for this however; you see a general ortho population, the residents make most if not all of the decisions.
Research Opportunities
The requirements are an absolute minimum. However, there are a number of full time research staff and there is an affiliation with Marquette bioengineering. If you are interested in research, there is plenty of opportunity.
Residents
Pretty laid back group. People get along, are nice, hardworking and look out for each other. Residents hang out together after work and are happy Most are married, about half or less have kids.
Lifestyle
Good to very good. The program does follow the ACGME guidelines closely. Pooled weekend rounding allows you at least two weekends off per month. Your expectation should be to be busy PGY-2 year (70-90 hours per week) with this improving each year. BY PGY-5, you don't round on the weekends and you will be on call every 6th weekend--hours will vary by service but probably average out to 50-60 per week.

Taking time off is not a problem--vacation, interviews, education. This is a big perk.

Having a relatively easy PGY-5 year is very nice to prepare for boards and fellowship. Some places get killed--you might think all that work would translate into a beter experience, but thats not necessarily true. Plus, by the time you get to be 30 or so and you've worked your butt off for the the last ten years, its nice to have a little time before fellowship and starting practice.
Location / Housing
Milwaukee is very nice, definitely undersold since some bad press in the 1990's (not everyone here is a serial killer). The main hospitals are in an middle-upper class suburb. The schools and neighborhoods are great. MCW pays very well--about $60K plus benefits and the cost of living is lower than most urban areas. The city is also very accessible, has plenty to do, and has a pretty convenient airport if you ever want to get away.
Limitations
If you want to be a top doc at some big name academic institution, then this probably isnt the best place for you. But if you want to do academics, thats not a problem. More than a handful have over the past few years.

Really, there aren't many limitations. Everything you need to do what you want is within arms reach at this program.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
I received a lot of invites and interviewed at 12 places. MCW was my number one choice. I never had any regrets.

There's no program that will prepare you 100% in 5 or 6 years. But at the time of graduation from here, I felt like I was able to handle most things just fine and am confident and pleased with my experience.

Qualification

I am an alumnus of this program.
Date of Rotation
2012
JK
Top 100 Reviewer
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MCW
(Updated: December 12, 2011)
Overall rating
 
8.8
Staff Surgeons
 
9.0
Didactics/Teaching
 
8.0
Operating Experience
 
10.0
Clinical Experience
 
9.0
Research
 
7.0
Residents
 
10.0
Lifestyle
 
9.0
Location
 
8.0
Overall Experience
 
9.0

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
Strength of the program. Dr. Schwab, the chair, is a great guy who is interested in seeing the residents do well and in improving the program. Dr. Schmeling, the PD, is an excellent resident advocate whom all the residents respect highly. Overall the staff here are excellent, and take teaching/education very seriously. The residents seemed very happy with them.
Didactics / Teaching
Good without being overbearing. Faculty are great about teaching residents. Conferences/lectures are fine. Probably a few less didactic sessions per week relative to other programs, but still sufficient.
Operating Experience
Outstanding. Residents here graduate very confident with their OR skills because they get a great amount of autonomy & independence. Being a level 1 trauma center for adult & peds means they get plenty of trauma, both blunt & penetrating. That it gets cold in winter, though, means you're not constantly being overwhelmed with it every year of residency. I rotated on the trauma service & with the exception of pelvic cases or otherwise big complex stuff the chiefs basically get to run their own rooms. PGY4s run the room alone for more straightforward cases. And this is all at the main hospital--the residents still get rotations at the VA where they operate alone a ton. Residents also get 10 week 4th and 5th year electives to round out their education as they see fit, which is cool.
Clinic Experience
Clinic is clinic. Fortunately it generally runs pretty smoothly. Usually about 2 days of clinic per week for each resident, it seemed, though on a busy service they'd still go back to the OR to help out after clinic was done.
Research Opportunities
Research is there and you can do plenty, but you might have to seek it out. It's not a place where there's tons of research in your face 24/7. It's not a big part of the program--only 1 month during intern year, I think. So, you can do it, but it's not a research-heavy residency.
Residents
Awesome bunch. Some of the finest residents I have worked with in any specialty at any location. One of the residents told me that he felt Dr. Schmeling (PD) to be an excellent judge of character & one who considers fit into the program to be critical. Consequently, the residents here have some of the best personalities you could hope for. 10+.
Lifestyle
There's something for everyone here. Downtown Milwaukee has the big-city stuff, the suburbs are quiet & peaceful. There's lots to in the city or in the outdoors. There are busy months & rotations, of course, but the chair stresses the importance of outside interests & all the residents seemed to have at least one or two non-medical things that they were able to do & enjoy. The residents are about 60:40 married +/- kids to single.
Location / Housing
See lifestyle. Housing here is very affordable to quite pricy based on where you want to live. It can also be high-density downtown to out in the country, if you want. I gave the location an "8" only because it does get pretty cold in winter.
Limitations
The goal of the program is to make you a well-rounded orthopod who could go straight into general practice. It does this well, while giving you the tools to pursue a more academic, specialty-focused career. That said, since it's not a research powerhouse and doesn't have a huge "name," if you want that to be a huge part of your career it may not be the best place for you.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
This is a fantastic program, especially if you want to do either private practice or work in a setting similar to MCW--academic and level-one trauma but not a research machine. I had a great time on my rotation. Residents get a great education and pretty much all get fellowships in what they want.

Qualification

I rotated as a medical student at this program
Date of Rotation
2009
LA
Top 500 Reviewer
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Medical College of Wisconsin
(Updated: January 01, 2012)
Overall rating
 
9.2
Staff Surgeons
 
9.0
Didactics/Teaching
 
8.0
Operating Experience
 
10.0
Clinical Experience
 
10.0
Research
 
8.0
Residents
 
10.0
Lifestyle
 
10.0
Location
 
9.0
Overall Experience
 
9.0

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
With at least 2 staff in each subspecialty area (most of them young, energetic, and approachable), the staff @ MCW are a strength of the program. Our chairman knows the residents well, having personal interaction with each resident during rotations on his service. You would be hard pressed to find a more reasonable, grounded, fair-minded chairman. Our program director is a strong resident advocate who will go to bat for you if need be. He works as a site reviewer for the RRC and has guided our program well over the years, as evidenced by our recent 5 year re-accreditation.
Didactics / Teaching
We recently revamped our teaching conferences to include more structured, topic based lectures, with a set curriculum of topics to be addressed over a couple year cycle. This is intermixed with an appropriate amount of indications, M&M, and basic science lectures. Clinical teaching is very good.
Operating Experience
Operative volume and experience are the single biggest factor in my choosing MCW for residency. Our volume is a good bit above the national average, and the autonomy and independence is appropriate for the level of your training/ability.
Clinic Experience
We get enough clinical experience to learn solid diagnostic skills, treatment decision-making, post-op cares, and office/clinic management. Thankfully, this is not at the expense of operative experience.
Research Opportunities
Both clinical and benchtop research opportunities are available, with strong motion analysis labs for anyone interested. Staff accommodate resident directed research projects well, and often have a few projects of their own available. The one difficulty at our institution (probably not unique to MCW) is the IRB approval process, which can be arduous.
Residents
The program does an excellent job of selecting men and women of character, having good work ethics, strong moral/ethical standards, and a team focus. No-one is undermining anyone else for any reason, as this would not be tolerated by the resident body.
Lifestyle
The work hours are not a problem, with our program director making certain that all rules are followed closely. Average work-hours for me this past year have been in the low to mid 60s. <br />
Home call is an advantage, as it allows time with family when things are slow. Granted, the summer trauma season can be busy, but it allows for good training and is manageable even on the worst nights.
Location / Housing
The combination of a relatively high salary with good benefits, and a comparatively low cost of living, makes our program very livable. Many of the residents can afford to own homes in the area, with their spouses able to stay home with children if desired. Milwaukee is a nice sized city for residency, with pro-sports teams and concert/theater events always available. Traffic is mild for a city of this size.
Limitations
There are very few limitations, and certainly no deficiencies, that I have experienced.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
As stated yearly by our chairman before every interview session, the goal of the program is to turn out well-rounded, competent, capable orthopaedic surgeons who can function comfortably as general orthopeadic surgeons. This is certainly accomplished, even though the majority of the residents graduating the program choose to do fellowships. I have been very happy with the training I have received, and am glad I chose MCW.

Qualification

I am a current resident of this program.
Date of Rotation
2009
JZ
Top 500 Reviewer
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Medical College of Wisconsin
(Updated: January 01, 2012)
Overall rating
 
9.3
Staff Surgeons
 
9.0
Didactics/Teaching
 
8.0
Operating Experience
 
10.0
Clinical Experience
 
10.0
Research
 
8.0
Residents
 
10.0
Lifestyle
 
9.0
Location
 
10.0
Overall Experience
 
10.0

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
This is certainly a program strength. We are an academic program with strong community affiliation. About 75% of time with academic faculty at academic centers (adult and pediatric), and 25% of time with community faculty at the VA and elective rotations. This relationship is a real plus as the community guys are also almost all fellowship trained. We currently have at least two academic faculty in each subspecialty. One foot and ankle faculty will be leaving soon, but there is more than enough experience with the remaining surgeon and community staff. Faculty allow for appropriate autonomy and have all been very approachable. We are supported whole-heartedly by our PD and Chairman. They are very open and responsive to suggestions about improving the program. Resident initiated change is often implemented.
Didactics / Teaching
Currently we have a weekly 3 hour Wed morning conference, which serves as our primary teaching conference/Grand Rounds time, and are generally well-attended. We also have a Friday morning fracture conference and case conference which lasts about 1.5 hours, each of which are attended by a faculty. We have a monthly Chairmen's conference which focuses on non-traditional topics such as leadership, contracts, ethics, etc. In addition to these conferences, each subspecialty generally has a weekly conference for the residents/students on that service. Journal Club is also monthly. We have typically just used an hour of our weekly conference time, but occasionally we will go out and do this as a group over dinner.
Operating Experience
I think that is difficult to imagine a better overall operative experience. We are given outstanding opportunity to operate. This is generally based on graduated autonomy. If you demonstrate that you are competent and capable, you can expect to be the primary surgeon on cases in your second year with staff or seniors assisting. This continues to progress appropriately throughout your residency. Our fourth and fifth year residents take back-up/senior call, and essentially come in to operate. Often they will have their own room on services. That being said, if you need a faculty to come in, they do so in a heartbeat. You won't be left over your head.
Clinic Experience
Generally a well-balanced experience. Almost all are speciality clinics. The exception is at the VA, which is more general orthopaedics. Usually about 2 days per week in clinic. This is where you really get to learn one of the most important aspects of operating--when and when not to do it. Critical thinking and decision-making are reinforced. Our ancillary staff are very friendly and helpful.
Research Opportunities
Pretty standard. We are required to submit one publishable quality research article and one case report for graduation. Almost all faculty are actively involved in research, and there are extensive opportunities. Anyone interested in doing a project can easily get it supported.
Residents
Probably one of our strongest assets. We are a pretty tight group. People who end up here are pretty genuine, and we tend to have each others backs. We all hang out and quite often have gatherings with all of our classes. Probably about 60% married right now, and our families tend to spend time together even when we're not around. Relative diverse for ortho, with three women in our program now.
Lifestyle
Generally our lifestyle is very good. We take home call. This is usually pretty nice, but can get busy. The most challenging year is the PGY2, when you are taking the most primary call at our trauma center. Worst case scenerio is that you are in house all night. The expectation is that if you have been in the hospital all night, you should alert the faculty with whom you are working, and leave by noon the following day. When this has happened, the faculty involved have been exceeding supportive and encouraged leaving, sometimes even earlier. If any resident is staying longer, they are doing so against our policies. This has been stressed repeatedly by our PD. Our busiest services are trauma and peds, but in general our work weeks average about 60-65 hours overall, even during your second year. After that it only gets better. As PGY4 and PGY5, you are taking back-up call, coming in only to operate. Many of us have children and we get a decent amount of time to spend with our families. Those of us who have known this program best, wanted to be here. We are happy here for a reason.
Location / Housing
All the amenities of a big city, with easy accessibility. You can get anywhere in about 15-20 min. Most of us own our own houses or condos. Very affordable. This is a very safe community and easy place to raise a family. If you are single, there is plenty to do around the city.
Limitations
Limited dedicated research time, but you can choose to do one of your PGY4 or PGY5 electives as a research elective.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
Extremely well-balanced program. Whether you want to go into general orthopaedics or subspecialty training, you will feel extremely confident in your surgical skills and decision-making capabilities when you leave this program. May not be as big a name, but training is second to none.

Qualification

I am a current resident of this program.
Date of Rotation
2008
BR
Top 500 Reviewer
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MCW
(Updated: January 01, 2012)
Overall rating
 
9.5
Staff Surgeons
 
10.0
Didactics/Teaching
 
9.0
Operating Experience
 
10.0
Clinical Experience
 
10.0
Research
 
8.0
Residents
 
10.0
Lifestyle
 
9.0
Location
 
9.0
Overall Experience
 
10.0

Program Review

Staff / Faculty / Chairman
The chairman is very approachable and well respected, this is not a program where the chairman barely knows any of the residents. The program director is actively involved in all facets of the program both looking for ways to improve it and keeping it compliant with RRC (he is an RRC site reviewer so this is emphasized). There are multiple faculty in each discipline, including tumor who are generally very approachable and enjoy teaching.
Didactics / Teaching
Each service has a weekly teaching conference for the residents on that service. There is a daily "checkout" in which the on-call junior resident presents all cases and consults from the previous night that is supervised by the trauma attendings. There are program wide conferences for 3 hours on wednesdays with resident rounds, grand rounds, basic science, and m & m conferences. There is also a program wide conference on Fridays for 1.5 hours with a fracture conference with the trauma attendings followed by a resident case based conference which changes discipline based on the week and supervising faculty. The conferences are led by the faculty of the particular subspecialty that is being covered. The conferences are interactive with residents and faculty contributing.
Operating Experience
Excellent. High volume, hands on experience. Doing appropriate level cases as a junior and senior. Good autonomy as described in previous review where you learn to make decisions in the OR and often run your own room on some services. In addition to rotations at MCW you also work with high volume fellowship trained surgeons from the community in the community rotations and at the VA hospital.
Clinic Experience
Well rounded with all subspecialties covered. Program director ensures that residents spend appropriate amount of time in clinic on each service, generally about 40% of day to day activities during the week (about 2 days on average). Overall more time is spent in the OR than the clinic but you spend enough time in clinic to know why you are operating.
Research Opportunities
Research opportunities are available and there is a graduation research requirement but research is not heavily emphasized in the program. Multiple Basic Science Faculty including Biomechanics professors at Marquette also on ortho faculty and are very helpful with basic science studies.
Residents
A strength of the program. Residents are a close knit group, a mix of married and single residents in the program that tend to work hard but also have fun together outside of work.
Lifestyle
Overall very reasonable work hours and expectations. The previous review questioning the work hours compliance in light of home call is unfounded. The opportunity to go home on call is welcomed by the residents, sure some nights you may be there all night, especially as an inexperienced 2, but if so you go home early the next day. Let me assure you, the program director who has been a program site reviewer for the RRC ensures compliance. Work hours have been logged in the past and averaged around 60 hours per week for the program. The home call is especially nice at children's (not too much going on at 3 AM usually) and in the winter when trauma slows a bit.
Location / Housing
Milwaukee is a nice city to live in. Fun downtown area along the lake with the Medical Center on the west side of the city in the near suburbs. You can live walking distance from the hospital and be in a nice neighborhood. Big enough to have plenty to do but still easy to get around and relatively inexpensive.
Limitations
If you just have to be out of residency in 5 years, then this place isn't for you.
Overall Rotation Experience / Conclusion
It is one of only 2 adult level 1 trauma centers in the state, the Children's Hospital of WI is one of the busiest pediatric hospitals in the country and the only pediatric level 1 center in the state, a VA experience and community rotations. With multiple faculty in all fields and this breadth of resources that aren't shared between programs as they are in some larger urban areas MCW offers an excellent and extremely well rounded experience.

Qualification

I am an alumnus of this program.
Date of Rotation
02-07
JR
Top 500 Reviewer
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Orthogate Reviews Widget

 
9.1 (6)
Category: Wisconsin
Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals Orthopedic Surgery Residency Program
* (Written by jon kraus, June 13, 2012)
 
9.6
MCW (Written by Laith Al-Shihabi, March 21, 2010)
 
8.8
Medical College of Wisconsin (Written by Jeremy Zebroski, December 03, 2008)
 
9.2
Medical College of Wisconsin (Written by Brandon Rebholz, December 01, 2008)
 
9.3
MCW (Written by Jason Roberts, December 01, 2008)
 
9.5

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