Frequently Asked Questions
What does a typical rotation schedule entail?
Take a look at the
Rotation Schedule Averages.
What efforts are being made to ensure diversity among the housestaff?
We are a diverse group, but always interested in becoming more diverse! Technically we are with 52% female and 23% non-white. We were born in 12 different countries and 21 different states and speak 24 different languages. But in many ways our diversity extend far beyond statistics as we have a wide range of hobbies, talents and prior job experiences.
Please visit our Minority Affairs and Recruitment Page. For more information about visiting clerkships, please contact the
Visiting Clerkship Program, Harvard Medical School at (617) 432.4422, and specify an interest in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Visit their website or send an email to Ms. Jo Cole, Project Coordinator at
firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.
Special rotations are available for interested minority students through Harvard Medical School's Office for Diversity and Community Partnership. These rotations offer the opportunity to participate on the clinical service or to perform research electives.
Want to know what BIDMC is doing to increase the numbers of minority physicians? Wonder what it might be like during your residency here? Specific questions from prospective applicants regarding minority affairs and recruitment can be addressed to
Dr. Booker Bush.
What are the stipends and benefits for residents?
The annual stipend is paid in weekly installments. For 2009-2010, stipends are:
- Interns $53,051.64
- Junior residents $55,011.98
- Senior residents $57.481.51
Other benefits include:
- Three weeks of vacation for interns and residents (the former have an additional 5 days of vacation between the end of internship and the beginning of residency); residents also receive a total of 5 flex-days off that can be utilized for personal or professional special events. In addition, interns receive their first choice of holiday time off (choose between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years).
- Subsidized on-site parking
- Health insurance (at group rates) with optional dependent coverage
- Family leave policy
- Malpractice insurance for all activities within the scope of training
- For a complete list of benefits, please see our GME website
Do residents get together socially?
Yes, all the time. Each year the Department of Medicine pays for a formal holiday party and end of the year party with coverage provided to allow all housestaff to attend. The intern class also has department sponsored events during orientation, including a clam bake and harbor cruise. During the year, interns are provided coverage to attend two intern retreats, one in the fall and one in the spring. There are multiple other department sponsored dinners and events throughout the year. Unofficially, we have weekly happy hours for medicine housestaff. In addition, we often get together for dinners, go to movies, throw BBQs, and take vacations together. The housestaff camaraderie is one of the best aspects of the BIDMC program.
Do residents take overnight calls on the wards? What are the advantages of a nightfloat system?
The residents and interns go home on their call nights and sign over to a nightfloat. One advantage of this system is that you can always sleep in your own bed and have time away from the hospital at the end of a busy night. Another advantage is that you can stick around on your post-call day when all the action occurs. Many people worry that important overnight events are missed by leaving the hospital. However, when patients are active, teams typically stay later than usual to ensure that the patient is settled and ready for a quiet night. The following day, the team has the opportunity to see procedures, follow up on tests, discuss cases with the consultants, and prepare for discharges. With an overnight call system, these duties would be performed by a covering team. In general, most housestaff feel that the nightfloat system allows residents and interns to be in the hospital during the most active parts of the day.
What is the level of autonomy?
Interns and residents establish the plan of action for the day for their patients. There is always back-up from the attendings and fellows when needed. One unique aspect of the training program at BIDMC is the tradition of equality among the medical team caring for the patient. Interns are encouraged to speak with attendings and fellows. Physicians of all levels of training work closely to make management decisions together, often with the intern and resident driving diagnostic and treatment decisions.
Is there competition among housestaff?
The housestaff relationships are one of the best aspects of the BIDMC program. Residents truly work together to accomplish common goals. Residents are not hesitant to solicit opinions from one another regarding diagnostic or treatment decisions. The housestaff are truly willing to help each other. There are innumerable stories of residents stepping outside their dedicated role to help another resident who may be overwhelmed or overworked due to unforeseen circumstances. As an example, one resident was pulled for sick call at 4pm to the CCU, where four admissions were waiting. Other residents from around the hospital came to deliver scrubs, place a central line with the intern, help with an admission note, and more. It is also not uncommon for housestaff to cover for one another in the case of personal or professional conflicts. It is this collaborative environment that makes BIDMC a unique place to work.
How do housestaff match up for fellowship?
Fabulously! About 35 of our residents apply for subspecialty fellowship each year; we have matched 100% of our residents applying into the field of their choice over the past decade. Just as an example, last year 31 of 35 residents who applied got one of their top 3 choices in the fellowship match. Our mentorship system for the match includes meetings with Drs. Reynolds and Zeidel, a faculty mentor in the specialty field you choose, and informal advising from residents and fellows who have very recently been through the application process.
Do you use electronic medical records or electronic ordering systems?
Yes. The electronic system at BIDMC is exceptional with all medical records, orders, radiology studies and sign-outs done electronically. Not surprisingly, BIDMC has been selected one of America's "Most Wired Hospitals" by U.S. News and World Report.
Do you have opportunities to perform procedures?
We have an entire rotation dedicated to performing procedures, including central lines on the floor, lumbar punctures, paracenteses, thoracenteses, and arthrocenteses. There is a dedicated teaching attending on this rotation to provide teaching and instruction. In the ICUs, the primary team will perform all procedures on their patients. In addition, BIDMC has cutting edge technology in the simulation center for practicing central line placement, running codes, and refining care of an unstable patient.
Are there research opportunities early on?
As members one of the top research departments in the United States, our residents have the opportuntity to work with international leaders in medical research and have ample opportunity to pursue their own research interests. For more information, please see our section on
Are there opportunities for doing international medicine?
Residents are supported in their pursuit of a broad range of unique clinical, research, teaching, and service opportunities, including international health experiences. For more information, please visit our International Health and Underserved Populations section.
Is there an emphasis on resident teaching?
Yes, residents and interns are always informally teaching each other. In addition, there are
formal electives for senior residents to teach medical students and interns on ambulatory rotations.
What conferences are there weekly?
We are fortunate to have an abundance of outstanding, interactive teaching conference each week. Weekly
conferences include Morbidity and Mortality conference, Grand Rounds, intern reports, resident reports, Journal Club, and Firm Conferences.
Is the program compliant with work hour regulations?
Yes. This is not an easy residency - we work very hard - but it's great that our program leaders think it's extremely important that we always comply with duty hours and are always working to keep the system within the duty hours limits. On many of our ICU rotations and at the DFCI we average close to 80 hours per week; on the wards we average in the 60s to low 70 hours per week (depending on the census and time of year). Our elective, ambulatory, and research rotations are outstanding learning opportunities, but the average number of hours on those rotations is lower. Averages for the last academic year, for all residents lumped together, suggested that the average week for a resident was in the 55 hour per week range and the average number of hours per week for interns was in the mid-60s. Of course, it varies widely by individual resident and by rotation.
To ensure that residents are compliant with work hour regulations, the program regularly performs a detailed assessment of all resident work hours. For a more detailed view our policies regarding Duty Hours, please visit the Graduate Medical Education Office website.
Can you afford to live in Boston?
Yes. Although it is expensive to live in Boston, our salaries are appropriately adjusted to the cost of living. The salaries for the 2008-2009 academic year range from
$51,000 for a PGY1 to
$55,800 for a PGY3. Although most people rent, there are also a number of housestaff who have been able to purchase condos in parts of downtown Boston as well as nearby Jamaica Plain, Brookline, Newton, and other close suburbs. For more information please take a look at the benefits page.
Do you get any holidays off?
Holidays are divided into three 5 day blocks over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Interns get their first choice and one holiday off. Junior residents have one holiday off which is often their first choice as well. Senior residents get last choice but in exchange, they have two holidays off. This holiday time is in addition to dedicated vacation time.
Is the administration responsive to change?
Absolutely. There is constant feedback to the administration about what is and is not going well so that things can be improved. Feedback comes through formal evaluations, informal discussions, and focus groups. Changes are made throughout the year to improve quality of resident life and patient care. There is also a Housestaff Council made up of 6 interns, 4 junior residents, and 4 senior residents. The Council meets monthly to discuss issues brought up by the housestaff and presents plans and potential solutions at a monthly housestaff meeting with the entire residency program.
Where do people live?
Most people in walking distance from the hospital live in Fenway, Brookline or Brookline Village. If you have a car, Jamaica Plains is a popular place. In addition, residents live everywhere from Cambridge to the South End and even outside the city such as in Chestnut Hill.
What Medical Schools do people come from?
The internal medicine housestaff are chosen from some of the top medical schools around the country and the world.
What will my meals be like at BIDMC?
The BIDMC internal medicine residency program generously provides outside catered food each day for lunch, including Mexican and Indian food, gourmet sandwiches, and pizza. The program also provides meal cards with money allotted each year to be used in the cafeterias on the east and west campuses, cafes, as well as the Starbucks in the main lobby. The hospital also provides free food to housestaff on call on the weekends. The internal medicine housestaff are also lucky enough to have a dedicated housestaff lounge with 2 Flavia machines for making free gourmet coffee, and a cappuccino machine is in the works! If you like fast food, there is a food court, The Galleria, across the street from the hospital where you can buy anything from McDonald's to burritos, as well as a nearby Souper Salad.