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Frequently Asked Questions

What does a typical resident rotation schedule entail?

Take a look here at the Rotation Schedule Averages.

What are the stipends and benefits for residents?

The annual stipend is paid in weekly installments. For 2016-2017, stipends are:

  • Interns $61,537.10
  • Junior residents $65,743.92
  • Senior residents $68,695.53

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 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

What are the housestaff up to when not working?

All kinds of fun activities in and around Boston!  The housestaff camaraderie is one of the best aspects of the BIDMC program.   Each year the Department of Medicine pays for a formal holiday 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.   Resident have weekly ambulatory happy hours, potluck dinners, a program wide softball team, movies, BBQs, local sporting events (walking distance to Fenway), hiking, biking and everything in between.

Each year the Department of Medicine pays for a formal holiday 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.   Resident have weekly ambulatory happy hours, potluck dinners, a program wide softball team, movies, BBQs, local sporting events (walking distance to Fenway), hiking, biking and everything in between.

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 11 different countries, 24 different states and speak 24 different languages. But in many ways our diversity extends far beyond statistics as we have a wide range of hobbies, talents and prior work 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 vcp_hpsp@hms.harvard.edu, 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. Pablo Quintero Pinzon.

Do residents and interns take overnight call on the wards?

We have moved away from a q4 call cycle to a more focused admitting scheme localized to your team’s geographic location.  Interns and residents no longer take call while on the wards.  Instead, the ward teams are partnered with twilight admitting teams and a nightfloat coverage system to optimize patient care, education and physician wellness.  This innovative design supports interdisciplinary teamwork and patient communication.  It provides a more predictable schedule and a consistent team presence at 4pm attending rounds.  The twilight experience allows residents to focus on the primary work-up of new admissions in the evenings without the added responsibility of cross cover.

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.

How well do the housestaff get along?

The housestaff relationships are one of the best aspects of the BIDMC program.  Residents function as a team, whether it is consulting a colleague on nightfloat regarding treatment decisions, celebrating each other’s success or supporting one another through challenging clinical scenarios.  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, Dr. Smith recently sent a note to thank a resident who volunteered to help out a colleague and she responded: "Thanks Dr. Smith, but I wasn't doing anything different than what everyone around me is doing! Pretty amazing place to work..."

How well do housestaff match for fellowship?

Outstanding!  About 75% of our residents apply for subspecialty fellowship each year and typically 90% get one of their top 2 choices in the fellowship match! Our mentorship system for the match includes meetings with Drs. Smith and Zeidel, a faculty mentor in the specialty and informal advising from residents and fellows who have very recently been through the application process.    Our chief residents help relieve the stress of the match by helping to ensure coverage for all your fellowship interviews.

Does BIDMC use Epic?

Nope! BIDMC was one of the first medical centers in the country to develop an electronic medical record and continues to use a home grown system that allows for real-time changes to the ordering system and medical record based on feedback from residents, attendings and nurses. However, BI’s medical record system has many of the features that are important in EPIC and other commercially available systems including electronic MARs, vitals and documentation.

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.  We were one of the first Internal Medicine programs to create and adopt such a procedure teaching service.  For more information, please see "Creation of an Innovative Inpatient Medical Procedure Service and a Method to Evaluate House Staff Competency" and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 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 of one of the top research departments in the United States, our residents have the opportunity to work with international leaders in medical research and have ample opportunity to pursue their own research interests.   There is an exceptional opportunity for dedicated research time in your senior year.  For more information, please see our section on Research Opportunities.

Are there opportunities for doing global health work?

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, there is a very strong emphasis on residents-as-teacher skills with both extensive formal and informal medical education curricula.  Residents and interns teach formally and informally, and routinely receive feedback on both clinical and teaching skills. In addition, there are formal electives for senior residents to teach medical students and interns on ambulatory rotations, and an opportunity to join our Clinician Educator Track.

What conferences are there weekly?

We are really 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.  We are grateful 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, we average close to 75 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. 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 live in walking distance from the hospital 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 provides outside catered food each day for lunch, including Mexican and Indian food, salads, 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 coffee shop in the Rosenberg building. The hospital provides free food to housestaff on call on the weekends. The internal medicine housestaff are lucky enough to have a dedicated housestaff lounge with a Flavia machine. Between the two campuses, there is a Pret a Manger, Caffe Nero, B. Good, Clover and a food court where you can buy anything from McDonald's to burritos.

Contact Information

Residency Training Program
Internal Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
West Campus, Deaconess Building, Suite 306
One Deaconess Road
Boston, MA 02215
617-632-8273
617-632-8261
medinternship@bidmc.harvard.edu