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Is masters/PhD basically required in residency for cardiac surgery?


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I have a couple of questions regarding cardiac surgery residency.
 

It seems that research is a part of most cardiac surgery residencies, but I can’t tell if this is because it’s expected by the program or the interest of the resident themselves. Is it pretty much required to complete a masters or PhD in residency?
 

My 2nd question is: how long is a CS residency with a masters? PhD? 

I’m looking into the specialty, but it is already the longest residency at 6 years and with the implied expectation of doing either a masters or PhD, that sounds like a 7-9 year residency, possibly longer with fellowships. I’d really appreciate some insight. 

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16 minutes ago, bruh said:

I have a couple of questions regarding cardiac surgery residency.
 

It seems that research is a part of most cardiac surgery residencies, but I can’t tell if this is because it’s expected by the program or the interest of the resident themselves. Is it pretty much required to complete a masters or PhD in residency?
 

My 2nd question is: how long is a CS residency with a masters? PhD? 

I’m looking into the specialty, but it is already the longest residency at 6 years and with the implied expectation of doing either a masters or PhD, that sounds like a 7-9 year residency, possibly longer with fellowships. I’d really appreciate some insight. 

couple of thoughts/points

One they have a year usually in the fellowship for doing something like research - so if you have the time then you probably want to spin that to get a grad degree. 

Two the job market at least relatively recently was not very good so having advanced degrees probably would help with that eventual job search. 

Three cardiac surgeons are as a rule about the most productive dedicated people I know - so they are always reaching for more anyway. 

and yes it can be quite long - but for them that is just the job. You would never go into a demanding high stress field with poor job prospects unless you are extremely committed to it. Well unless you are an idiot.......

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9 hours ago, rmorelan said:

couple of thoughts/points

One they have a year usually in the fellowship for doing something like research - so if you have the time then you probably want to spin that to get a grad degree. 

Two the job market at least relatively recently was not very good so having advanced degrees probably would help with that eventual job search. 

Three cardiac surgeons are as a rule about the most productive dedicated people I know - so they are always reaching for more anyway. 

and yes it can be quite long - but for them that is just the job. You would never go into a demanding high stress field with poor job prospects unless you are extremely committed to it. Well unless you are an idiot.......

Thank you. So, is that master’s embedded in the 6 year residency, or would it be 6 + 1? The reason I’m asking is because I see most programs indicate one year is dedicated to “academic enrichment” so I don’t know if that means it’s meant to give you a grad degree or not.

Your third point is the one that stands out the most to me actually. All of the cardiac surgeons I know completed 8-10 year residencies with masters or PhD and fellowships. I have a hard time seeing myself being satisfied in that predicament.  I would literally be 40 by that time LOL. I find cardiac surgery incredibly fascinating but I also feel like I just want to get the residency done so I can do surgery instead of years of research. If I could do it in 6-7 years I would be more inclined, but I fear that it’s not the right “fit” for me if I have that mentality. I don’t know if that makes sense.

9 hours ago, offmychestplease said:

There are no jobs in Canada at all for it (literally the worst or second worst field in all of medicine). The residency is 6 years but you will need to pick up a masters/PhD along the way with more than one fellowship to have a chance at a job = 9-10+ years as a resident. You will work insane hours as well. If all those things sound good, and you are ok to not have in job in the end after 13-14 grueling years (med + residency + fellowship) from today, go for it.

I guess one thing I want to mention is I am open, and in fact considering working in the US either way. I have always been very open to relocating and embrace it actually. This is why I feel like maybe it would be possible to do CS residency in 6-7 years and get a job after? It sounds very wishful, I know. But if that’s a possibility, I might be okay with it. Also, it’s not like other surgical residencies are forgiving. Ortho residents do multiple fellowships and end up with 6-8 years - same with NSx, plastics, and GenSx. 

 

Too early to tell right now, but one thing I am sure about is I am going into surgery. I just don’t want 10+ years of residency. 

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4 hours ago, bruh said:

Thank you. So, is that master’s embedded in the 6 year residency, or would it be 6 + 1? The reason I’m asking is because I see most programs indicate one year is dedicated to “academic enrichment” so I don’t know if that means it’s meant to give you a grad degree or not.

Your third point is the one that stands out the most to me actually. All of the cardiac surgeons I know completed 8-10 year residencies with masters or PhD and fellowships. I have a hard time seeing myself being satisfied in that predicament.  I would literally be 40 by that time LOL. I find cardiac surgery incredibly fascinating but I also feel like I just want to get the residency done so I can do surgery instead of years of research. If I could do it in 6-7 years I would be more inclined, but I fear that it’s not the right “fit” for me if I have that mentality. I don’t know if that makes sense.

I guess one thing I want to mention is I am open, and in fact considering working in the US either way. I have always been very open to relocating and embrace it actually. This is why I feel like maybe it would be possible to do CS residency in 6-7 years and get a job after? It sounds very wishful, I know. But if that’s a possibility, I might be okay with it. Also, it’s not like other surgical residencies are forgiving. Ortho residents do multiple fellowships and end up with 6-8 years - same with NSx, plastics, and GenSx. 

 

Too early to tell right now, but one thing I am sure about is I am going into surgery. I just don’t want 10+ years of residency. 

Ha I will say again for cardiac people - in particular because it is so long you really kind of stop thinking as 10 years of residency etc to get to a finishing point. It really does become more of a journey than a destination. I mean you are going to be at 40 at some point regardless - do want to be 40 and type of doctor XYZ or 40 and a cardiac surgeon. They say this for somethings in medicine but for cardiac surgery in particular it is true - it isn't a job, or probably really even a career - it is more of a lifestyle ha. 

There are only 12 spots in cardiac a year in Canada as well - just to give an idea again of how exclusive the club is. 

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46 minutes ago, offmychestplease said:

Yes, but this past year only 17 students picked Cardiac as their first choice across Canada...that means that there is literally on average only 1 medical student in each medical school who is really down for the crazy hard 10 year residency process, that says a lot as well in another respect about the field besides it's "exclusivity".

If it helps, there are like 3 people gunning for it in my class alone, could be more but they seem to come and go in what they want. 

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50 minutes ago, offmychestplease said:

Yes, but this past year only 17 students picked Cardiac as their first choice across Canada...that means that there is literally on average only 1 medical student in each medical school who is really down for the crazy hard 10 year residency process, that says a lot as well in another respect about the field besides it's "exclusivity".

sure - so you also have to compete pretty hard just to get one of the spots. Then spend the rest of your initial career competing again with the same extremely hard core type of people for any eventual job. It is an uphill process every step of the way - so you better really love the field. 

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Ha, to be clear I should have not just said the same type of people - I mean literally the exactly same people. At every step of the way you will seem to be competing with the same small group of extremely hard working intelligent people - for residency spots, fellowship spots, awards at research conferences...... 

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I know two former classmates/friends of mine who are in the midst of their CVSx residency. One of them is definitely doing a PhD (they already had a masters and knew that going into the field they needed a PhD), the other is doing another fellowship in CCM/ICU (so as to be marketable to the CVICU groups), and I believe they had a masters/PhD before starting medical school. I would say most doing a CVSx residency in Canada realize that they "need" some sort of extra training (graduate degree and/or fellowship) and is not limited to just a 6 year residency. I think you have prepare of a 8-10 year residency.

We have to start being realistic with medical students so that when they go into fields they don't have this mismatch between what they thought a field was and the actual reality of the field. This mismatch between expectation and reality is what leads to bitterness, regret and burnout.


Its good you are open and flexible to going to the U.S. because it makes it a bit better trying to find a job. If you "know" you want *any* surgical career (but by your signature it seems you just started medical school this year, so you have time to truly decide if you are willing to make major sacrifices for a career in surgery), then I would definitely do the USMLEs (step 1 and 2CK, while in medical school, Step 2CS with MCCQE2/LMCC2, and step 3 thereafter). I would also look into if you do a CVSx residency in Canada whether you need any extra training and whether the U.S. has a reciprocity agreement when it comes to training in CVSx (from my limited understanding I thought CVSx in the US was a combo of Cardio-thoracics...), and potentially look into U.S. residency programs as well. I think ultimately it would probably be longer than 6 years of residency and/or extra training/degrees....

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36 minutes ago, ACHQ said:

I know two former classmates/friends of mine who are in the midst of their CVSx residency. One of them is definitely doing a PhD (they already had a masters and knew that going into the field they needed a PhD), the other is doing another fellowship in CCM/ICU (so as to be marketable to the CVICU groups), and I believe they had a masters/PhD before starting medical school. I would say most doing a CVSx residency in Canada realize that they "need" some sort of extra training (graduate degree and/or fellowship) and is not limited to just a 6 year residency. I think you have prepare of a 8-10 year residency.

We have to start being realistic with medical students so that when they go into fields they don't have this mismatch between what they thought a field was and the actual reality of the field. This mismatch between expectation and reality is what leads to bitterness, regret and burnout.


Its good you are open and flexible to going to the U.S. because it makes it a bit better trying to find a job. If you "know" you want *any* surgical career (but by your signature it seems you just started medical school this year, so you have time to truly decide if you are willing to make major sacrifices for a career in surgery), then I would definitely do the USMLEs (step 1 and 2CK, while in medical school, Step 2CS with MCCQE2/LMCC2, and step 3 thereafter). I would also look into if you do a CVSx residency in Canada whether you need any extra training and whether the U.S. has a reciprocity agreement when it comes to training in CVSx (from my limited understanding I thought CVSx in the US was a combo of Cardio-thoracics...), and potentially look into U.S. residency programs as well. I think ultimately it would probably be longer than 6 years of residency and/or extra training/degrees....

It really is the mismatch between expectations and reality that creates bitterness down the line. I think as a profession we do a really bad job of conveying the reality to students. It's hard because things can change so much in 5 years and also students are primarily exposed to academic physicians who may not be fully up to date with the latest job dynamics. The only source of true information I find is people who are about to finish training and are embarking on their own job search.

The US/CAN training mismatch is also an important consideration. Last I remember there are some curriculum difference in fields such as neurosurgery that make it so training isn't fully transferable. However, I am not a surgeon and this is purely second-hand information I've heard from friends in those fields over dinner.

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