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How much of a role do PD have in selecting residents?


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On 11/16/2020 at 9:11 PM, Bookmark311 said:

Are decisions made by them or made by team they work with? How does it work?

we get a ton of questions like this - which makes total sense. The problem is it assumes some form of uniform approach from all the programs. That in my experience is not the case. 

This isn't like med school with extensive research into how to select people and a ton of people involved and comparatively a lot of resources to figure things out - and then then often are kind enough to even let you know what they are looking for. These are individual programs that are much smaller in comparison that even lack some of the tools med school admissions has to work with (like GPA, MCAT to name a few.....). 

Which annoying leaves us stuck in figuring out in general how things work. You can make similar statements on questions like what are the programs looking for - that often isn't really a useful question because different programs in the same specialty even are looking for different things - often significantly different things. Ha it is like picking a tomato sauce from the grocery store - there is a reason why there are 20 different varieties even within a single brand  - not every likes the same tomato sauce even if they are kind of similar and all made with the same basic ingredients. Not every program likes the same things in a resident or values various things the same way. 

To add to that I have seen programs where absolutely there is a team based approach where the PD may just adjust results slightly based on information perhaps only she has. I have seen other ones where the PD is completely in charge of the final rankings but gets feedback from others. I have seen cases where other staff even have strong influence in the end rank even if they aren't formally involved in the process (like chairs of the department or prior PDs etc.). There is no single answer.  

Figuring all this out requires examining each program and asking how things work.  That is annoying, takes time, and is imperfect. Truth is there is simply no way to optimize your application for all schools - you can improve in general and up your chances but somethings you do will just improve yourself at one school and decrease your chances at another. 

This is in particular what makes the lack of electives away from the home institution a challenge this year. Harder to figure things out when you are not physically there. At least everyone is going through the same issues. 

Edited by rmorelan
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11 hours ago, rmorelan said:

you we get a ton of questions like this - which makes total sense. The problem is it assumes some form of uniform approach from all the programs. That in my experience is not the case. 

This isn't like med school with extensive research into how to select people and a ton of people involved and comparatively a lot of resources to figure things out - and then then often are kind enough to even let you know what they are looking for. These are individual programs that are much small in comparison that even lack some of the tools med school admissions has to work with (like GPA, MCAT to name a few.....). 

Which annoying leaves us stuck in figuring out in general how things work. You can make similar statements on questions like what are the programs looking for - that often isn't really a useful question because different programs in the same specialty even are looking for different things - often significantly different things. Ha it is like picking a tomato sauce from the grocery store - there is a reason why there are 20 different varieties even within a single brand  - not every likes the same tomato sauce even if they are kind of similar. Not every program likes the same things in a resident or values various things the same way. 

To add to that I have seen programs where absolutely there is a team based approach where the PD may just adjust results slightly based on information perhaps only she has. I have seen other ones where the PD is completely in charge of the final rankings but gets feedback from others. I have seen cases where other staff even have strong influence in the end rank even if they aren't formally involved in the process (like chairs of the department or prior PDs etc.). There is no single answer.  

Figuring all this out requires examining each program and asking how things work.  That is annoying, takes time, and is imperfect. Truth is there is simply no way to optimize your application for all schools - you can improve in general and up your chances but somethings you do will just improve yourself at one school and decrease your chances at another. 

This is in particular what makes the lack of electives away from the home institution a challenge this year. Harder to figure things out when you are not physically there. 

Yea, from my experience it really depends on the school and the PD. This isn't regulated or anything so all you can do is show up and do a good job while hoping for the best.

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Just like politics:

-  sometimes it's unanimous decision, everyone like or hate someone. This is easy decision.

- sometimes the PD is weak and goes with the majority decision, careful not to offend anyone. Remember PD's promotion and tenure may be at stake and needs to please as many people as possible. 

- sometimes the PD is a puppet, paper tiger, straw man. There are more senior, "invisible" hands behind the scenes making the maneuvers and laying the chess pieces. Maybe the PD depends on that senior person for tenure, promotion, or even to just keep their job. Kind of hard to predict situation, but of course it's like how things work underground, the back door is often the best way, if you know where to look.

- sometimes the crowd is quiet and the loudest and most opinionated person gets their way. Again bit hard to predict, but basically comes down to which of your referees has bigger guns.

- in some instances the admin people actually gets their way. Not all departments are actually "ruled" by MDs, and admin/bureaucrats can set the tone. Maybe the applicant is the child of a prominent businessman and "philanthropist", member of parliament, Crown Prince of a Middle Eastern country overflowing with gold, emeritus professor of the department etc. 

See article below: https://thetyee.ca/News/2015/02/06/Former-Cabinet-Minister-Wins-UBC-Residency/

 

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On 11/17/2020 at 8:30 PM, shikimate said:

Just like politics:

-  sometimes it's unanimous decision, everyone like or hate someone. This is easy decision.

- sometimes the PD is weak and goes with the majority decision, careful not to offend anyone. Remember PD's promotion and tenure may be at stake and needs to please as many people as possible. 

- sometimes the PD is a puppet, paper tiger, straw man. There are more senior, "invisible" hands behind the scenes making the maneuvers and laying the chess pieces. Maybe the PD depends on that senior person for tenure, promotion, or even to just keep their job. Kind of hard to predict situation, but of course it's like how things work underground, the back door is often the best way, if you know where to look.

- sometimes the crowd is quiet and the loudest and most opinionated person gets their way. Again bit hard to predict, but basically comes down to which of your referees has bigger guns.

- in some instances the admin people actually gets their way. Not all departments are actually "ruled" by MDs, and admin/bureaucrats can set the tone. Maybe the applicant is the child of a prominent businessman and "philanthropist", member of parliament, Crown Prince of a Middle Eastern country overflowing with gold, emeritus professor of the department etc. 

See article below: https://thetyee.ca/News/2015/02/06/Former-Cabinet-Minister-Wins-UBC-Residency/

 

True - although as staff I say one of the most useful features of the job is that relatively quickly you get tenure and thus while there may be pressures it isn't usually a question of having the job on the line. You cannot be fired really by the department chair (they have to make your life annoying in some other way ha). It would be odd to have a PD that isn't already a full partner in the radiology department (which you would have within 2-3 years of starting as staff depending on where you are). Doesn't mean the PD won't be impacted if they mess up and get the wrong residents - they will be reminded I am sure frequently when there is a bad apple in the mix. 

Plus academic rank is great and all but it doesn't usually actually mean anything other than bragging rights (same pay, same job, no difference in academic time.....). It isn't like the US where you do get more time for research as you advance your rank (which is both good and bad). This is why some people remain as assistant professors their entire career (spanning decades). They don't see the point of working to advance themselves academically - even when after awhile on teaching credits alone they probably would have advanced. Although it is fun to have the technical title as professor. 

 

Edited by rmorelan
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