Questions for Interview
While most prospective residents have a variety of individual questions and concerns about each residency program to which they apply, the following are questions that might help get the ball rolling.
1. How many of your Family Practice faculty members practice OB?
While any Family Medicine residency program you attend will teach obstetrics, not many will possess faculty who all practice obstetrics. Why is this important? Well, to be honest, an ideal program should provide you teaching from both obstetricians and family physicians. Obstetricians will give you in-depth expertise you should receive during training, but your experience of practice (and learning) OB from a family physician is crucial. How else will you learn what you should be comfortable with once you leave residency, and at what point a consultation is appropriate? Your interactions with the mother and family will also be critical; in all likelihood, you will be the physician for the newborn as well.
2. How did your program do in the recent In-service Training Exams?
After entering a residency, it's not uncommon for a resident physician to wonder how they will compare to other family physicians after graduation. While residencies are going to look alike, those with whom you spend the most time – your fellow residents – largely influence the extent to which you will learn. An environment of quality residents who are compassionate and intelligent will provide invaluable training and place you among the "best" when you graduate from residency.
3. How does your residency demonstrate its commitment to the residents' education?
Seemingly a simple question, this can be a tough one to answer when posed to faculty. Financial commitment is one thing. Embracing its obligation to train you and perform that obligation in a committed, hands-on way is another. Do members of the faculty actively present at noon conferences (not just show up)? Do they develop, present, and teach at workshops that they have developed? Do they carry that training into the Family Practice Clinic with the residents? Are they encouraging your professional development through example? Look for a program where the faculty is active in teaching.
4. How does the program facilitate my development as a person?
While the primary responsibility of residency is to "teach you medicine,” another responsibility felt by the better programs is your personal development. Does the program you're looking at have a systematic process for inquiring and assessing this? Do they provide ways for you to become active within the community, such as volunteer opportunities? Does the entire faculty spend time with you to ask you what your perceived needs are?
5. Are your residents happy?
An invaluable question and one you must certainly ask the resident physicians in a pointed fashion. No doubt about it, residency is a lot of work, but taking care of this work in an environment of camaraderie, support and teamwork is much different from trying to meet the responsibilities in a lesser environment.