DEPARTMENT OF UROLOGY - EDUCATION

Applicants for Residency Positions

What does it mean to be a Urologist?
A general practice urologist spends most of his/her time in the office, which is where most of the practice income (and some would say personal satisfaction) is generated.  Depending on referral patterns, the actual surgical case rate from that practice may be near 7%.  Office procedure generation is somewhat higher since referrals for evaluation of hematuria and elevated PSA, for instance will usually include cystoscopy or an ultrasound directed biopsy.  In some group practices, one partner may be the beneficiary of surgical referrals from the partners but most general urologists must know how to evaluate the common urologic maladies and provide a variety of care options (both medical, procedural and surgical) to their patients.  Additionally, Urologists work with other specialists (e.g. radiation oncology, medical oncology, etc.) who will often be needed to provide the best care to our patients.  We are often the ‘hub’ of patient care and coordinate the activities of our consultants as we maintain the big picture of overall care.  If your expectation is a high operative volume with little clinical involvement, Urology is not the field for you.   However, if you enjoy a mix of patient care opportunities, don’t shy away from complex patients, and are not intimidated by an ever-changing therapeutic landscape, this may be the field that will keep interested for a long career. The American Urologic Association has prepared a video, which may be helpful in understanding why many of us chose Urology as a profession.

What is expected in Urology residency?
In general, the Urology resident is expected to be well versed in patient care including the management of multiple complex medical problems while developing an organized approach to management of the patients’ urologic issues.  Residents generally work in teams of junior and senior residents – so the ability to get along in the cooperative environment and to put the interests of the group (and their patients) foremost is invaluable to a successful residency.  Another short clip discussing the life of a resident in Urology has been produced as well.

Our best advice:
The best residents will take advantage of every situation as a learning opportunity.  A complex case becomes a case report; a complication becomes an opportunity to improve the overall practice through new QI measures; a presentation to your peers becomes a chance to develop new paradigms for research. Residents who dedicate themselves to good patient care and take ownership of their career and profession do well and will be sought after.  Those who just view it as a job or career controlled by others, will generally get burned-out early on.
Work hard, work smart, work well with your colleagues and enjoy the challenges.  If you take control of your career by making it fulfilling, challenging & fun, you’ll never ‘work’ a day in your life.
A useful site has been developed for Urology applicants and Residents and can be visited for other discussions urologymatch.com.

Application process for PGY-1 positions starting 07-01-2015
Please visit the AUA match web site at:
American Urological Association

The UTHSCSA Urology match for the resident training classes starting in 2014 and 2015 will continue as in previous years.  Briefly, the applications are funneled through the AUA match system which requires programs and students to submit their preference lists in early January with the actual match list being published at the end of January.  The UTHSCSA Urology matched applicants are then required to submit their PGY-1 year (General Surgery) application through the NRMP with their first and only site as the UTHSCSA General Surgery program.  Non-matched applicants can participate in the AUA ‘scramble’ if spots are open, or they may submit applications to other types of training programs in the NRMP match, which is usually complete in March.  No couples-matching is available through the AUA match system.  Please visit the AUA website for other questions and information.

MS-4 rotations at UTHSCSA Department of Urology
It is advisable applicants for any Urology residency try to do a rotation with their preferred training programs in order to get to know the residents they may be training with and the strengths and weaknesses of the program and faculty.  We have usually 3-4 MS-4 rotators on service during the Summer and Fall of the academic year.  At least 1 of these 4-week positions is held for outside students during each period.   Students usually rotate on the Pediatric, University Hospital, Adult Oncology (Santa Rosa) and South Texas VA services during their time here and are encouraged to present a short (5-7 minute) didactic session on an assigned topic to assess their learning and teaching skills.  Research projects with faculty and fellows are also possible during this time but may extend beyond the actual time on service.  Interaction with the faculty is important if letters of recommendation are sought for later applications to Urology training programs.  The MS-4 slots fill quickly and are usually granted on a first-come basis.  A background check if required of all rotators and references may be requested if there are too many applicants for the available positions.  In general, interviews for applicants to Urology programs occur in the months of September through December and it is generally better to do a rotation at your favorite program before that program’s interview dates.  Rotations are scheduled through VSAS.

About our Program:
Urology training at UTHSCSA is accredited as a 1+4 program with 4 residents at each level of training.  Three of these are civilian and one is reserved for a military trainee each year.  A description of the program specifics and Goals & Objectives for each year and rotation is published in the Resident Handbook.  Please feel free to click the link and review this document at your leisure.  On the main page of our web site, you will find information about our entire faculty and the general workings of the Department.  Some links to the local attractions and life in San Antonio are listed below.

Our Application Process:
The AUA match opens for applicants on 09-15-2014.  Usually, we receive around 180-200 applications for our 3 civilian positions.  The military position is matched separately under an agreement with the Department of Defense.  We close our accrual of applicants on 10-01-2014 and begin the process of evaluating the applications.   In general, incomplete applications should be made complete before the end of the first week of October, or they will be dropped from consideration.  When completed, applications are divided for consideration by several independent committees of faculty.  These committees score the application and rank-order each according to their area of review.  Except for the program director, no faculty member sits on more than one committee and the results of other committees’ scoring are blinded until after the interviews are completed.  Each area is weighted as determined by the faculty at the Annual Program Evaluation (APE) review.  Based upon the weighted overall score, the top candidates are invited until 30-32 are scheduled for interviews on during the first week of December (12-01-2014 and 12-02-2014).

The committees are:

  • General application, USMLE scores and transcripts
  • Personal Statements, Life Experiences, Honors & Awards
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Research Activity
  • Applicant Interview

The interviews are conducted in conjunction with the students’ visit to campus on the dates noted above.
Details of the Interview Visit:
Day prior to the interview

  • Transportation to San Antonio – student expense
  • Dinner with resident staff – Free, provided by Department
  • Hotel accommodations at UTHSCSA discount – student expense

Day of the interview

AM Interviewees (7-8):
07:00 - Transportation to UTHSCSA campus – Free, provided by Hotel
Breakfast provided at UTHSCSA
07:15 – Orientation
08:00 - Interviews and tours with resident staff
12:00 - Lunch provided by Department
13:00 – Dismissal

PM Interviewees (7-8):
11:45 - Transportation to UTHSCSA campus – Free, provided by Hotel
12:00 – Lunch provided by Department
12:15 – Orientation
13:00 - Interviews and tours with resident staff
17:00 – Dismissal

After the Interview

  • Fill out and return the anonymous satisfaction survey
  • Please follow the rules and regulations of the match as articulated on the AUA web site.
  • No formal or informal communication is necessary until after the match results are returned in late January 2015.

If you need more information about specifics of the program, contact Ms. Montez

 

The interviews:
Like some other schools, we have adopted a panel interview process that allows us to evaluate the students in a more structured setting and shortens the amount of time, and hopefully stress, necessary to get an idea about the students’ fit for our program.   The panel consists of the program director and 2-4 other faculty,  who have not participated in any of the other evaluation committees.  The interview lasts 20-25 minutes and is designed with specific intent.  Questions are posed to the candidate to get a feel for their ability to communicate, their outlook on life, their ability to think through a problem and their personality traits.  Generally, no medical knowledge base is being examined and for many of the questions, there are no ‘right’ answers.   A score for the interview is determined by the committee and submitted as a weighted component along with the others by the earlier committees.  Students are given the opportunity to ask questions during the interview and as they visit with the residents and faculty who will be available during the day in the interview area. Dr Rodriguez may have separate short interviews with candidates as well.

At the conclusion of the interview days, a final weighted score for each applicant is calculated from the scores submitted by each committee. This becomes the basis for the preference list to be submitted to the AUA match in January.  The faculty meets immediately after the interviews to review this list and make minor adjustments as needed.  Once completed, the list is submitted and the process is complete.

San Antonio and the South Texas Area:
San Antonio is situated in the heart of south Texas and is blessed with relatively warm winters and very warm summers.  The cost of living is low and livability is high.  Major contributors to the economy of the area include several military bases, the University of Texas & the Health Sciences Center and the USAA insurance and investment company.  As a vacation destination, there are 3 major theme parks (Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Schlitterbahn & Sea World), the Mission Trail and the Riverwalk. For more about the area visit the official San Antonio web site or the San Antonio visitors site.

Program Coordinator:
Crystal M. Montez-
montezcm@uthscsa.edu

Links:

UTHSCSA Urology Resident Handbook

AUA match web site

Urology Match.com

VSAS

Texas and San Antonio links:

Travel Texas

City of San Antonio

San Antonio visitors