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Frequently Asked Questions

Mayo Clinic has an international reputation as a premier tertiary medical center, with patients traveling here for care from throughout the world.

What you may not realize is that Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, is also a major regional health care provider. The majority of its patients — more than 85 percent — live in the cities surrounding Rochester and present with a full range of common and uncommon problems. The Mayo Clinic Emergency Department is a major trauma center that has a catchment area close to 1 million people and treats more than 80,000 patients annually with every conceivable condition.

These common questions have been answered by our residents and staff and will provide a more accurate picture of the Emergency Medicine Residency at Mayo Clinic.

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Why should I choose to train at Mayo Clinic?

You should choose to train at Mayo Clinic for a vast number of reasons. The faculty members here are diverse, and the off-service rotations are unparalleled with world-renowned staff in departments such as cardiology, orthopedics and neurology. Renowned scholars who have written text on advanced cardiovascular life support as well as advanced trauma life support reside here too. Additionally, our patient population is extremely complex with a great variety of pathology.

If you are interested in research, there are endless opportunities; further, you have a vast amount of resources available to pursue your own individual interest in emergency medicine. We are also a family and work together as a team to support one another. Lastly — and this is probably one of the most important reasons to train here — the residents play not only an integral role in designing the program but also a crucial one.

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How do you like having 20 percent of your curriculum taught through high-fidelity simulations?

These are intense learning experiences; they are fun and educational. The encounters that you experience in simulation are designed to meet several learning objectives. A team approach is used — an intern is accompanied by a senior resident who guides him or her through the scenario.

After the patient encounter, a debriefing is done where teaching points are highlighted using the most up-to-date literature available. This discussion reinforces the teaching points in a nonevaluative manner. When asked about simulations, many of our residents openly admit that these are incredible learning opportunities and among the highest yield didactics. In fact, some residents in our program believe it is easier to retain the learning objectives in simulations than reading from a text because they experience the clinical condition firsthand.

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What is there to do in Rochester, Minnesota? What's it like living there?

There is plenty to do in Rochester. For instance, we have a great trail system for running and biking. If hunting and fishing is your thing, there is plenty of that around here as well. For the avid golfer, we have a lot of public courses from which to choose.

The Rochester Civic Center hosts well-known artists in concerts during the year, and Olmsted County — the county in which Rochester is located — holds several fairs throughout the year that are fun to attend. During the winter, we can cross-country ski, snowmobile or snowboard. There are several theaters throughout town, meaning one is probably close to where you live. Additionally, we are only 75 minutes away from Minneapolis and St. Paul for those times you crave that big-city feeling.

Rochester also is a great city to live in. It has a small metropolitan area flavor accompanied by a short commute and safe, inexpensive living. Your life as a resident will be busy here — but at the same time, you'll be happy knowing that you and your family have all you need in town and will be able to spend a lot of time together.

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Does Mayo provide books or computers?

We have moved away from providing a book fund. We are providing iPads to all new residents, which they will keep during their three years of training. With your new iPad, you will have access to the nearly unlimited Mayo library resources wherever you are.

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How can I get good emergency medicine training at a place that only sees 'zebras'?

While Mayo Clinic is a referral center for all of southeastern Minnesota, southwestern Wisconsin and northern Iowa — and yes, many parts of the rest of the world — it is also a primary caregiver for all of southeastern Minnesota. This is the heartland of the Midwest. The majority of what we see is "bread and butter" complaints from local and surrounding rural and urban community patients.

The zebras only drop in a minority of the time as they decompensate and require emergency care.

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What types of patients will I see in a week working in the Emergency Department?

First of all, there is no average shift. There is a various amount of pathology that moves through the Emergency Department, and you will experience firsthand just how efficiently we see our patients.

On average and depending on your postgraduate level of training, you will see anywhere from one to three patients an hour. In a week of seeing "average" patients, you will see a dozen patients with chest pains, one or two of whom will have ST elevation on ECG (STEMI). You'll also work up many overdoses; abdominal catastrophes, such as abdominal aortic aneurysms, perforations and mesenteric ischemia; and several gastrointestinal bleeds.

You will perform several procedures each week secondary to any number of medical conditions, such as flash pulmonary edema, and see about a half-dozen trauma and syncope patients. Several patients will have fractures for numerous reasons.

You will see many patients with atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular rate, and you will convert a patient's rhythm either chemically or electrically depending on the clinical scenario.

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Do you see enough trauma? Who is responsible for coordinating the resuscitations?

We see a great amount of blunt trauma. We see less penetrating trauma because Rochester is a generally safe town, but penetrating trauma numbers have been increasing in recent years.

If you are seeking a more intensive penetrating trauma experience — as is seen in the inner city population — electives at Mayo Clinic's campus in Arizona, Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida or Health Shands Hospital at the University of Florida allow this type of exposure.

Trauma in Rochester is run by teams that consist of emergency medicine and surgery residents. The trauma team leader alternates each day between the emergency medicine senior resident and the surgical senior resident. Every airway is managed by our first-year emergency medicine residents.

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How is the relationship between trauma surgery and the Emergency Department?

To summarize it in one word: excellent. Our trauma teams are composed of half emergency medicine residents and half surgery residents. The trauma teams have excellent communication during the resuscitations, and we work very well together. We work hand in hand with surgery residents during our surgical intensive care unit (SICU) months. This is a great time to bond and establish relationships that are needed for communication later in the Emergency Department.

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How is your pediatric experience?

The experience is excellent. We spend about 20 percent of each month in the pediatric emergency medicine care area. We see the seasonal variation inherent in pediatrics. Additionally, in the first year, you have a dedicated month seeing pediatric emergency medicine patients. The teaching is excellent — our pediatric emergency medicine faculty members frequently receive teaching awards.

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What are the off-service rotations like?

Our off-service rotations are extremely valuable and educational. We spend time in obstetrics and gynecology, hand surgery, orthopedic trauma, anesthesia, pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), surgical intensive care unit (SICU), emergency psychiatry, emergency medical services, and ultrasound. Within these rotations, we work with world-renowned faculty who provide an excellent teaching experience that Mayo has been known for since its founding.

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What is your research month like? Can you really finish a project?

The research month is what you make of it. The bulk of the research can be finished in one month, but you will most likely use time outside of the month to wrap things up. And yes, you most definitely can finish a project. In fact, a majority of our residents have completed multiple projects.

The resources for research at Mayo are plentiful. If you can think of the project and are motivated to work on it, there are no roadblocks for supplies and resources. A project can also be as big or as small as you would like, so things are flexible for those who are ultimately not interested in doing a lot of research in residency.

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Can you do rotations at Mayo Clinic's campuses in Arizona and Florida?

Yes, definitely. Many of us have gone to other campuses to get a variety of different experiences. If you can think of a rotation you would like to do, it can likely happen. We have had residents rotate to other campuses to do pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), anesthesia, ultrasound, pediatric emergency medicine and general emergency medicine. As an added bonus, Mayo provides funding for transportation and housing.

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Do you receive enough teaching? If so, does it come mainly from other residents or do faculty members teach as well?

Teaching is certainly a strong point of the residency. Faculty members give almost all of our lectures, but we do have guest speakers as well. There are four hours of lecture a week, which include morbidity and mortality conferences that are run by residents. At the bedside, faculty are readily available to give feedback or a pearl. We typically have one faculty member for every two residents.

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Where do your residents go after graduating?

The answer to this question, as you may imagine, is simple: wherever you want to go. Graduates are spread throughout the U.S. and internationally in both academic and community settings. Our training provides the background to do both successfully.

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Can a non-Minnesotan survive a Minnesota winter? If so, how?

Yes, you can. Minnesotans are famous for finding fun ways to enjoy winter and will gladly share their techniques. And no, it doesn't snow year-round! In fact, we have wonderfully warm summers for lots of outdoor activities.

By mid-June, daytime highs are in the 80s, and during July and August, highs in the 90s are common. Occasionally, we'll have a short period of 70-degree weather in the summer to cool things down. During this time, we play all kinds of team sports (such as softball and volleyball), swim, hike, bike, and generally enjoy the outdoors. Golfers and tennis players have access to several public golf courses and tennis courts.

The wintertime also offers just as many fun activities, such as ice skating, hockey, downhill and cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, so be prepared to work and play.

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  • Aug 12, 2016
  • ART893346