Interviewing for the Perfect Residency

A residency program can help to strategically shape your career and add to your scope of practice. But finding the right residency can be a challenge. The interview is a powerful tool to ensure that the residency you choose is a vital step in furthering your future and getting you closer to your goals. Some important considerations are as follows:

Assistants: An important part of a GPR or AEGD is learning how to practice “real-life dentistry” and in the real world, dentistry is always four-handed. Learning how to use your assistant correctly is an art in and of itself, and this art can only be honed with practice. It is important to make sure you will have an assistant at all times when you are practicing clinically and that the assistant will be provided for just you. If you plan to use expanded duties assistants, ask if the programs' assistants are trained as such.

Specialty faculty: If the program helps you become proficient in specialty procedures such as endo, oral surgery or implants, it is important to know if faculty for these specialties are members of the program. They should be there to provide guidance without having their own patients concurrently. Student-to-teacher ratios are important as well.

Didactic curriculum: Getting a copy of the classes you will be taking and the examinations you will be completing is also important. Although taking tests can be cumbersome, especially after being in school for so long, didactics can help you memorize important facts which you otherwise may not have learned. Know your expectations and goals, and choose accordingly.

Rotations: Asking about rotations is important. Rotations can be a useful time to learn about other facets of dentistry or medicine, but will also be time away from improving your clinical skills. In order for this year of education to be “worth it,” you must also have sufficient clinical time to improve your skills and prepare yourself for your work. Write a list of areas that you would like to learn about, then find a program that fits that goal.

Fellow residents: The after-interview social hours are just as important as the interviews themselves. You will be spending a year of your life in this setting so chatting with current residents can give you insight to the area, the location and the culture of the school.

Many of the questions that are important for finding an associateship also apply to the pursuit of the right residency. Read interviewing for the perfect associateship for more tips.

This content was developed in cooperation with Dr. Amisha Singh, Colorado ’15, general dentist in Colorado.