View Full Version : Dr. J's Residency Interview Junket #1: Roanoke, Greensboro, Charleston
12-01-2001, 03:42 PM
Tomorrow, CrazyCatLady and I are leaving for the first three of ten residency interviews I'm doing throughout the Southeast. On Monday I interview at MCVH/VCU in Roanoke, VA; Tuesday is Moses Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, NC; and Wednesday is MUSC in Charleston, SC.
If anyone can tell me anything about these three locales, that would be cool. I do, however, have a few specific questions:
1. I don't have a place to stay yet in Charleston. Does anyone know of a cool place? I like small hotels with character, but relatively inexpensive is good, too.
2. How long does it really take to get from Greensboro to Charleston? I've had conflicting reports from Mapquest and others.
Of the ten interviews I'm doing, these are probably three of the top choices. I especially like Moses Cone, as far as what I've read about the program and the people I've been in contact with; I really want to like Greensboro and the hospital itself.
12-01-2001, 04:59 PM
Unfortunately, some B&Bs and historic-type hotels in Charleston have become hellishly expensive(like $600+ a night). I have stayed at the Westin Francis Marion, which may be a bit pricey but is in a good downtown location. I stayed last summer at a hotel called the Andrew Pinckney Inn (http://www.andrewpinckneyinn.com), which was new, but in a historic building and district, and which I found really convenient to the major downtown sites, also. Hope that helps!
Good luck with your interviews!
12-01-2001, 05:08 PM
I've lived in Charlotte, N.C., for about the last 30 years, off and on, so here's what I know about the areas:
1. Only passed through Roanoke on the Interstate, so I can't speak about that area.
2. Charleston has it all over Greensboro, however, as a place to live. It's a lovely historic city with great access to the ocean and to golf courses (Hilton Head Island is nearby, rich enclave. John Mellancamp's got a home there, among others).
On the other hand, you're living in South Carolina (I served my time there, in York, just outside of Charlotte. Eleven years.) They've got a collection of nut cases down there that makes Maryland's anti-smoking-in-your-house, anti-Santa Claus residents look normal.
Oh, and Charleston melts in the summer. Do you like humid, hot weather? In November? Then Charleston's the place for you.
3. Greensboro to Charlotte is about an hour drive by interstate. From Charlotte to Charleston is about three hours. Interstate all the way. Very dull drive.
12-01-2001, 08:43 PM
We've been over this before, haven't we, Doc?
Roanoke and Greensboro are Cream-of-Nowheresville.
Charleston is one of the most beautiful cities in the continental United States.
Yeah, it's hot and humid, but that's why they built those big ol' porches on the houses and invented seersucker suits. Why is a Charlestonian like a Chinaman? They both eat rice and worship their ancestors.
12-02-2001, 08:48 AM
Yeah, Ike, I know. The only reason I'm applying at MUSC at all is because Charleston would be such a cool place to live. Its residency program is of exactly the sort that I want to avoid--Big Program at Big Academic Medical Center. If I like the town that much, though, I might be willing to compromise. (Same story for Tampa.)
Greensboro and Roanoke (as well as most other towns in VA and NC that I'm applying to) have small programs that are affiliated with but not exactly in big academic centers. Sure, they may be in Nowheresville, but I'm going to be at the hospital over half the time anyway. (Besides, I've lived in the relative Nowheresville of Lexington for eight years, and I like it.) (I'm staying in the Southeast for a variety of personal reasons.)
The best chance of cool program in cool city is the Ocshner Medical Foundation in New Orleans, the only way one can do a residency in the Big Easy without working at Chaaahty Hospital. I keep waiting to hear of a catch on that one, though. (I think they have a bad call schedule.)
Then there's Cincinnati, where I'm interviewing only because Blues Traveler is in town the night before and because they'll probably take me out to the Montgomery Inn for some ribs.
Anyway, I'm heading out...full report when I return.
12-02-2001, 09:10 AM
Originally posted by DoctorJ
The best chance of cool program in cool city is the Ocshner Medical Foundation in New Orleans
That would be good. I understand they let you do residencies drunk in New Orleans.
Qadgop the Mercotan
12-02-2001, 12:35 PM
Originally posted by Ukulele Ike
That would be good. I understand they let you do residencies drunk in New Orleans. [/B]
I think they require you to do your residency drunk in NO.
12-04-2001, 01:59 PM
I don't know Roanoke really well, but I've been there a few times, and I've got friends who really like it. As you know by now, it's a middlin' sized town, with beautiful mountains every which way you look. It gets hot in the summer there too, but a lot less so than either Charleston or Greensboro, and you've got the New River to cool off in. :)
Looking forward to the trip report!
12-04-2001, 02:12 PM
Roanoke is delightful! Don't listen to anyone who says otherwise. Charleston though is the peach of the bunch.
As for a place to stay in Charleston: I highly, HIGHLY recommend "The Eliot House Inn" on Queen street. As far as B & Bs go it has everything the others have (rice beds, happy hour, charm galore) but is cheaper than every other B & B in the historic area. That's where all my wedding guests stayed when I got married in Charleston. There is also a Best Western right downtown that might run specials. It's not any cheaper than the Eliot House (last I checked) and is much less charming, but it's not bad and it's well-kept and if they run the right sort of price break you might get a good deal. There is also a Days Inn right in the Historic Market but from the outside, it looks sorta crappy.
Okay, as for the places. I don't know a lot about Greensboro although I've been there a bunch of times. I guess I've always felt it was overshadowed by the other cities near it. Of course, those other cities are near enough to take advantage of, which is nice.
My understanding is that Roanoke is a nice mix of Virginia conservatism, mountain down-homedness, and funky liberalness. It's got quite a few colleges in the area, which contributes to it being not so parochial as you might expect given its region.
I don't have to tell you how great Charleston is. Plenty of people to do that here!
12-04-2001, 02:15 PM
Oh hell, you live in Lexington? Lexington VA? Then I don't need to tell you all this about Roanoke. It's right down the road!
How are you doing med school from Lexington? Commuting to UVA? Why was I thinking MCV was the only med school in VA?
12-04-2001, 02:28 PM
Dr. J, let me be the only (?) Doper in Charleston to say "Welcome!" I'm glad that so many people love it here.
Charleston is a lovely city, and yes, I'm biased. I've lived here all my life. And, added bonus, I work at MUSC! :D
(At the Institute of Psychiatry.)
There are a few hotels downtown that will be less expensive, compared to some of the $250-$400 a night rooms you can find here.
You might try The King Charles Inn on Meeting Street (Best Western), Comfort Inn on Bee Street, or the ever-popular HoJo on Lockwood. I know these are all chains, but they're probably going to be the cheapest, while still being downtown.
B&B: There are too many to name! You can try the Harborview Inn on Vendue Range, the King George IV on George Street, or the Vendue Inn on Vendue Range. These are the only ones that I know about, and they are really nice and quaint compared to the chain hotels.
Yes, Charleston is extremely hot in the summer, and mild to lukewarm in the winter, but it's a great town. There is always something going on, and there are lots of places to go. MUSC is really cool, right downtown in the middle of all this mess. Most of the hospital is centralized in one area, except for some random satellite offices. Besides, if I understand correctly, we're one of the top 20 hospitals in America, which probably counts for something. :)
My email is open if you need anything else. Enjoy your trip!
(hijack) Cranky, what's the Charleston connection? Or did you pick us out of a hat? :) (/hijack)
12-04-2001, 03:13 PM
The Vendue Inn is lovely, but it's more expensive than Eliot House. I visited half a dozen of these places when I was planning the wedding, and Eliot House was the best value for the money.
Originally posted by Skerri
(hijack) Cranky, what's the Charleston connection? Or did you pick us out of a hat? :) (/hijack)
Okay, to answer the hijack, Mr. Cranky and I were trying to figure out how to keep our wedding small. We decided getting out of town was the key. I love Charleston and knew that every single guest would have a nice time down there; the city's charm and hospitality would completely take all pressure off me as a "hostess". Plus it was in December, and we wanted to be south. So Charleston it was. We ended up having 30 people there, way more than we planned, but they were 30 people we really liked. And nearly everyone said "YES!" because everyone wanted to be in Charleston. Best idea I ever had, even if we all had to fly in because it's so far.
Sorry for the hijack, DoctorJ.
12-04-2001, 07:26 PM
Ok, it may be the least hip of the three choices, but Greensboro does have some good things going for it.
1) Moses Cone is an absolutely excellent facility. It's the place where employees of other (also good) hospitals in the Triad dream of working someday. Moses Cone employs the best of the best, and it's in a lovely neighborhood as well.
2) The atmosphere here is wonderful. It's full of comfortably blended neighborhoods and the residents are generally quite warm, nonjudgmental and accepting of new arrivals. I've never seen people so eager to help me out and ask for nothing in return. People look out for each other here.
3) Except for I-40 at rush hour, the traffic problems here are almost negligible compared to the other cities this size in NC and the South in general.
4) While not the cultural capital of the South, Greensboro has a thriving downtown scene with plenty of independent shops, eateries, bars, live music clubs and art galleries, yet you'd probably never know it if you didn't go down there. We may not show our funky side like Asheville, Raleigh or Charleston, but it's there, trust me.
To sum, Greensboro has a lot of big city coolness without much of the big city bullcrap. Wish I had caught this message earlier; I would have offered to take you and CrazyCatLady to one of the aforementioned downtown bistros. Good luck anyway, and I'm sure you'll be happy wherever you go.
12-04-2001, 07:47 PM
Originally posted by CrankyAsAnOldMan
Okay, to answer the hijack, Mr. Cranky and I were trying to figure out how to keep our wedding small...I love Charleston
No kidding? The Ukulele Lady and I got married in Charleston, too! Not even thirty guests, though...just me and her and a notary (that's legal in South Carolina, for some reason).
Where did you two tie the knot? We did it in Washington Square Park, corner of Broad and Meeting Streets, just in front of the statue of the two dancing children. We honeymooned a few blocks south, at the B&B on the northeast corner of Meeting and South Battery. Wedding night dinner (for two) at Philippe Million, now sadly gone, just off Tradd Street.
12-04-2001, 10:29 PM
I got married at the John Rutledge House Inn. You stayed at Two Meeting Street? That place has a year-long waiting list--wow! I'd like to stay there sometime for our anniversary.
We had our wedding dinner (we took everyone out to dinner rather than do a "reception) at Anson. I highly recommend it.
Lordy I love Charleston. Gotta go back soon.
12-05-2001, 08:41 AM
Continuing the hijack....
Hey, the next time either of you comes to Charleston, I expect a Dope Dinner somewhere! Besides, I will be getting married here next year sometime, and then I'm off to Atlanta....By the way, Ukulele, Washington Square Park is one of the most beautiful places in Charleston.. Just watch out for the night herons, who have a tendancy to, uh, clean out their nests during the day. :D
Back to the OP.... :)
Dr. J, I hope you've made it here. I realize we kind of hijacked the heck outta your thread. Seriously, if you need to know anything else about Charleston, or you need a tour guide, let me know. I will be more than happy to help you out.
12-06-2001, 02:35 AM
Just rolled back into town, so I thought I'd post a quick report:
Roanoke--absolutely beautiful facilities. They even bragged about how gorgeous their VA hospital was, although I didn't make it over there. Great faculty, great residents, fairly structured but not overpowering program. Three dedicated hours of bedside rounds every day, which gives me pause, but the residents seem to like it. All the residents seem happy--almost eerily happy. The whole thing had a real "Stepford Wives" quality to it.
As for the town, everyone we asked said exactly the same thing: "Roanoke is a great place to raise a family!" I found this to be a polite way of saying it's fairly dull; Tamara took offense at the assumption that she wants to start popping out kids soon. We both liked the city OK.
Greensboro (Moses Cone)--the program is a lot more laid back, and a lot more individually-directed. Unlike the other programs, they don't claim to spend a lot of time teaching--which is good, because I'd rather have the time to study on my own. (I'm coming to realize, though, that this preference is colored by the fact that the quality of the "teaching" at my institution blows dead bears.) Very small, with only six categorical residents per class. The hospital is compact without being cramped and is very modern. Everyone seems to be having a good time, or as good a time as one can have in residency.
As for Greensboro, it is Lexington with a slightly smaller university and without the ring of horse farms around it. We both thought it would be a nice place to live. No one told us that it was a good place to raise a family.
Charleston--absolutely, positively loved the city. Absolutely, positively hated the program. All the size and impersonality of UK with an even worse call schedule.
The interview itself was a nightmare; my first interviewer spent all the time talking about himself, and the second one had obviously been told about the interview only a few minutes beforehand. Neither had even looked at my application packet, since the first question both asked me was, "So where are you from?" (The next time someone asks me that in an interview, I'm saying Johns Hopkins. "But this says you went to the U. of Kentucky." "Should have read it, then, huh?")
Even the singular advantage of this program--that it's it Charleston--is tempered by the fact that it pays the least of any of the three, with the highest cost of living (by a lot). There's no way I could afford a decent place in town.
I actually cut out of Lunch With The Residents, since I had most of my questions answered at dinner the night before and was tired of schmoozing. This gave Tam and I a chance to poke around town. I bought my mother one of those sweetgrass baskets for Christmas, then we went to Hyman's for some excellent fish. We loved the town, and would love to live there, but the program isn't worth it.
So as of now, it's Greensboro by a length over Roanoke, and I seriously doubt I'll even rank MUSC. Watch next week for a new thread on Junket #2: Richmond, VA; Charlotte, NC (Carolinas Medical Center); and Wilmington, NC. Also coming up: one-off trips to Tampa (USF, which I suspect will go much like MUSC), Oschner Medical Foundation in New Orleans, and Christ Hospital in Cincinnati.
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