Frequently Asked Questions
1) Why attend a community-based residency program?
2) Where have graduates accepted fellowship positions?
3) What procedures do residents perform?
4) How does the two-day surgical pathology system operate?
5) What is the call schedule like?
6) How do you schedule away rotations or vacation?
7) Do you recommend doing an externship?
8) What is it like living in Colorado Springs?
9) Is the food really free?
Penrose Hospital offers an accredited four-year AP/CP residency in a unique community-based program. There are eleven staff pathologists and eight pathology residents. The small size of the program allows for a cohesive and friendly atmosphere that fosters learning and allows for individualized training and development. Residents begin their surgical pathology training double-heading every case at the microscope with a staff pathologist. As resident skills increase they are given graduated responsibility, eventually relying on the staff only for case review and finalization. Residents train in a private-practice setting with an emphasis on close contact with clinicians, timely sign-out of cases, and appreciation of the administrative and managerial aspects inherent in running a successful pathology practice. Penrose residents are exposed to a plethora of both bread-and-butter surgical pathology as well as rare and challenging cases. Upon graduation, residents feel confident in their knowledge and abilities and adapt well to a variety of work environments.
A question frequently asked by applicants is whether graduates of a community-based residency program have difficulty securing the fellowship of their choice. In our experience, this is absolutely not the case. Our residents have been very successful in obtaining fellowships in the field of study and location of their choice. Ample elective time allows for residents to freely pursue away rotations at outside institutions. Recent residents have accepted fellowships in Hematopathology, Dermatopathology, Gastrointestinal Pathology, Cytology, Molecular Genetics, Microbiology, Pediatric Pathology, and Forensics. A list of recent graduates and their post-graduate training can be found here.
Residents become very proficient in bone marrow biopsies and fine needle aspirations. Residents generally perform over 150 bone marrow biopsies by the end of their hematology rotations. Residents are given the opportunity to perform all fine needle aspirations.
Two residents are assigned to the surgical pathology rotation each week and both are assigned a staff pathologist. The residents alternate grossing and sign-out days. On grossing days, the resident is responsible for grossing the surgical specimens and performing intra-operative frozen sections. Our pathology assistant covers some of the grossing duties, leaving the more complicated and interesting cases for the resident. On sign-out days, the resident has graduated responsibility for reviewing and dictating the previous day's specimens with their assigned staff. Residents begin their surgical pathology training double-heading every case at the microscope with the staff pathologist. As skills increase, they are given more responsibility, eventually relying on the staff only for case review and finalization.
Call is split evenly between the residents and taken a week at a time (Friday-Thursday). This amounts to eight or nine call weeks per year. Call is combined AP/CP and all laboratory needs are directed to the resident. Most calls originate from the Blood Bank and can be handled over the phone. Occasionally, one is called in to perform an after-hours frozen section, review a critical slide, etc. On the weekends, the resident on-call is responsible for grossing a small volume of specimens and reviewing any flagged peripheral blood smears. There are no weekend autopsy duties. Junior residents are responsible for covering one holiday call per year. Residents are able to trade call weeks to accommodate their schedules.
How do you schedule away rotations or vacation?
Our schedules are extremely flexible. Residents are given four months of elective time, which many residents use to rotate at outside institutions they are considering for fellowship. Flexibility is also demonstrated in scheduling vacation time. Vacation can be taken a day at a time or in blocks per the resident's discretion as long as ample notification is given to the chief resident, who is responsible for making the schedule and ensuring services are covered.
Do you recommend doing an externship?
Yes. We encourage all applicants interested in attending our program to consider pursuing a one month externship as part of their medical school rotations. Several of our current and past residents did externships at our program before joining us for residency. Complete a Penrose Pathology Extern Application here.
What is it like living in Colorado Springs?
Colorado Springs is a young, active urban community. Situated at the base of Pikes Peak, outdoor activities in the area abound. There is an extensive park system and innumerable hiking, mountain biking, and running trails located throughout the city and surrounding areas. Particular nearby points of interest include the Garden of the Gods, Seven Falls, Pikes Peak, the Air Force Academy, the Royal Gorge, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the historic districts of Manitou Springs and Old Colorado City.
Colorado also offers some of the best skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, fishing, and rock climbing in the nation. Colorado Springs downtown area is host to a variety of urban activities and has an active nightlife due to the influence of the nearby colleges and military bases. Denver is located a mere 65 miles north of Colorado Springs and offers plentiful cultural metropolitan activities and professional sporting events. Colorado Springs has a mild climate, boasting over 250 days of sunshine per year, offering a beautiful and energy filled atmosphere at the base of America's most famous mountain. Colorado Springs has something to offer all tastes and lifestyles.