Updated: January 31, 2011

Career Guidance Handbook
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Match Process:  Regular

Program Director: Marc Evensen, M.D. UC Irvine Medical Center, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 101 The City Drive, Bldg 53, Room B-3, Route 81, Orange, CA 92868, 714-456-6444, melensen@uci.edu

Career Specialty Advisor: Same as Above

Residency Coordinator: Shane Wong, UC Irvine Medical Center, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 101 The City Drive, Bldg 53, Room B-3, Route 81, Orange, CA 92868, 714-456-6444, wens@uci.edu

List the fourth year elective courses you feel are most helpful to a student considering your specialty.

  1. PM&R
  2. Rheumatology
  3. Orthopedics
  4. Cardiology, especially CCU
  5. Pulmonary including respirators

What are the most important characteristics a student should evaluate in a residency program in your discipline?

  1. Distribution of outpatient and inpatient experiences
  2. Ratio of faculty to residents and availability of faculty
  3. Adequate experience in EMG procedure, Injection/Internventional Procedures, Musculoskeletal

What are the pros of a career in your specialty?

  1. Long term relationship with patients and their families
  2. Satisfaction gained from helping patients attain better quality of life by becoming as independent as possible given the severity of physical impairment
  3. Lifestyle of physiatrists

What are the cons of a career in your specialty? None.  I have been in practice more than 10 years and never met a physiatrist who would change what they do.  Not a field for someone who needs instant solutions or needs big rewards.  Must be prepared to deal with losing or at least not winning.  Not a specialty for someone who doesn't want to deal with sick patients since the majority of our patients are other people's failures.

How long is the training in your specialty and, in general, how vigorous? One year of PG 1 in medicine as transition.  then three years of PG 2-4.  If one wishes to sub specialize in peds rehab or SCI, additional training may be necessary.

What is the lifestyle experience in your specialty? As a rule physiatrist doing a general PM&R practice (inpatient rehab unit of 10-20 beds; plus EMG and outpatient Musculoskeletal practice) it is a 40-80 hour week.

How competitive are training programs in your specialty?  What kind of record would a student realistically need to match? The good programs require upper 50% of the class, more than 200 board scores, research in medical school and elective or course in PM&R with a reference from a physiatrist.

Which disciplines should letters of recommendations come from? PM&R, Medicine , Neurology

Should students approach faculty in the first and second year of medical school to do research and for letters of recommendation? It is not required

Will research in this field improve changes for obtaining residency? Yes

If research is beneficial, what is the minimum length of time to obtain a meaningful experience? Any amount is beneficial, research leading to publication is more so.

Is it beneficial in obtaining residency in this field to complete externships? Yes

Is there a benefit to completing more than one externship in this field? Varies with program, some programs want to see a student rotate with them, others just want to se interest.

Is it important for the USMLE Step 2 scores to be available for review? Varies with Program