Frequently Asked Questions

What sets St. Mary’s apart from other programs?
We believe that St. Mary’s offers one of the best residency experiences in California.  Our program combines the best of academic medicine in the community setting with the best of subspecialty medicine at Harbor-UCLA.  We augment our exceptional inpatient training with variety of outpatient experiences.  In addition, our program provides excellent ICU training and graduates are well equipped at handling critically ill patients.  Because we are the only residents in the hospital we have lots of exposure to running codes and doing procedures (endotracheal tube intubations, central lines, lumbar punctures, etc.).  We value a balanced personal life as much as we value hard work.  We hope you take the time to learn more about St. Mary Medical Center by applying for a position with us!

How responsive is the faculty to resident feedback and ideas?  
We have an outstanding faculty who are always willing to listen to residents concerns and implement change.

What is the difference between Preliminary and Categorical Interns?
In general, no distinction is made between “preliminary” and categorical residents. Preliminary interns have 5 months of ICU time scheduled (instead of 3) and do not rotate at Harbor-UCLA.  Categorical interns will have 2 Harbor-UCLA ward months scheduled for their internship year.
Typically there are seven PGY-1 Preliminary positions, seven PGY-1 Categorical positions, and two PGY-1 Primary Care track positions available for the match.

How has St. Mary Medical Center done in the Residency Match?
Our program has filled all of its positions in the past decade.  We are sometimes confused with other St. Mary’s Programs that may have gone unfilled in their match process.  Please look for our Long Beach location when researching our program from other resources.

What do the residents do when they finish their residency? 
In recent years, the majority of our graduates choose to go on to primary care or hospitalist medicine.   The remaining residents have had a good success rate in fellowship placement, obtaining fellowships in rheumatology, hematology-oncology, geriatrics, nephrology, palliative-care and infectious disease. Please visit the Graduates page to find out more about where our graduates go after residency.

Can medical students do rotations at St. Mary’s?
Yes!  We accept medical students from all across the country who are interested in rotating through St. Mary’s.  Currently, we have students from Charles Drew UCLA School of Medicine that do both 3rd and 4th year clerkships.

How many days off do interns/residents get per week?

Interns and Residents get 1 day off per week during Medicine Wards and ICU.  Interns get weekends off during ER, Neurology service, and General Medicine Clinic rotation.  Residents get 3 weekends off during their consult month and have all weekends off during Subspecialty Clinics and General Medicine Clinic rotation.

How many days of vacation are allowed each year?
Three weeks of vacation are allotted.  They are divided into a two week and a one week block.
Interns get an additional 4th week off at the end of internship year (unpaid).

How is the ancillary support at SMMC?
We have excellent ancillary support.  Blood-draws, respiratory therapists, EKG’s, STAT radiology services, and transport services are available 24 hours a day.  Pharmacists assist with antibiotic dosing, heparin drip monitoring, and TPN/PPN orders.   The echocardiogram technicians are available everyday and are on call after-hours and on weekends.  In addition, we have PT/OT, in-patient rehab, speech therapist, case-managers on each floor, and dieticians.  A web-based PACS system available throughout the hospital.

How many days of maternity leave are allowed?
Maternity and Paternity is allowed up to a maximum of 6 weeks.  However, according to the The American Board of Internal Medicine, no more than 4 weeks of absence from a residency program each year for any reason to maintain eligibility. Additional time missed requires extending the resident’s time in the program.

What are other benefits enjoyed by St. Mary residents?
– Health Insurance: Various medical and dental plans are offered for residents and their families.
Credit is given to those residents choosing not to receive medical benefits through SMMC (evidence of other medical coverage is required).
– Retirement Plan: 403b/401k plans are offered to all residents with matching funds beginning in the second year of residency. Residents may choose their preferred financial institution for asset management (Fidelity Investments, VALIC, or Lincoln Life).
– Meals: Three meals are included at the hospital cafeteria.
– Parking is free for residents in the SMMC parking structure.
– Lab Coats and Scrubs are provided.
– Library access is available 24 hours a day.  A large selection of textbooks and journals are available.
High speed internet access is available in the library and throughout the hospital. Electronic journals (e.g. NEJM, JAMA, etc.) and MD Consult (including First Consult) are available on all computers.
– Photo-copying is available to residents 24 hours a day.
– Individual overnight call rooms are provided, with individual restroom facilities in each room. See photos.
– Physicians’ Lounge available 24-7.
– Annual all-inclusive Residency Retreat at UCLA Lake Arrowhead Conference Center.

What is the ambulatory experience at SMMC?
One half day per week is spent in continuity clinic. Additionally, residents and interns do one continuity clinic rotation per year in the same clinic (M-F weekends off, no call).  There are 2 additional ambulatory rotations (AM-1 and AM-2) for PGY-2’s and 3’s that provide outpatient sub-specialty experiences, predominantly through clinics at Harbor-UCLA.

What electives are available at SMMC?
An elective rotation is scheduled during third year. During this time the resident can obtain additional training in disciplines of his/her choice.  Some choose to gain more experience in subspecialties of Internal Medicine, while others have chosen areas such as Dermatology, Geriatrics, and Pathology. Special electives, such as research months or travel abroad, may be arranged on an individual basis.  Several recent graduates traveled around the world to do unique rotations in various disciplines.

Where do people live?
Interns and Residents choose to live in a variety of places throughout Southern California.  Many live in Long Beach with the most popular location being Belmont Shore and on Ocean Boulevard.  Some commute from as far north as Westwood and as far south as Newport Beach.  St. Mary’s is readily accessible from the 710 Freeway which makes commuting convenient from any location in L.A.

Will I have time to read/study?
Yes.  In addition to the various scheduled teaching sessions, residents have access to MDConsult, NEJM Online, and various other medical journals to augment their learning experience.  MKSAP and MedStudy are also available.  Given the exceptional ancillary services at SMMC, Residents dedicate more time towards learning and less time doing “scut” work.

Will I have free time to spend with my family/friends?
SMMC Residency values the importance of balancing work with family and friends.  Resident schedules are very predictable from day-to-day, call-schedules are posted in advance, and vacation time is assigned at the beginning of the year; all of which make scheduling quality time with friends and family much easier.

Are residents truly happy at St. Mary’s?
Yes!  Interviewees in the past have universally agreed that residents seem very happy with their experiences at SMMC.  We hope you have the time to interview at SMMC and see for yourself.  Please refer to Quotes for more about residents’ opinions.