Frequently Asked Questions:
How many applications do you get?
- Typically about 350 for 2 spots
Do you accept visiting rotators, and if so, how important is completing a visiting rotation?
- We normally welcome visiting rotators, but due to the pandemic, only visiting students from local medical schools without ophthalmology rotations can be accepted this year. It is not necessary to complete a visiting rotation to be seriously considered by our program.
Do you have an integrated program?
- Yes! Beginning in July 2021, we will offer a truly integrated four-year ACGME-accredited residency training program. Our residents will perform all of their training within our institution, so a separate NRMP match will not be required, and our PGY1 residents will be able to spend the maximum time allowed by the ACGME in Ophthalmology.
Do you have USMLE score minimums?
- We don’t have a firm cut-off, but in general, our residents tend to score at or above 240.
Do you accept IMGs, and if so, what visas do you sponsor?
- We accept applications from international medical graduates with green cards, J1 visas, or H1B visas.
What is call like?
- PGY-1 residents take some “buddy” call during their Ophthalmology rotation months, and their call requirements during non-Ophthalmology months are variable. Our PGY-2 and PGY-3 residents take at-home primary call one week out of four (usually one Monday-Thursday block and one Friday-Sunday block each month). PGY-4 residents are on at-home surgical back-up call every other week. In general, call responsibilities rarely exceed a few hours for each day of call.
What is the clinical training like?
- We believe in training all of our resident to be capable and able to practice independently by the time they graduate. In order to achieve this, we slowly increase the amount of autonomy that they have throughout training. Over the first couple of years, the residents work with one-on-one supervision through each of the subspecialties. Our senior residents are essentially running a resident led clinic with attending oversight. At our core, we believe in working as a team to get the work done and the patients cared for. Our residents say, “In a small program, residents play an integral role in clinics and are encouraged to assume responsibilities appropriate to their level of training. You get to see and treat as many patients as you are able under faculty supervision, and there’s no getting stuck behind fellows or senior residents while in clinic.”
What is the surgical training like?
- Our residents begin operating in PGY-2 with graduated autonomy. Our residents exceed all surgical minimums and typically get an average of 330 primary cataracts by the time they graduate. Our residents say, “We can get primary surgeries in the first and second year of residency, which is better than many programs.”
Do residents give presentations?
- Yes, residents regularly present at departmental Grand Rounds, Journal Clubs, and M&M Conferences. In addition, each resident presents a formal research paper every year at our annual Gifford-Truhlsen Conference. By the end of residency, most residents have given 20-30 brief presentations and gained extensive experience in researching, organizing, and presenting lectures.
Is there a VA?
- We are associated with the Omaha VA Medical Center which is close to TEI. In August 2020, the VA completed a $86 million dollar expansion which includes dedicated ambulatory surgical suites. Residents spend some time at the VA during all years of their training and spend the majority of their senior year at the VA. Our residents say, “The VA is one of the best things about the program. You really get autonomy to manage your patients,” and “The VA is a great surgical training experience for phacos with premium lenses, MIGS, Ahmed valves, basic plastics, and minor/laser procedures.”
Is there a wet lab?
- Yes, we have both a wet lab and a surgical simulation lab. Our residents say, “The sim lab is top notch as well as the wet lab. The building is very new along with all the clinical equipment.”
How is patient volume and diversity?
- UNMC is the largest medical provider within the state of Nebraska, and our residents see a wide range of both routine and complex cases throughout their training. They say, “Omaha has a great balance clinically between bread-and-butter patients and zebras as a tertiary referral center.”
How much vacation time do you get?
- All residents receive 20 working days of paid vacation each year (4 weeks). Residents are encouraged to regularly use their vacation time to avoid burnout, but residents do have the option of carrying forward part of their vacation time. Up to 30 days of vacation can be paid out at the end of training, which can be helpful for residents who plan to relocate for fellowship or practice.
Do you get conference and education money?
- Yes, residents receive educational funds each year that they can use to purchase materials such as textbooks, journal subscriptions, or lenses, or use to supplement their travel budget for an approved conference. All residents receive paid educational leave to attend required local meetings and conferences, and senior residents receive paid leave and funding to attend a national scientific or educational conference. Additional funding is available to residents in any year who are invited to present a paper or poster at a national meeting.
Is there a library and access to electronic journals?
- Our residents have online and in-person access to UNMC’s Leon S. McGoogan Health Sciences Library, which has a full array of both print and electronic journals. The library also includes small group study spaces, meeting areas, a coffee shop, and a 3-D printing lab. The library has flexible hours, including 24-7 badge access to some areas.
Do residents need to purchase instruments?
- No. All instruments and lenses are provided for the residents to use during training.
Is research required?
- Yes, all residents participate in research and quality improvement projects and are expected to give an annual research presentation each year. Each resident chooses a faculty research mentor to work with during their training, but they are not restricted to performing research with their faculty mentor. Many of our residents have collaborated with multiple members of our faculty on various projects as their interests grow and change during their training.
Is publication required?
- Residents are expected publish at least one paper in a peer-reviewed journal or present at least one paper at a regional or national meeting during residency, although most residents publish several papers or book chapters during their training. Our faculty are happy to advise residents on writing and submitting papers. In addition to the usual publication venues, UNMC residents can also submit papers to our own Graduate Medical Education Research Journal, which is especially designed to provide a platform for residents and fellows to publish scholarly work.
What fellowship opportunities are available?
- UNMC currently has active AUPO-approved fellowships in glaucoma and vitreoretinal surgery.
What do program graduates do?
- Over the last ten years, 60% of our graduates have chosen to pursue subspecialty fellowship training, and 40% have chosen to go into general practice.
How is the benefits package?
- UNMC offers an outstanding benefits package that includes generous salaries, 20 days of paid vacation per year, paid sick leave, comprehensive group health coverage, malpractice insurance, preferential parking, free and low-cost fitness options, and a $7/day meal card usable at UNMC cafeterias and Starbucks.
How is the program’s work-life balance?
- Our residents enjoy an excellent work-life balance, with an average of 53 duty hours per week. Since our program is relatively small, our resident group tends to be close-knit and often engages in social activities during off hours. Our residents say, “As a small program, camaraderie between the residents is valued. They form the nucleus of your social life, and there is great informal mentorship between the senior and junior residents. Whether it’s playing video games in the resident lounge or going through OKAPs and call prep lectures, you’ll come to rely on the other residents in the program.”
Is parking available?
- Yes, residents have preferential eligibility for parking and can choose to park in lots located right next to the Truhlsen Eye Institute. Our residents say, “Parking is close and plentiful, unlike many other institutions.”
Is subsidized housing available?
- No, but housing in Omaha is plentiful and relatively inexpensive.
Where do most residents live?
- Omaha has a lot of affordable residential options, including options in walking distance! Single residents and couples often choose to live in nearby neighborhoods known for their entertainment and restaurants, including the Blackstone District, the Old Market, Midtown Crossing, Dundee, and Benson. Residents with growing families may choose to live in more suburban neighborhoods such as Bellevue or West Omaha, which still only have average commute times of 15-20 minutes. Our residents say, “The city itself is navigable with plenty of housing options, from downtown apartments, large family houses in the suburbs, or quiet neighborhoods near campus. There are also different areas of town to go for bars/food/entertainment.”
Are there job opportunities for my spouse/significant other?
- Omaha has a thriving economy, a low unemployment rate, and many job opportunities for family members. In addition to medicine, our largest industries include financial services, transport/logistics, agribusiness, and military/defense. University of Nebraska is also a great choice for any family members still pursuing their education. Our residents and their immediate family members are eligible for tuition credit of 15 credit hours per year at any of our four campuses: University of Nebraska Omaha, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Kearney, and University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Do I need a car?
- Yes, residents do need a car. Although many residents live within walking distance, and although the Truhlsen Eye Institute and the Omaha VA are located close to one another, a car is sometimes necessary for call or for clinics at our Village Pointe campus. Also, Omaha’s four season climate means that summers are hot and winters can be cold and icy. If feasible, we recommend a car with all-wheel drive for safe commuting in winter weather!