Residency FAQs

What fellowships are available at Nebraska?
Hematopathology, surgical pathology, gastrointestinal/liver pathology, molecular genetics, and clinical microbiology fellowships are all offered at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

How does the residency program approach clinical pathology rotations?
The clinical pathology rotations incorporate a balance between hands on learning at the bench, didactics, department meetings, quality control, clinical consultations, research and development issues and independent studying. This allows enough structure for the residents to learn the practical and daily duties of a pathologist in charge of a clinical laboratory while still allowing study time to learn the more esoteric aspects of clinical pathology that we need to pass the boards. There is a biweekly conference in which staff and residents present interesting clinical pathology cases encountered on rotations.

How is vacation time handled?
Residents get four weeks of vacation per year. Usage of vacation days is flexible although somewhat dependent on the workload of the rotation and requires that appropriate coverage of interdisciplinary conferences, call and clinical duties, have been arranged if necessary.

What type of call do residents take?
All call is home call.  During the week the on call resident begins at 8:00 AM and is on call until 8:00 AM the next morning.  First year residents begin taking call April 1.  The call schedule is put out for the entire year so residents can plan their life, but since unexpected things occur, most residents end up switching call nights or weekends with other residents. The typical weekday call sometimes consists of "cleaning up" any frozen sections that may be lingering in the operating room after 5:00 PM. Residents may be called in to come into the hospital to evaluate transplant livers, small bowels and kidneys, or an acute leukemia. Residents also assist in providing therapeutic apheresis procedures to our patients, which includes consultation, development of a treatment plan, and oversight and management of the apheresis procedures (photophoresis, cytapheresis, red blood cell exchange, LDL pheresis, and plasma exchange). Many issues can be handled from home by the telephone. The weekend call resident covers from Friday at 8:00 AM to Monday at 8:00 AM. Weekend call is similar except that autopsies are also covered on Sunday by the on call resident.

What about fringe benefits such as book funds, travel funds or lunch programs?
Residents receive $1,000 per year for books or education expenses. In addition, if the resident presents at national meetings, a portion of their expenses is covered. The university pays an additional $63 per month on top of the resident's salary to help cover health/dental/life/eye insurance. Residents also get $8.00 per day (Monday-Friday) meal card to use at any of the hospital cafeterias or coffee carts. Each trainee is also provided 2 sets of black scrubs and two lab coats.

How do residents interact with the fellows? 
The fellows do not detract from the resident experience as the case load is large enough to split among everyone. The fellows put on slide unknown conferences and provide invaluable perspectives into the fellowship application process, boards and the job market.

What is a typical day on Surgical Pathology like?The surgical pathology service is divided into five subspecialty benches: GI, dermatopathology/bone and soft tissue pathology, ENT/lung, breast/gyn, and GU.  While on surgical pathology core rotations, residents are assigned to a subspecialty bench for two consecutive weeks, and thus will rotate through all five benches multiple times over the course of their training.  On each of the services, residents will spend one day of combined grossing and frozen section, and the subsequent two days previewing and signing out cases for their subspecialty.  In addition, there is a daily informal resident led slide review (7:30-8:00 AM), a didactic conference (8:00-9:00 AM) and residents are encouraged to attend an Interesting Case Conference (11:30 AM -12:00 PM).   Residents are encouraged to use elective time to gain additional experience in each of the available subspecialty areas according to their needs and interests.  When on a subspecialty surgical pathology elective, residents are not required to gross and spend each day previewing and signing out cases with their attending. 

Most residents arrive 15-30 minutes prior to the start of the daily didactic conference to prepare for the day, compiling a case list following up on email, etc. Following seminar at 9:00 AM, the day will vary, depending on whether the resident is scheduled to gross or to read and review slides and cases. The resident spends day one (gross day) of the three day rotation by heading to the gross laboratory to begin cutting in cases as well as covering all frozen sections. The certified pathology assistants are able to help distribute the workload as well as assist with frozen section diagnosis. Most often, the grossing resident is finished with work between 5:00 and 6:00 PM.

The next day (the read one day), the resident spends the morning previewing all the cases they cut in the day before as well as all of the biopsies that were grossed in by the pathology assistants. The resident generates a preliminary report, and depending on the level of the resident, they may also get consultations or order special stains. Any leftover cases or cases that are undergoing fixation from the day before are grossed. The afternoon is typically spent at the microscope with the attending pathologist who gives feedback regarding your diagnoses and reports, and provides teaching points pertinent to your cases. Further ordering of special stains or molecular tests is performed along with any consultations that are required. Day three of the rotation (read two day) is spent following-up on any complex cases or cases that required additional stains. Additionally, the resident will review new cases that were assigned to your team. By the end of day three, the resident has been able to see all of the cases that they cut in from start to finish, with adequate time to preview the case and see the follow-up from any ancillary tests that were ordered. Lastly, at the end of day three, residents prepare for their next day of grossing by identifying surgical cases for the following day that may require frozen section diagnosis, and preparing brief medical histories pertinent for the procedures being performed.

How close do residents park to the hospital?
Residents are assigned a covered parking permit in a parking garage that is located across the street from the hospital. It takes less than one minute to walk from the garage to the hospital.

Are there any off campus rotations?
Residents spend one month at the Douglas County Coroner’s office, which is located a few blocks away. One month is also spent at Children’s Hospital for a Pediatric Pathology rotation which is located 3.5 miles from the UNMC campus. If residents are interested, other off campus rotations can be arranged per the discretion of the program director.

Is childcare available for pathology residents?
On-campus childcare is available pending availability from ages six weeks through seven years, or there are many other options available as well.  Visit UNMC childcare for more information.  Nebraska Medicine operates a daytime childcare facility called The Family Place. The Family Place is located on the Clarkson College campus next to the main building. Information about hours, cost and the curriculum can be obtained by calling 402.552.2375.

What kind of housing is available?
Omaha is a fairly large city with housing options to suit everyone’s needs, from studio apartments to homes for rent or sale at various distances from the medical center campus.  Some residents rent apartments, some with roommates.  Plenty of others have their own apartments or homes for rent.  Still others purchase homes or condos.  Salaries here are fairly generous for the cost of living, and many residents support growing families.

Nearby (five minute drive) apartment options include The Blackstone District and Midtown districts.  Numerous options exist within a ten to twenty minute drive distance as well.  Essentially all housing options will be within a half hour.