All of our preliminary residents are an important part of our community and are treated as equals in the residency program. We desire to maximize the educational experience for each of our residents – whether preliminary or categorical.
Designated preliminary residents
Designated preliminary residents have matched into a subspecialty area already following their year of general surgery. They are given a list of rotations required by their future programs in consultation with that Program Director.
- UW Designated Preliminary Residents
- Most of our designated preliminary residents match into the following subspecialty areas at UW (a separate application is not required): Neurosurgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Plastic Surgery, and Urology.
- Non-UW Designated Preliminary Residents
- We are very pleased to train designated preliminary residents who have matched elsewhere (a separate application is required). In the past few years our designated preliminary program has been very popular with residents matching into Anesthesiology, Emergency Medicine and Radiology. We believe that the popularity of our program for these residents resides in our excellent training in general surgery combined with the excellent espirit d'corps and our commitment to match R1 rotations with future specialty interest.
Non-designated Preliminary Residents
A non-designated preliminary (NDP) resident does not yet have a future categorical program home. During their 1 or 2 years in our program they will apply for categorical positions. Because of our strong national reputation for excellent training, we are proud to have a near 100% categorical placement rate for our NDP residents and the program works hard to maintain this outstanding record and help each NDP resident. About half of our NDP residents stay in general surgery. Past residents have obtained categorical positions in the following specialties where they have been very successful: general surgery, anesthesiology, orthopedic surgery, radiology, otolaryngology, urology, neurosurgery, nuclear medicine, emergency medicine, radiation oncology, dermatology, pathology, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and preventive medicine. We have 14 spots for non-designated preliminary (NDP) positions in our program. We have both 1-year (NDP-1) and 2-year (NDP-2) positions available. Depending on future interests, ERAS ranking for the NDP-1 versus NDP-2 positions should be made after consulting with our Program Director, Dr. Karen Horvath, at the time of your interview. (This P-1 versus P-2 choice is available in ERAS after the "preliminary" option is selected.) International medical graduates must successfully complete our Certificate Program to be considered for a preliminary position.
- This is a one year position. It is a good option for residents who have strong applications but who may have decided late in the process to make a career switch. It is also a good option for residents who expect to reapply for categorical R1 positions through ERAS and the match. One of the downsides to an NDP-1 position is that you will only be in Seattle for about 2 months before getting your ERAS application together. Program Directors are always interested in letters of recommendation from your residency program and it's not as easy to get these letters after 2 months as it is after 14 months (with the NDP-2 position). However, it is only a one year commitment.
- This is a two year position. It is a two year commitment. In our opinion it is the clearly the best option for those residents who plan to stay in General Surgery. In addition, some of our strongest NDP's who went onto Urology, Otolaryngology and Orthopedic Surgery were in the NDP-2 program. Their success was directly related to their investment. Committing to two years in a program lets you sit back and relax during your internship and just concentrate on being the best resident you can be. You can get to know the other residents and faculty and experience Seattle. You can experience your life a little bit more prior to looking for a job. You don't need to worry about applications, letters, ERAS, looking for open positions, moving, interviewing, etc. You also participate in the R2 year with its intensive critical care and trauma experience so that by the time you move onto your next program you have gained experience and some maturity as a surgical resident and function at a much higher level in your new program. You have the opportunity to significantly strengthen your application. The second year also gives you additional flexibility: you can look for open spots at various levels. Finally, by the time the faculty write your letters of recommendation, they know you well and can support you in a different and deeper way because you are a 'proven commodity'. This has been a very successful path for many residents.
Regardless of your choice for the NDP-1 or NDP-2 position, you are and always will be a part of our family! We believe it's our job to give you the best surgical education available and to get you to the next phase of your life, whether that be here at UW or somewhere else.