As you get closer to graduation I’m sure you are all very focused on finding a residency, and while there are many factors to consider, one of the first decisions you’ll be faced with is whether you will pursue two separate 12-month residencies or an 18-month dual residency. I remember facing this question myself and having a clear image in my mind of what I wanted…and did the complete opposite! So, let’s talk about it.

I went into my residency search pretty confident that doing two separate 12-month residencies would be the most beneficial learning experience for me, allowing me to focus on each discipline separately. But as fate would have it, the residency I ended up choosing was an 18-month dual residency, and I’m glad that God made this happen for me despite my reservations. Here’s why.

The main pro to a dual residency is time; less time with a resident income, less time between school and your boards (better chance you’ll remember the information necessary to passed your exams), and less time before you can find the job/location you really want. Also, you spend the whole time observing both orthotics and prosthetics rather than being limited to one or the other for a year at a time. At the end of my residency I was able to take all my tests within a few weeks and only needed to retake one of them (missed it by 1 point!), so don’t let the idea of taking all your exams at once intimidate you. But, if it does, no worries. You can still choose to take them at separate times if you so wish.

But, and this is really important so pay attention, the benefits of a dual residency depend on the quality of your residency. I was blessed with a residency that actually let me work with patients! And a lot of them (both prosthetics and orthotics) and I got to choose which patients I wanted to be involved with (making sure I got the experience I needed to feel confident) and I was allowed to choose how independent I wanted to be. This, I believe was the reason I was able to be as successful as I was during my residency, so I encourage you to look for this quality in all the residency sites you are considering.

I hope you will consider some of this information as you dive into the ocean of residency sites and that it will help you make an informed decision. Above all else, choose what your most comfortable with and do what you feel you need to reach your goals. Remember, these residencies are not just interviewing you to see if you are a good fit for THEM, you are interviewing them to see if they are a good fit for YOU. Good luck!

Tiffany Harders, CPO
Sunshine Prosthetics, Inc.
Residency completed in 2018