Life of a Hematology Oncology Fellow

Over the course of your three years at UCLA you will have the opportunity to experience a wide range of inpatient and outpatient hematology and oncology. The diversity in practice settings includes a quaternary care hospital, community-based hospital, VA Hospital, and clinic sites ranging from San Luis Obispo to Irvine. The fellowship is front-loaded, with the majority of your inpatient clinical time occurring during the first year, with more schedule flexibility during the second and third year to conduct research and work in the outpatient clinics.

First years rotate through each service twice during their first year, with a sample schedule shown below.

  • Westwood Consult service: Each first year is paired with a senior fellow for the month to provide inpatient hem/onc consultations for the main campus hospital. This is a great opportunity to establish new diagnoses and learn benign hematology. Given the hospital complexity and a large transplant population, consultations can get very interesting very quickly! Second and third years rotate through this service once per year.
  • Bone Marrow Transplant (J): Referred to as the “J” service, the first year fellow oversees transplant and acute leukemia patients with a transplant/leukemia attending. Highly experienced nurse practitioners serve as the primary caregivers for this service. The fellow is responsible for writing and supervising chemotherapy and transplant orders, performing bone marrow biopsies and lumbar punctures, and providing guidance to the team as needed.
  • VA Inpatient: The first year fellow provides inpatient hem/onc consultations for the patients at the West LA VA hospital, and attends twice weekly outpatient clinic.
  • VA Outpatient: The first year fellow attends 3-4 outpatient clinics each week, provides one noon conference to the internal medicine residents during the month, performs bone marrow biopsies and assists with the inpatient service as needed.
  • Santa Monica Solid Oncology: The solid oncology service is at a community hospital in Santa Monica, where the majority of inpatient chemotherapy is done. This is where you learn about chemotherapy regimens and side effects, as well as the complications experienced by cancer patients. You will have the opportunity to learn how to discuss important end of life, goals of care, and advanced care planning with patients, and may perform bone marrow biopsies and lumbar punctures as needed. Although the service is large (40 patients), the first year fellow is in a supervisory role, and the primary caregiving is provided by two NPs and two teams of internal medicine residents.
  • Intensive Outpatient: This rotation is completed one time by each fellow (year 1-3) each year. It is composed of full time clinic with two half days for reading or to establish/perform research. This provides an opportunity to explore the more distant satellite communities should you be interested in doing so.

The second and third years are much more flexible, allowing time for you to decide how to schedule your clinics. You have the opportunity to participate in general or subspecialty clinics for 3, 6, 12 or 24 months. Most fellows participate in half day clinics 2-3 times per week. There are multiple opportunities for additional learning should you feel you need additional skills. Second and third year is the time many fellows attend conferences and/or take classes through the main campus or CTSI.

Didactics occur three times each week in the morning, consisting of formal lecture, journal club, and hematology case conference. These all occur on the main campus but you are able to call in or video conference if you aren’t on campus that day.

We often get together outside of work, and there are more things to do in LA than is possible to do! LA has great beaches, hikes, museums, amusement parks, comedy clubs, music venues, restaurants and more. Weekend trips are easy to Palm Springs, Big Bear, San Diego, Santa Barbara/Ojai and Paso Robles/San Luis Obispo.