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I did a rotation with the family medicine team, spending half my time on the inpatient service. A typical say invovled morning report at 0715, having prerounded on any patients I was following, then accompanying the R2 and or attending while they rounded on the inpatients admitted under the family medicine team. This normally went on until 1230. Two to three days a wekk there is teaching with a hospitalist who explores specific caeses the residents would like to discuss. Then, at lunch time there is usually either teaching or a resident meeting, with a pretty good lunch provided. In the afternoon I am in the outpatient clinic, working with either an R3 or attending, seeing patients first and then presenting. This usually goes on til 1730ish. Then call, 1-2 times per week. You're only expectedto stay til 2200, but you are made to feel very welcome if you stay later. The interesting thing about the call schedule here (for the residents and students) is that you cover all three services, adult medicine, peds, and OB. Nice system, I think.
The faculty here are excellent. They are kind, welcoming, friendly, and excellent family doctors. Another student and I would often talk about how great it was to watch them interact with patients. If you want to learn about the patient-doctor relationship this is a great place to come. The outpatient clinics are full of itneresting cases. Even though Olympia is not a big city there is a lot of diversity. Many of the problems found in urban clinics can be found here: IVDU, adolescent pregnancy (the clinic runs an excellent adolescent OB service), etc. Many people are poor and the clinic has an emphasis on serving the underserved. There is great cross-disciplinary interaction between the MDs and the ARNPs and social workers, all of whom are focused on the goal of improving patients' lives, rather than marking their territory.
The best teaching happens ad lib in the clinics, but there are frequent talks at lunch times (2-3 times/week) and the hospitalist teaching that takes place as part of the inpatient service. All teaching is done in a respectful, and problem-focused way. It was great for me to experience this coming from the UK where little of the teaching actaully leaves you knowing how to manage patients in the real-life situtation. That said, I am used to more formal teaching rounds where you are asked to examine abdomens/chests etc. and report your findings, and I did miss this a little. However, spending time here has really helped to shift my thinking- I realize that I do actually know how to manage patients, I just haven't been asked to think about it before. The faculty are excellent at making you extend your thoughts to this level.. What are you going to do now? What are you going to say to the patient? What will you recommend? What do they need before going home? This program will really help to shift you from the role of observer to thinking about actually being a doctor.
The didactic sessions are excellent, with visiting speakers from the medicine, psych, peds, OB depts., who provide practical information relevant to the role of the family doc.
The camaraderie is excellent. The residents are a diverse group of people from all over the US and the world. There's about 2-3 FMGs in each of the three years. The majority are married and have children. From what I saw, the relations between residents and faculty is excellent. As I said, the faculty are always respectful and positive. They know family medicine inside out. And as far as the the patient-doctor relationship is concerned these people are ALL OVER IT. This place would certainly turn you into an excellent family doctor.
Physically, the clinic and hospital are gorgeous. They are surrounded by pine trees and the view from the hospital is awesome, with the Cascade mountains on one side and Mt Rainier on the other. Olympia is a great town, with a lot of forward thinking people, a big progressive liberal arts college, and great surroundings. There's lots of cute coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and great walks downtown. It seems like the perfect place to raise a family. The faculty and residents all work hard but are a lot of fun and are very active. Don't forget to bring your kayak!
The stand out features here are the preparation for assuming the role of a family doc. This program would certainly teach you the best ways of being an advocate for patients, forming trusting realtionships, and practicing thoughtful, individualized medicine. The OB numbers are excellent, some of the best of the programs in this area, with all faculty practicing. There is a lot of good bread and butter medicine, pneumonias, CHF, etc. Residents get great peds experience at a nearby tertiary referral centre, also. I can't compare it to other family medicine programs, but I would certainly be very happy here,and I think anyone who really cared about family medicine would be. The art of medicine is still strong at this program. The staff are very sensitive to your own educational goals and the faculty have a diverse range of specialist interests, from group visits to palliative care. Most of the grads go into private practice but I was just talking to an R2 about high risk OB fellowships, and she is going to apply for one soon. Given the strength of OB here she will be a very competitive candidate.
So in conc., a great family medicine program.. not just a collection of rotations in different specialities... there is real strength in family medicine here, in the age-old role of the doctor not just as a healer, but as a keeper of memories, an advocate, a confidant, and an ever present support.
Happy to answer questions.