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First/second year: Inpatient Medicine, Pediatrics and OB 6:30 AM- 6 PM (sign out). Night shifts covered by an R1 and R2. 2 R1s each month cover the night shifts (4 and 3 nights of the week covering OB/Peds from 6 PM- 8 AM). R2 covers Medicine 6 nights in a row (6 PM-7:15 AM) for 2 weeks at a time. Weekends rotating calls, 2 morning rounders each day. One R2 on 24 hour call from Sat 7:30 AM to Sunday 7:30 AM sign out. Another R2 on Sunday 7:30 AM to 6 PM. R1s on call cover Sat and Sunday 7:30 AM - 6 PM. While inpatient, R1s have one 1/2 day clinic per week and R2s have one or two 1/2 days of clinic per week. Outpatient rotations (Derm, Amb peds, rural) and ER have their own schedule. Third year: mostly outpatient 8am to 5 pm. It is a longitudinal curriculum with every week being a different rotation. Calls from home. About 8 weeks of being inpatient medicine chief.Every year, you have a one month rural rotation. During 2nd and 3rd year there are opportunities for international electives and rural rotations.
Teaching every morning during weekdays after sign out including specialist who give a lecture almost every month. Solid inpatient teaching on common topics (by IM physician who has been with program since it started) and an inpatient teaching medicine team that started this year. Pediatric hospitalist are great teachers. Busy OB service and OB hospitalist/community providers who work with residents. We also have OB global health fellows (in conjunction with Massachusetts General Hospital) who rotate between Kenya and here and you get to work closely with them in clinic and L&D. You can also do a month of rotation in Kenya with them.
Afternoon times with planned lectures but some afternoons include meetings so at most there are 2-3 afternoon lectures. Every Thursday there is a grand rounds lecture. First Wednesday afternoon of block is set aside for workshops. Almost all attendings like to teach. Some attendings have been here for years and some are graduates of the program. You have opportunities to travel to different parts of the world and it is actually encouraged to do a week in places like Haiti. Almost everyone does an international elective/rural rotation.
Residents get along really well. Limited socialization outside of work and mostly with other residents from their own year. Almost all attendings are very friendly and supportive. There is a mix of foreign grads, US grads who studied abroad and US grads, both MD and DO. Being the only residency program in the hospital, the nurses and attendings get to know residents really well and they are very respectful. Compared to places I rotated in medical school, the nurses here are definitely much nicer. By the end of your first year you get to know most people who work in the hospital and makes it more enjoyable to communicate and get things done. The outpatient clinic and the hospital are a short walk across a beautiful parking lot. Lots of recent renovations in the clinic and recently expanded to include more space for specialty/procedure clinics. You have an assigned medical assistant for outpatient clinic but work with them more consistently in 2nd and 3rd year when you are in clinic more often and get to build a working relationship. Clinic staff are friendly and most have worked with residents for many years. The residents wellness retreat is every September when all residents get together and program pays for accommodation and R1s have a separate retreat in June when they get together.
Overall the program has a friendly environment. Diverse group of faculty who love to teach. Some outstanding attendings who really care about resident well being and very open to suggestions for improving the program. In fact I have seen first hand how residents' feedback translated into changes. Being the only residents in the hospital means that you get to work with any of the specialist and be the person they call from ED from any procedure or interesting cases. You can really tailor you education to whatever you wish to do later on or improve on what you see as your weakness. People do electives with different specialists from the hospital (pulmonologist, GI, Neuro etc) and get more experience. There is definitely room for improvement and every year there are different things that come up. The outpatient rotation and teaching on topics such as dermatology has been affected due to lack of specialist availability and there are already plans to fill the gap with more workshops and teachings. The program definitely prepares you well for all aspects of family medicine, whether you wish to pursue only outpatient practice with or without prenatal care/OB or go on to do fellowships as well (sports medicine is a popular one). Some graduates return and do moonlighting over the weekends covering Medicine, OB, or Peds. There are lots of opportunity to do international rotations and most people in 2nd and 3rd year take advantage of the partnerships we have with other places and go on a 1 week elective or a month long rotation. This program was my first choice, and if I could do it again, I would definitely choose this program as my number 1. The program already prepares you to practice in rural setting but with the new rural track you can do even more rotations in particular settings and get more experience while in residency. The location is amazing and probably one of the biggest factors for most people. Olympia is a small town without the traffic of urban area. The quality of life is great and cost of living is very reasonable. Most people live 10-15 minutes from the hospital. Lots of hiking and outdoor places. Seattle and Portland are both driving distance away, so you're close enough to all the fun places to visit on a regular basis. Please contact the program coordinator and you can get in touch with residents who can give you more information.
1st & 2nd year inpatient (IM, Peds, OB) 630am - 630pm, nights (IM & OB & peds) 6pm-8am. Outpatient 8am - 6pm or so. Rotating weekend inpatient coverage, and home night call for 3rd years. Almost all rotations are local.
Morning lecture or sim lab every weekday for inpatient services. Noon lecture or administrative meeting every weekday for all residents. Lectures are reasonably good.
Residents get along well at work, but don't have much time to socialize outside of work. A few attendings are inspiring, most tolerable, a few are downright cranky.
As a recent graduate of St Peter Family Medicine, I can't recommend this program which is hard because there are some good people here who work hard and care about residents. The administration however, focuses more judging than mentoring, and about every other year a resident is fired or otherwise let go; many more are subjected to some form of academic discipline
If family medicine programs are broken into 3 tiers, this program is fundamentally second-tier for a few specific reasons. Strengths include OB numbers, desirable geographic location, unopposed program with good support from the medical community. Weaknesses include lack of ICU experience, lack of an inpatient teaching service which fragments rounds and makes learning catch-as-catch-can.
Ultimately this is a second-tier program with first-tier expectations, and is focused on producing stereotypical family doctors at the expense of nurturing individual residents, which unfortunately means that some second-tier residents who will make perfectly adequate physicians will have their lives and careers unnecessarily abused or derailed here. Until the administration changes, I cannot recommend this program and would not come here if I had another second-tier choice.
Program recently started a night-float system. So everyone rotates around a 6am-6pm schedule. Generally: R-2 and 2 R-1's arrive for morning check-out at 6am. The night team of a single R-1 and an R-2 give a report of anything that happened and any admissions to the hospital over night. The R-1 covers the OB deck through the night as well and gives a quick report of what happened there too. At the end of the day, at 6pm, everyone gathers again and the day team reports to the incoming night team. The rotations for Peds and OB are similar. Surgery, Ortho, ER and our off-site rural month follow their own course.Subsequently, since there is night-float, we only have call on the weekends. This typically works out to be every other weekend, either: Friday 6am till Sat. 11am (or sooner if you can round fast), and then return Sunday at 8am till 6pm, or Saturday 8am-Sunday 11am. We do a Fri-Sun and a Sat each month, on average.Also, as R-1's we do a half-day of clinic per week. This increases through the years.
I have mad respect for the faculty. They're smart, but also generally human. They have senses of humor and families and like to do stuff.
One complaint I have is that I don't have enough contact with them. This means I don't get to present to them much, and they don't formally teach R-1's in lecture format much. This is partly a design of the program (the R-3's round individually with faculty during their "chief" weeks), and partly a situation that has developed since we instituted the night float system. So, there will probably be more contact with faculty as we smooth stuff out.
Didactics are sometime excellent, sometimes weak. As stated, the faculty don't teach all that much, but the R-3's and outsiders do. Some of the R-3's are very good, some speak Japanese with an English accent and we're supposed to act like we understand what's being said. Just depends.
Camaradie is HUGE per class. There's some friction between classes, but that's always going to happen when one class orders around another. We don't hang out much together as an R-1 class, especially because at least 2 of us are always working. The program does give allow a "support group" time every other Friday when all 6 of us get to hang out and rap. Lunch is provided and we all pretty much love it.
Physical environment is really nice. Hospital is stunning...views from the top floor are of the snow-capped Olympics, Puget Sound, rolling forested hills, sunsets, sunrises and Mt. Rainer. The grounds were designed to preserve trees and natural beauty. Call room is expanded and perfectly adaquate. Clinic remodeled this past summer. Brand new, very nice.
1/3 to 1/2 FMG's, easily as strong as the AMG's.
Family-oriented residency and that's pretty much our life outside of the program. We do have a life, but it's less than we would want. There's SO much to do in the Pacific Northwest that it's a drag to work so much. But it's a paradise for outdoor-lovers (or surfers, like myself, since the Ocean is 1.5h away).
Standouts: OB experience is very strong, and emphasised among faculty. Our residents appear to be walk-ons to high-risk OB fellowships. Geographic location is phenomenal. Hosptial is a referral center for 5 rural WA counties, so a good wide array of cases are seen. Region TOTALLY in need of FP's.
Drawbacks: Some tension between specialists and FP's (I'm butting heads trying to get someone to teach colonoscopies). Schedule and teaching issues still up in the air. One of the harder programs...the R-2's are pretty stressed. Not finding lots of research opportunities so far.
I'm just an R-1, so I wonder if I'll EVER be prepared, let alone in 3 short years. But so far I guess it should come together.
I'd reapply. I love the program.
Most graduates go into..well, this is FP, so you name it: private practice, rural practice, some become hospitalists, 3/6 went on to fellowships in OB. Some to faculty spots.
Fine with inquiries.
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.
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