Rural Medicine

Block schedule

PGY2: 1 block
PGY3: 1 block
Any Year: 1 additional block rural/underserved
Electives Available all years

Nature of the experience

We have developed a unique, hybrid model of rural training, maximizing opportunities for rural based experiences, while retaining the benefits of training in a larger medical environment. We have opportunities for both general rural rotations, as well as rural training in specific core curricular areas such as pediatrics and surgery. Additionally, we are developing opportunities for rural-based continuity clinic, and a rural intensive track with 2 or more blocks per year taking place in rural locations. 

On general rural rotations, residents are responsible for full-spectrum patient care in both clinic and hospital environments under the supervision of a family physician. Time on the rotation is arranged to maximize the exposure to rural family practice. Available rural sites are Anaconda, Browning, Butte, Deer Lodge, Dillon, Ennis, Eureka, Hamilton, Lewistown, Libby, Plains, Polson, Ronan, Sheridan, Stevensville, St Ignatius.

On rural pediatric or surgery rotations, residents work with family physicians, pediatricians, and/or general surgeons, respectively.  The care of patients relevant to that particular curricular experience is the focus, and residents get the advantage of working with attendings who are interested in having strong primary care colleagues for cross coverage.  An emphasis is placed on managing patients when there is no specialist available and learning which patients can be kept locally vs needing to be transferred for specialty care. 

Rural electives are available throughout all three years for both general rural experiences, as well as in specific curricular areas such as those listed above as well as emergency and inpatient medicine.  Other opportunities are also available based on individual interest.      

Goals and objectives

  • Gain familiarity with the unique aspects of care for acute and chronic conditions and health maintenance in the rural setting through experience in the clinic, emergency room, and hospital
  • Demonstrate skills for the initial stabilization and treatment of the severely ill patient
  • Develop an understanding of the types of medical conditions can be managed in a rural facility, and which need to be transferred to a higher level of care 
  • Become familiar with how rural physicians integrate into their communities and practice in a sustainable fashion
  • Gain perspective on different models of rural practice