North Idaho is a wonderful mix of semi-urban, small town communities and remote rural locations, where physicians practice requires a wide diversity of training and skills. Kootenai Clinic Family Medicine Residency believes in training residents broadly so graduates can be “rural ready” to practice in any size community when they graduate. Being “rural ready” is not just about medical knowledge, but understanding small town community integration, and the importance of relationships. To help residents become “rural ready”, our rural curriculum has three main elements. First, intensive broad spectrum curriculum. Second, all residents are required to do a minimum of a 4-week rotation in a rural community in North Idaho. Additional time in a rural location during elective blocks is also encouraged. Third, once a year all preceptors from our rural rotation sites are invited to our residency didactics to do a special rural case simulation followed by a dinner social for residents to get to know the rural preceptors on an individual level.
There are currently 10 different rural locations in North Idaho that residents can choose to complete the rural requirement. The number of our rotation sites continues to grow and we are open to residents seeking out new opportunities. Our rural rotation sites vary widely in the experience that they provide from ED/trauma heavy exposure in Orofino, Idaho, to immersion in the local native culture on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation, to working with a cesarean section trained family physician in Cottonwood, Idaho as well as opportunity to take advantage of local skiing/biking and all the injuries that come along with those activities in Sandpoint or Kellogg, Idaho. Our dedicated Rural Faculty Advisor, Dr. Crystal Pyrak works one-on-one with residents to select rotation sites and to develop curriculum to meet resident training needs.