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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the strengths of the Providence Portland Medical Center (PPMC) training program?

  • Strong academic environment
    • Emphasis on residents as scholars and teachers
    • Interaction with medical students
    • Strong faculty engagement in teaching conferences
    • Opportunity for research
  • Emphasis on one-to-one teaching (resident/resident and resident/attending)
  • Multiple options for continuity experiences
  • Continuously evolving curriculum driven by resident input
    • Quality Improvement Curriculum
    • 4:2 block system
    • POCUS and Sim lab experiences
    • Strong wellness and resiliency curriculum
    • Emphasis on evidence-based medicine and value-based care
    • Medical Home approach to primary care
  • Faculty-resident advising and mentorship
    • Each resident is linked to a faculty advisor/mentor who follows his or her progress throughout the entire residency and helps facilitate life and career planning after residency.
    • Regular 1:1 and group meetings with the program director
    • Strong value placed on informal mentorship with multiple faculty members
  • Resident retreats
    • Annual professional development day for all residents, including yearly class-specific retreats
  • Connection to the community
    • International exchange programs with Mbarara University (Uganda)
    • Primary care opportunities in community practices
    • Connection to Catholic Charities for health fairs and other volunteer opportunities
  • Residents perform many inpatient and outpatient procedures (no fellows on staff)

What about obtaining fellowships?

  • Over the past 6 years, over 80% of residents desiring a fellowship have obtained one.
  • We are committed to helping every resident who seeks a fellowship get one in their specialty of choice.
  • Personal advocacy makes a difference. Since you work directly with specialists (instead of with subspecialty fellows), they know you well and are better able to write supportive letters of recommendation during your application process. Similarly, subspecialists and program leaders frequently make phone calls to fellowship program leaders on behalf of residents.
  • If, after the interview, you wish to speak with PPMC graduates who have gone into specific fellowships, please feel free to contact us and we will do our best to provide a contact.

What makes PPMC residents special?

  • Diversity of backgrounds
  • Commitment to serving the underserved
  • Multiple state and national awards at the American College of Physicians and SGIM meetings
  • True sense of caring and of enjoying each other and the practice of medicine

What makes PPMC faculty special?

  • Faculty welcome innovation, change, and resident input
  • Leadership in national organizations that have been held by our faculty:
    • President American Thoracic Society
    • President, Infectious Diseases Society of America
    • Secretary-Treasurer of ABIM Board of Governors
    • Board of Directors, ABIM
    • Chair, Women's Caucus SGIM
  • Wide variety publication in major journals and books
  • All faculty are active clinicians
  • A strong focus on resident education and a desire to teach

What about autonomy at Providence Portland?

The balance between resident autonomy and supervision is critical. Residents must become comfortable making independent decisions. Our residents formulate their own opinions and are the only ones to write orders on their patients. We believe supervision is important but primarily as a support for resident decision-making. Our goal is to train residents to think for themselves, ask questions, go to the literature to answer clinical questions, and work with others in a multidisciplinary team approach.

What are a few recent innovations in the residency program?

  • 4+2 integrated ambulatory blocks
  • Inpatient teams are structured with an emphasis on progressive responsibility. Initially second year residents work one-on-one with their attending hospitalist, followed by supervising a single intern and medical student and finally to supervising a team of two interns and medical students in the third year of residency
  • Residency Educational Website: Educational resources including videos, articles, and self-assessment quizzes are now available in a single easy to use website that is accessible from any computer or mobile device.
  • Noon Educational Conference re-design: Our didactics are now structured using theme-based weeks in an interactive and diverse format coordinated by faculty.
  • Wellness Curriculum
    • Meditation, mindfulness and compassion all covered
    • Health maintenance half-days: residents can schedule medical appointments during this time, protecting their days-off and vacation days.
    • Resident support group
    • Yearly class-specific retreats as well as all-residency retreat
  • Career Development Curriculum
  • Professional Growth Program

What makes Providence Portland a great place to train?

  • The hospital is both a tertiary referral hospital for Oregon and Washington and a primary care facility for northeast Portland.
  • The full gamut of clinical services are available:
    • 24/7 acute coronary intervention
    • 24/7 ancillary services (echo, phlebotomy, radiology)
    • ECMO
    • Endoscopic surgery
    • Gamma knife resection
    • Hyperbaric unit
    • Cancer Center
    • Research Center
  • The hospital and its staff provide care in an efficient, state-of-the-art and compassionate manner.
  • Providence Portland Medical Center serves a broad diversity of patients.
  • Training in a single site fosters camaraderie among faculty, residents and nurses.
  • Attendings from all disciplines and specialties teach the internal medicine residents since there are no other residencies

Is Providence Portland "academic"?

We sometimes hear concerns from applicants that a community-based program will not provide the same academic opportunities as a university-based residency. A proven ability to place residents in competitive fellowships, a faculty filled with academic leaders involved in research and publication, and regular resident participation in national academic competitions are just some of the factors which make our program highly academic. The medical students who are a constant presence on our ward, ICU and subspecialty services consistently rank our learning environment as one of the best.

What is the impact of training in a Catholic hospital?

The Providence Mission is to serve with compassion for all, especially the poor and vulnerable. We are committed to five core values: respect for the dignity of others, compassion, justice, excellence and integrity. The faculty, residents and staff bring diverse spiritual beliefs to the program; when you view the biographies of the residents and faculty, emphasizing volunteerism and commitment to the underserved, it's apparent that we all embrace these core values. This translates into caring for people regardless of their background and regardless of their insurance status or financial situation.

Residents and faculty strive to treat the whole patient, not just their medical condition. For patients with religious traditions, chaplains (both ordained and lay persons) are available around the clock and represent a variety of denominations. You will not find any care team member who doesn't appreciate the benefits of this service in helping to address the patients' spiritual and psycho-social needs.

Questions are often asked about reproductive counseling. Providence Medical Group - Northeast, where all residents and Medical Education faculty practice, counsels patients on all aspects of birth control. We provide birth control including IUDs, Nexplanon and emergency contraception. We feel it is important that all patients make the contraceptive choices that are best for them and their family.

If you have questions, be sure to ask on your interview day.

Do I get to work with medical students?

Yes. Medical students in their third and fourth years are constantly present on the wards and in the ICU. Our interns and residents play an active role in medical student education, and we feel that medical students' presence enhances resident education.

Will all my training occur at PPMC?

  • The vast majority of your rotations occur at PPMC, which helps foster the camaraderie of the residents as they all work together on a regular basis.
  • Senior residents also rotate on the inpatient service at the Portland VA Medical Center. Note: US males between the ages of 18-26 must be registered for the Selective Service to be eligible to work at a VA.
  • Residents may elect a rotation at another academic institution, and residents planning for fellowship often take advantage of this opportunity.
  • Residents have the opportunity for an overseas elective. We feel that the perspective added by working in a developing country is a wonderful supplement to residency training, so every year a few of our residents spend a one-month rotation in Mbarara Uganda.

Is there collegiality amongst the residents?

Yes! The program size enables all residents to quickly form friendships and support systems. Residents frequently socialize outside the hospital with both resident planned events (“First Fridays”, where the residents and their significant others/families get together for food) and non-residency directed gatherings. Residents frequently meet together for social events such as potlucks, birthday parties, BBQs, hiking, biking, golfing, cycling.

We encourage you to read the biographies of our residents, which note their outside interests and also speak directly with as many of them as you can when you interview at Providence Portland Medical Center.

What are the advantages of training primarily at a single hospital?

  • You're not just rotating through various rotations as an unknown team member. From day one, you are part of the Providence family. You know the nurses, care managers, hospitalists, subspecialists, support staff; likewise, they know you.
  • You know the system of the hospital (the EMR, where to find things, etc.) which allows you to move more efficiently and focus on academics instead of learning the system.

What are the benefits of being the only residency program in the hospital?

Being the only residency program in an advanced tertiary care facility has immense benefits. Our residents are routinely asked by subspecialists to participate in the care of their patients - opportunities which may be lost to residents who share their hospitals with other training programs.

For instance, a neurologist seeing an acute stroke patient in the emergency department would page one of our residents instead of a neurology fellow. General surgeon admitting a critically ill postoperative patient depends on the care of our ICU house staff. An oncologist admitting a patient with acute leukemia may ask our ward teams if they want to be involved. And the list goes on.

This also means that our residents have multiple opportunities to participate in procedures such central line placements, intubations, paracenteses and outpatient procedures such as skin biopsies and joint injections.

Do I get the opportunity to work with residents from other specialties or residency programs?

  • Each month a different senior internal medicine resident from OHSU rotates on the wards here at PPMC. Additional interaction with OHSU residents and medical students occur when you rotate at the Portland VA Medical Center.
  • Our residents can rotate at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center for cardiology, which provides opportunities to work with another group of internal medicine residents. Our residents routinely work with house staff from Providence Oregon Family Medicine Residency at Providence Milwaukie Hospital, who regularly rotate on our ICU service.

While the residents at our program develop a strong group bond with long-lasting friendships, these interactions provide bonus opportunities for a more expansive peer group.