What is different about training for rural practice?
First: You need to be prepared to manage anything. Therefore your residency must expose you to the widest possible range of pathology.
Second: Confidence. You must have training that allows you to develop & exercise your own judgment. If you have consistently been encouraged to try your wings in all types of weather- you will know what you can do.
In Western Colorado, we have an amazing depth and breadth of patients. This is due to our unique position as the only referral hospital in an area of over one quarter million square miles. From Malaria to HAPE-we see it all! Family medicine is the sole residency at St. Mary's Medical Center. There is no competition for patients, no hand-offs. You do it.
Our philosophy has always been to allow as much autonomy as possible. We are small enough to know each resident personally. You are consistently given increased latitude to stretch your abilities as fast as you are ready. A recent survey of our graduates showed every respondent felt they were well prepared for practice. Even if you don't go to a town with less than 5,000 people you are ready for anything. It works!