Portland Adventist Family Medicine

Portland Reservoir - great for running.

Kari, Third Year Medical StudentI’ve spent the past month here in Portland doing a family medicine rotation, and now it’s almost time to go back to Southern California and move along into my next rotation – Internal Medicine.

Before I go, here’s a few thoughts on my experience:

1. Overview: Family Medicine really does see everything. Especially in the more rural clinics (like Sandy) they were really well setup to do everything from in-office x-rays to excising moles. And of course well-checks for kids and diabetes followup and arthritis and chronic pain and all the bread and butter Family Med stuff. As seems to be happening with every rotation, I like it more than I expected to.

2. Patient Populations: Although it can be kind of challenging going to a different clinic every week, it’s given me a broader view of different patient populations. This past week I’ve been in a clinic that is comfortable with the Vietnamese population, where many of the patients are Vietnamese, and may speak only Vietnamese. It’s been a good opportunity to talk about the challenges of a minority patient population. Most of the non-English speakers I’ve worked with up to this point have been Spanish-speaking. Although they’re very different cultures, there were a lot of the same barriers to effective healthcare. The week before that it seemed like every other patient was a chronic pain patient, and it was really a challenge for me to watch how tough these physicians had to be as they dealt with trying to help people that had gotten themselves heavily addicted to narcotics.

3. The Medical Student Role: This particular rotation through these clinics is relatively new, like in the past year, so there was an element of defining my role for the office staff. The doctors all went through med school too though, so they know what we’re supposed to be doing. I didn’t have much trouble being able to see patients on my own (which, really, is how we learn best) but some of my classmates did. I really think that’s just a matter of how experienced the physician is with supervising students, but no one ever died because you asked to be allowed to do more. And that’s how we learn. Still, sometimes I catch myself wanting to hang back and not push myself for more responsibility. More responsibility means more opportunity to look like I have no idea what I’m doing, and that can be hard.

4. The Portland Adventist Rotation: In terms of the clerkship office here in Portland, I can only say great things. It’s definitely a group you want to work with. The dorm staff is great too. Logistically, we still take the quizzes that those not on the away rotations take, but our study is more self-directed, we don’t have lecture, and I think it has worked really well for me. I’ve been able to use my study time fairly productively and still feel like it’s “worth it” being in a new city – I have enough time to see a little of it. And Portland is like the vegan Promised Land, so I’m certainly taking full advantage of that.

Yes. Those are Oreos.

I hope you’re all well, and I’ll be back in Loma Linda soon.

If you have any questions about the rotation up here, ask away!