My experience at the Magic Valley Rural Training Track Site in south-central Idaho has been the highlight of my medical education to this point. My wife and daughter accompanied me there for my four-month rural integrated rotation. The community opened their arms to us, and we felt very welcome and cared for from the moment we arrived, until the day we left. The city of Twin Falls is located right at the edge of the Snake River Canyon, which offers climbing, fishing, hiking and a variety of water sports for all ages. As a family, we especially enjoyed walking down into the canyon at night, kayaking along the quiet stretches of river, and watching the majestic Shoshone Falls from below. Also, just an hour’s drive away, is the world famous Sun Valley. My rotation covered a time period that allowed us to take advantage of both their world famous skiing, as well as mountain biking.
As far as the medical experience goes, the teaching was outstanding, and the variety of patients was great. Dr. Kern, the site director and my main preceptor, works tirelessly for both medical students and residents. He is very approachable, knowledgeable, and brings a fresh, youthful presence to the program. The other main preceptor in Jerome, Dr. Irwin, is a local icon, having practiced in the valley for 30 years, and is beloved by all. If it weren’t for his warm and genuine demeanor, Dr. Irwin’s absolute passion for medicine, along with his uncanny ability to remember every detail of everything he has ever learned, would make for an intimidating combination. Both Drs. Kern and Irwin love to teach, and want you to succeed. While their expectations are high, I never once felt like giving my best was not good enough. In addition to these two incredible mentors, was a cast of top-notch nurses and office staff who are the life-blood of the clinic and made coming to work each day an absolute pleasure.
Wealth of opportunity
I believe one of the strongest points of this program is that it provided me with the home-town rural clinical experience out in Jerome, while still allowing me to spend a good portion of my time in a larger hospital, complete with full crews of pediatricians, OB/gynecologists, general surgeons, and internists, in neighboring Twin Falls. What made the experience completely unique is that even among such a wealth of opportunity, I was the only medical student in the entire valley. Even more unbelievable is that in the same area, there were only four residents. This meant that there was absolutely no competition for participating in “all the cool stuff” that even senior residents might end up just observing in a more traditional academic setting.
I am thrilled to have been able to spend so much time at Magic Valley RTT during my MS3 year and could not more highly recommend this site to anyone interested in rural Family Medicine.