I had the privilege of doing a one-month rotation at Hanford Family Medicine Residency Program in Hanford, California.  I feel that I have been given a very good perspective of residency life here in Hanford and I found that it’s far more comfortable than I imagined.  The residents were so nice to me and to one another.  I was glad to see that they worked as a team in rounds and lectures.

Respectful and welcoming environment
I was impressed with the relaxation of the learning environment and it really put me at ease for the process to come.  I was imagining this cutthroat environment with long hours and unreasonable demands on me as a student.  What I found was a respectful teaching environment where I had ample opportunity to express the knowledge I had already acquired, as well as ask questions and learn what I had not yet come to know.  My preceptor was so genuine in his teaching, both to me and to the residents.  I felt very welcome.

I was really taken aback one day while in a conversation with a 3rd year resident and my attending.  The attending was discussing a case the resident had sought his guidance on, and the attending then turned to me, a mere 3rd year medical student, to ask what I would do.  I was obliged to have been treated as though my treatment opinion mattered, even as a 3rd year medical student.   I was equally impressed that I indeed did have a treatment opinion.  I was amazed at how far I had come in this medical school journey.   I realized that I am starting to gain confidence in the tasks of diagnosis and treatment.  It’s so refreshing to realize that all this hard work and study has paid off.

A true rural experience
I got a true rural health experience in that my preceptor actually worked at 4 different clinics at 4 different rural sites.  Thus, our clinic location changed each day.  I enjoyed the diversity that I was able to see in the 4 different clinics.  Between the staff and the patients, each clinic had a culture all its own.  However, my very favorite moments were when I would see a patient for a 1 week follow up.  I enjoyed the continuity of care and the ability to see them again and remember what I had learned the week before about their history.   There were some patients that had such serious health needs that I got to see them 3 times during the month.  It was great to get a taste of what it feels like to really know the patient and follow them over time. I kept thinking how nice it would be to have my own memory of a patient’s history instead of having to refer to another physician’s chicken scratch that I couldn’t interpret.  I got excited about someday having my own patients that I could follow over time.

This rotation served to encourage me about what lies ahead.  I’m impressed with the support of the residency program in encouraging the residents to follow their own path to learning.  I’m impressed with rural healthcare training and with the respect I have been treated with in this stage of my learning.  I think this is truly a rural benefit.