Northwest Health Fall 2012

In My View

Training the Next Generation of Doctors

Our Family Medicine Residency program is more important than ever.

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Scott ArmstrongPart of how I paid for my undergraduate education at Hamilton College in upstate New York was by working evenings at the school's 10-bed infirmary. Most nights, it was just me and a couple of nurses. Watching how they made people feel better through their sensitive and thoughtful care helped inspire me to pursue a career in health care.

It's one thing to watch trained professionals, but it's something else altogether to understand what it takes to care for patients who are sick and may be frightened, confused, or even angry. That's one reason that on-the-job training is so critical for health professionals.

How we train doctors to provide the right kind of care is more important than ever in the United States as we search for better ways to provide high-quality, affordable care.

At Group Health, we've long believed that we have a responsibility to help teach the next generation of health care professionals. That's why we started our Family Medicine Residency for primary care doctors in 1969.  We also offer training to medical professionals in optometry, ambulatory care nursing, pharmacy, and behavioral health.

Today, there's more demand than ever to participate in our training programs. During the last 10 years, applications for the Family Medicine Residency have more than doubled. Applicants say they are attracted to Group Health because they believe our patient-centered approach to health care is the future.

This strong interest in learning from Group Health is a positive thing in many ways. It enables us to train and hire some of the country's best young professionals. Fifty percent of the doctors in the Family Medicine Residency choose to practice with us when they complete the program.

Some of those we train do move on to other jobs. This is a win-win situation. We're seeing the innovative ideas that benefit our patients spread to other organizations and their patients.  And that's a positive sign for the future of health care in this country.

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