Ellensburg Rural Site

Ellensburg Rural FAQs


What structure is in place to insure that I will get experience in trauma and procedures necessary for a rural practice with low patient numbers in a rural setting during my training?

We have two ER rotations.  One takes place in Ellensburg and the other in a larger hospital in Yakima.  The ER rotation in Ellensburg provides you an opportunity to see virtually every patient who comes in the door.  While there is a lower total number of ED visits in Ellensburg than what you could find at a large urban hospital you have at least as many patient encounters in Ellensburg and you have access to a wider variety of conditions than you could expect at a larger hospital.    We are an unopposed residency program so residents have more access to see and treat ED patients than would be possible otherwise.

What sets your rural track a part from other rural tracks?

We are in the “Goldilocks” zone for rural training.  We are located in a town of 18,000 with a small (25 bed) critical access hospital.  The town is large enough to support a wide range of medical services which allows a majority of the training to occur in Ellensburg while still being small enough to provide a rural experience.  There are some experiences that are not available in Ellensburg, for those experiences our residents go to Yakima.  While other rural tracks are separate from the main program our residents are part of the full residency instead of a separate track, and are therefore able to take advantage of the training opportunities in Yakima throughout the three years, as opposed to spending the first year at the “mothership” and then two years away from it.  Also, we have the opportunity to spend three years in the rural setting, including three years of continuity clinic instead of the two years at most traditional rural track programs.

How much OB experience will I get?

We have 5 OB rotations.  Three OB rotations are in the first year and two in the second year.  Graduates of our program have averaged over 80 deliveries by the end of training.  One of our OB rotations in the first year takes place in Ellensburg while the other OB rotations take place in Yakima.  The Ellensburg rotation is focused more on prenatal care and OB ultrasound techniques while the Yakima based OB rotations have more deliveries.  Residents have continuity OB through their Continuity clinic.  In Ellensburg our residents also have longitudinal opportunities to assist with C-Sections and to help pediatricians at a C-section throughout the three years of training.

What support is there for preparing for a rural lifestyle for me and my family?

Our training mimics the reality of rural medicine.  Our residents round on patients at the hospital in the morning, go to clinic, and take low volume clinic call at night.  Kittitas County offers numerous activities including hiking, fishing, hunting, skiing, and more.  The residency program offers many opportunities to serve as physicians at local activities such as the Rodeo, college and high school football games, talks at the senior center, volunteering at the free clinic, and more.  You and your family truly get to live the life of a rural doctor engaged in the community

How does call coverage work?

Call is divided between the six residents and other clinic providers.  When taking call you may be responsible for hospitalizing patients, assisting in C-Sections and deliveries as duty hours allow.  You will also answer calls from clinic patients.  Our call is low volume, with less than 3 calls per night and 1 day of call per week when averaged over your residency training.  We have faculty physicians who are always available to provide support for the resident taking call.

How much time is in Ellensburg versus Yakima?

Three years of continuity clinic take place in Ellensburg.  This allows an opportunity to develop a relationship with your patients.  Roughly half of the rotations take place in Ellensburg and half in Yakima.  The two towns are located 35 miles apart which allows for easy commuting.  We schedule rotations to minimize commuting during the winter months and we offer an apartment in Yakima for Ellensburg residents.

How is the community? How big is it?

Ellensburg is a friendly small town community.  The major driving forces are Central Washington University and agriculture.  The population of Ellensburg is 18,000 with a total population in Kittitas County of 41,000.  Kittitas County has the distinction of being the county in the United States with the greatest range in rainfall.  Snoqualmie Pass at the western edge of the county gets 105 inches of precipitation per year while Vantage at the eastern edge receives 7 inches per year.  This creates a wide variety of ecosystems within easy access of Ellensburg.  Ellensburg is a vibrant small town community with a weekly farmers market, monthly art walks, various festivals including Winterhop Brewfest, Dachshunds on Parade, Jazz in the Valley, Kittitas County Fair, the Ellensburg Film Festival, Ellensburg Rodeo, and the Kittitas County Fair.

Being a younger program, what is your vision for the program?

Developing pluri-potent stem-cell rural family medicine physicians to meet the needs of underserved rural communities.

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