"How much of your practice time do you want to spend in clinic?" This important question serves as a branch point for medical students as they decide what kinds of doctors they want to become. For the average future family medicine physician the answer is "All Of It!"
But lots of things can get in the way of clinic time, especially in residency, when one learns skills in multiple sights across a variety of disciplines. How does a training program maintain a focus on outpatient clinic in the setting of many other requirements? In short, how do we make "Clinic First"?
It turns out these questions are being asked by many family medicine residency programs across the country. Our program director, Dr. Bernheisel, was proud to further this discussion by sending a small group, including chief residents Dr. Ciani and Dr. Beckman, intern Dr. Gausvik, and core faculty Dr. Spata to the AFMRD Clinic First Collaborative in Kansas City. The collaborative was attended by 18 programs in various stages of implementing their own form of a "Clinic First" residency.
Our team returned from the meeting with a new mascot, the "Clinic First" Hippo, and a high level of excitement to share what they had learned. "Clinic First" is more than a schedule, a curriculum, or a 2-word mantra to hum while reflecting on difficult clinic experiences. It is a mission to equip primary care doctors to face the myriad of challenges awaiting within the current state of healthcare. At the core this model focuses on the need for consistent resident schedules, which prioritize continuity with patients, an increase in resident clinic time, the development of cohesive and multidisciplinary clinic teams, and engagement of residents in practice transformation.
We are excited to continue our learning in web-based conferences as we work to transform our residency to be "Clinic First!"