Curriculum

Our curriculum is designed to expose residents to diverse clinical experiences taught by family physicians and specialists who are experts in their fields. Upon graduation from our program, residents will feel confident in providing their patients with excellent, comprehensive care in a wide variety of clinical settings.  For residents with particular interests, the Program offers Areas of Concentration in Global Health and Sports Medicine.

In addition to standard rotations, residents participate in various elective, selective, and longitudinal rotations.  These rotations supplement resident education in specific areas of interest and take advantage of the educational opportunities at our academic medical center. 

Please note that certain important training experiences are taught in a progressive "Longitudinal" format and do not appear as distinct rotations.  The nature of training of Behavioral Health, Population Health, Health Systems Management, and Geriatric Medicine lends itself to education in small amounts over time, and thus resident training in these areas is interwoven throughout all three years.

 

PGY-1 Rotations

Adult Inpatient Medicine – 1.5 months
Night Float – 1.5 months
General Surgery – 1 month
Inpatient Pediatrics – 1.5 months
Subspecialty Pediatrics – 0.5 month
Emergency Medicine – 1.5 month
Adolescent Medicine – 0.5 month
Obstetrics – 1.5 months
Newborn Nursery – 0.5 month
Sports Medicine – 1 month
Vacation – 1 month

PGY-2 Rotations

Adult Inpatient Medicine – 1.5 months
Night Float – 1.5 months
Emergency Medicine – 1 month
Elective – 1.5 months
Selective – 1 month
Cardiology – 1 month
Subspecialty Pediatrics – 1 month
Gynecology – 1 month
Longitudinal – 1.5 month
Vacation – 1 month

PGY-3 Rotations

Adult Inpatient Medicine – 1.5 months
Night Float – 1.5 months
Sports Medicine – 1 month
Longitudinal – 3 months
Selective – 2 months
Elective – 2 months
Vacation – 1 month

Adult Inpatient Medicine and Night Float

The patients our residents care for on our Adult Inpatient Service are our own Family Medicine patients.  This means that residents take care of "continuity" patients from our practices and are taught inpatient medicine by Family Physicians.  Resident education is supplemented by our collaborating specialist consultants and fellows.  This rotation is one of the busiest, most intense experiences during residency as residents also provide direct care for very ill patients in our Intermediate Intensive Care Unit.  Under the supervision of our Family Medicine faculty, the service is run continuously by a team of junior and senior Family Medicine residents from different levels and supported by highly experienced mid-level providers and a Care Coordinator to promote interdisciplinary education. The Inpatient Service allows for interactions with our faculty, our specialist colleagues, and great opportunities for hands-on experiences.

Behavioral Medicine

Residents work alongside our Program's highly experienced behaviorist who is trained in Family Systems theory, learn through didactics and direct observation, and from behaviorist-led small group discussions.  Through all of this, residents gain an understanding and appreciation of mental health disorders and the interaction between physical and mental health so that they are prepared to manage the complexities of family dynamics and of individual mental health by the end of their training.

Cardiology

Hershey Medical Center Cardiology faculty are dedicated to teaching residents and ensure an excellent educational experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings.  Residents learn to identify and manage both routine and urgent cardiovascular disease in an outpatient clinic and also while rounding with a team of intensivists as part of a cardiology consultation team, learning from experienced attendings and fellows.

Electives 

Elective rotations are opportunities for residents to supplement their education in specific areas of interest. Opportunities to pursue these interests abount at our academic medical center.  Each resident is given an average of three elective rotations over the course of their residency.  In the past, residents have chosen to pursue the following:

  • Global Health
  • Integrative Medicine
  • Research
  • Nephrology
  • Hematology
  • Neurology
  • Sports Medicine
  • Intensive Care Unit

Emergency Medicine

The Penn State Hershey Medical Center Emergency Department is a nationally recognized Level I Adult & Pediatric Trauma Center and is able to provide comprehensive emergency care to patients of all ages.  Residents enhance differential diagnosis abilities and learn to manage problems acutely while also coordinating care with specialist providers while learning to manage a broad array of acute illness. 

General Surgery

The general surgery rotation consists of both operative and ambulatory surgical experiences.  Residents round alongside the team of general surgeons to understand pre-, intra-, and post-operative care so that they can better understand the needs of their continuity patients who will someday require operative management.

Gynecology 

Outpatient gynecology education is from our Hershey Medical Center OB/GYN faculty at a dedicated gynecology clinic where residents learn procedures and routine gynecologic care from experienced faculty.  This is an excellent supplement to training in residents' continuity clinics, and an opportunity to gain proficiency in normal and abnormal gynecological examinations and procedures such as pelvic exams, pap smears, breast exam, colposcopy, and endometrial procedures.

Longitudinal

There are some topics in Family Medicine that are best taught in a longitudinal format – in small "doses" over several years, rather than in a one-month rotation and then never again.  Recognizing this, the Penn State Hershey Residency Program has developed a progressive approach to scheduling that facilitates teaching in this longitudinal manner.  During "Longitudinal" months, residents spend time learning Behavioral Health, Population Health, Health Systems Management, and Geriatric Medicine.  They also spend a relatively greater time taking care of their patients in their continuity clinic during these months.

Obstetrics 

Family Medicine residents are an integral part of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center Obstetrics team, participating in rounding and performing deliveries, triages, and postpartum care alongside obstetrician resident colleagues.  Supervision and education are by obstetrician/gynecologists as well as Family Medicine faculty.  The focus is on improving basic and advanced skills in obstetric triages and deliveries with additional exposure to Maternal Fetal Medicine.  Residents also provide care for neonates on the service. The clinical diversity provided by the Obstetrical Service allows for unique experiences in complicated deliveries, which may not be typically seen in a community setting. 

Pediatrics

Adolescent Medicine

Residents learn at three different clinics, all part of the Milton Hershey School --a cost-free, private, co-educational home and school for children from families of low income, limited resources, and social need.  They work closely with Pediatric residents and attending physicians to gain a better understanding of typical and atypical illnesses and how to manage common medical problems in the adolescent population. There is a strong emphasis on health maintenance and preventative care in addition to the overlap between medical and psychosocial issues that this patient population frequently encounters.

Inpatient Pediatrics 

The brand-new Penn State Children's Hospital provides an excellent setting for family medicine resident education as our residents are embedded within the team of residents on the pediatric service,

They take care of children with common pediatric illnesses such as asthma, bronchiolitis, gastroenteritis, appendicitis and febrile seizures as well as less common pathologies unique to children.  Residents benefit from daily inpatient teaching rounds with the attending physicians, morning topic presentations and discussions, and admissions from the emergency department.  Weekly grand rounds cover various areas of interest in pediatrics to supplement the hands-on learning.

Subspecialty Pediatrics

Residents highly rate their rotation at HMC's Family and Community Medicine office in Harrisburg.  Residents have lots of exposure to preventive and acute care from a population of medically underserved children in downtown Harrisburg.  The Family Medicine faculty at this community site routinely win awards and recognition from residents and medical students for excellent teaching.

In addition to the care residents provide to children in their continuity clinics at Fishburn Road and Nyes Road offices, a dedicated rotation provides additional experience.  Residents learn about the care of well and sick children in the outpatient setting in community-based practice sites and see patients under the supervision of physicians highly experienced in the care of children.

Newborn Nursery

On the Hershey Medical Center newborn nursery, residents provide care to neonates alongside pediatric resident colleagues and are taught by pediatric attending physicians.  Here, our residents learn to identify and treat common newborn illnesses, hone their newborn examination skills and learn to manage fever, rashes, hip dysplasia, antibiotics, while also learning how to effectively communicate with families about caring for their new child.

Selectives 

The Program wants to ensure that residents learn the fundamental topics within Family Medicine, yet also have flexibility to tailor training to their specific interests.  During Selective months, residents choose from a "menu" of rotation options.  This training augments the exposure they get to these clinical topics in their continuity clinic, inpatient service, and other rotations.  Selection options include:

  • Dermatology
  • ENT
  • Ophthalmology
  • Neurology
  • Urology
  • Endocrinology
  • Rheumatology
  • Gastroenterology

Sports Medicine

A particular strength of the Program, these two one-month rotations prepare residents to master essential skills in musculoskeletal care as well as dermatology, concussion care, and other conditions essential to the knowledge base of any family physician.  Training is by the five fellow-ship trained family physician faculty and three orthopedic faculty who make up our Primary Care Sports Medicine team.  There are several opportunities to work with athletes, game coverage and didactic sessions with medical students to teach different aspects of sports medicine, including the musculoskeletal exam and joint injections.  Residents will work alongside a physical therapist once a week to see how different modalities are used to treat such injuries.  Residents also have the opportunity to participate in Sports Medicine Journal Club to discuss interesting and debated topics as well as learn to clinically appraise research articles.  Interested residents have plenty of other opportunities to engage in Sports Medicine training in our Program, including the option to engaging in a Sports Medicine Area of Concentration.