We appreciate your interest in our UAMS West Family Medicine Residency Program in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Deciding where to complete your residency will likely consume your thoughts for the next several months. If there is any consolation, rest assured that all accredited residency programs must meet rigorous standards to maintain their accreditation, so there really aren’t any bad choices. Health care reform efforts will certainly increase the demand for family physicians over the next several years, which should translate into a “buyers’ market” for family physicians seeking opportunities to practice. For this reason, you should concentrate on choosing the program that best fits your needs for the type of practice you plan to enter, offering the skills you plan to use, but with an eye toward a well-rounded and complete training experience that will give you marketable skills across the wide continuum of family medicine practice opportunities. As you muddle through the vast amounts of information sent to you by prospective programs, remember a few basic points:
- Your fellow residents will be the most important parameter in your life over the next three years. Choose a group that works well together and seems happy.
- The interests and privileges of the faculty members of your chosen program should be those that interest you for your future career.
- Learning all you need to know in family medicine is not accomplished without hard work—the easiest programs may not prepare you well for your future needs.
- The NRMP match is a beautifully simple system that allows for the best possible placement for both the applicant and program. Don’t try to cut corners, make outside deals, or otherwise cheat the system. Those who would do so wouldn’t be good partners in your education for the next three years.
Our program is a hard working program with a very well rounded and complete curriculum, with a focus on training physicians for rural practice. We have an exceptional strength in our obstetrics training, with most of our full-time faculty having OB privileges and performing C-sections. We enjoy an excellent working relationship with our local obstetricians, who are on our volunteer faculty. We have the opportunity to assist them in all C-sections performed at Sparks Regional Medical Center. We also have a good working and teaching relationship with our other practicing physicians and hospitals, and enjoy good community support.
As an unopposed program, we do not compete with other residencies for patient care opportunities or experience, so our residents can maximize their exposure to the broadest spectrum of health care. In addition to our clinical learning opportunities, residents enjoy 4 hours of conference presentations weekly, with a variety of topics and speakers. We also offer a special track for those interested in practicing obstetrics on completing residency, which will provide sufficient experience with higher risk patients and operative procedures to ensure confidence when dealing with these issues after residency. We also offer a track for GI endoscopic skills for those who would like to perform these procedures after residency.
These are but a few of the strengths and advantages of our program. Please feel free to call or write for further information.
Katherine Irish-Clardy, MD