1. Diversity of Hospital Experiences
Residency education at the UW is about cross-training and exposure to several distinct practice environments. Two medical centers serve as “home”: Harborview Medical Center (a level 1 adult and pediatric trauma and burn center / county hospital) and the University of Washington Medical Center (large tertiary care center). The remainder of resident training time is divided between Valley Medical Center (a community hospital) and Seattle Children’s Hospital (a large pediatric hospital). The variety of facilities strengthens training, challenges residents to be adaptable, and prepares them to care for patients in any setting.
“I’m excited to be part of a program that is based at a mission-driven county hospital and an academic medical center. We serve a five-state region, resulting in a diverse patient population with a wide variety of disease processes and a high volume of trauma.” -- Brandy Cluka, MD, Class of 2017
Residents also have the opportunity to rotate at one of our rural partnership sites, at either St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center in Ketchum, Idaho, or Peace Island Medical Center in Friday Harbor, Washington. A patient letter in the San Juan newspaper on Friday Harbor describes the wonderful care she received from a UW EM resident.
2. Trauma Doc and Medic One Doc Roles
Given the high volume and acuity of training, Harborview Medical Center ED (“HMC ED”) is divided into primary medical and trauma areas. Starting as a PGY2, residents have a unique role at the HMC ED: Transitioning from the intern role to one that provides online medical control for Seattle’s paramedics. While on the medicine service, in the role as “Medic One Doc,” residents care for the most critically and medically ill patients, including transfers from the five-state WWAMI region (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). On the trauma side of the ED, residents learn the role of “Trauma Doc”---they manage the trauma wing and run codes; oversee/teach interns and medical students; and manage of the most critical patients. With a radio in hand, the Medic One Docs and Trauma Docs have their fingers on the pulse of Seattle and King County, an experience that is intended to challenge and stretch residents, giving them an early learning opportunity of what it takes to run a busy ED.
“The transition from intern to the leadership roles of Medic One/Trauma Doc has been a significant escalation of responsibility. One gets to care for the sickest of the sick while learning to manage a team and be in constant contact with pre-hospital and inpatient providers. It can feel overwhelming at times, but the training is invaluable.” -- Patrick Burns, MD, Class of 2016
3. Our Faculty
The Department of Emergency Medicine has been fortunate to recruit the “best of the best” to join our already exceptional faculty. Our faculty have trained all over the country, and the residency program directly benefits from a broad range of practice styles—which also makes for lively teaching conferences. The faculty have diverse interests and are eager to get residents involved in their projects. Most importantly, faculty members are dedicated to resident training and are enjoyable, interesting and engaging people to work with.
“The attendings are awesome! They are all very energetic and approachable. Many have interests within the subspecialties of Emergency Medicine and they are all eager to share these interests with us.” -- Sean Nguyen, MD, Class of 2016
4. Diversity of Patients
According to the 2012 census, King County’s population (which includes Seattle) comprises 15.5 percent Asian, 9.2 percent Hispanic/Latino, 6.5percent black and 4.7 percent two or more races. Twenty percent of the population is foreign born, and 24.8 percent of the population speaks a language other than English at home. The most common languages spoken by ED patients at Harborview (other than English) are Spanish and Somali. According to the Census Bureau, Ranier Valley was proclaimed the most diverse neighborhood in the country, with a quarter of the population being white, and the rest made up of Hispanic, African-American, and Asian residents.
"One of the things that initially attracted me to Harborview was the mission to serve the most vulnerable patients. In Emergency Medicine, we are on the front line of patient care, and we get to experience--and influence-- the intersection between social issues and health. At Harborview, I get to work with like-minded individuals who are passionate about providing care for the underserved, and I leave work feeling like I've made a difference." -- Elizabeth Harmon, MD, Class of 2020
5. Integrated Pediatric Exposure
Approximately 16 percent of HMC and UWMC emergency department patients are children under the age of 17. In order to keep resident pediatric skills fresh and current, the EM Program has partnered with Seattle Children’s Hospital (“SCH”) to offer a longitudinal pediatric emergency experience. All of the SCH faculty are pediatric emergency medicine trained. In the internship year, residents rotate for a solid month through the SCH ED, therefore receiving a concentrated experience of education in pediatrics. Starting in the second year, SCH ED shifts are interspersed with shifts at HMC and UWMC. EM residents, as third years, also rotate in the pediatric ICU, managing complex patients alongside pediatric ICU attendings, fellows and pediatric residents. In addition to Seattle Children’s Hospital, the residents receive experience with pediatrics in the community during their months in the Valley Medical Center ED.
“A strong background in pediatrics is also important to our training, so I am thrilled that approximately twenty percent of our shifts are spent in a pediatric emergency department.” -- Rebekah Heckmann, MD, Class of 2015
6. Trauma Experience- Transfer Center for the WWAMI Region
Mauled by a bear in Alaska? Caught in an avalanche in the Cascade Mountains? Paragliding accident in Montana? Rollover MVC, and all other trauma in Seattle? We’ll see you at Harborview. From the everyday trauma to the exceptional, we see it all as the only Level 1 Trauma center serving Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho, Harborview treats an unmatched variety of trauma patients locally.
7. ICU Experience
Critical care education is essential to the training of EM physicians. Over the four-years, the EM curriculum emphasizes critical care exposure through a variety of ICU experiences:
Trauma/Surgical ICU (4 weeks); Medical ICU (8 weeks); Pediatric ICU (4 weeks); Burns/BICU (4 weeks); Cardiac Care ICU (4 weeks). HMC and UWMC ICU's serve the most critically ill patients in the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) region.
8. Serving the Underserved
Harborview is a busy county hospital and serves immigrant, incarcerated, mentally ill and homeless populations. One of Harborview’s primary missions is to provide care for these vulnerable and underserved populations.
“Harborview is not only a level 1 trauma receiving center for a four state region, but its mission is to care for the underserved, something I am passionate about.” -- Alisha Brown, MD, Class of 2015
9. “About Us as Residents”
“Our interests may be varied, our backgrounds diverse, and our personalities eclectic, but there are two things that join us together: (1) We love emergency medicine; and (2) We love spending time with each other.”
“A great group of fun, interesting, talented people that I am looking forward to working and learning with for the next four years.” -- Justin Bammer, MD, Class of 2016
“I adore my co-residents, and we have really awesome faculty. There is a strong sense of camaraderie in this program - we are all excited to be starting a program together.” -- Katherine Bryant, MD, Class of 2016
Seattle is well known as one of the best places to live in the US. With a metropolitan population of 3.5 million, Seattle is a diverse and thriving city and has something for everyone.