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Family Medicine Residency: FAQs

What are the strengths of your program?

The greatest strength of our residency program is that it produces superb family physicians who are well qualified to assume a wide range of practice opportunities. This is due to our ability to combine the best attributes of a community hospital-based program with an academic focus. In doing so, we attract highly self-directed residents who also benefit from the guidance of our dedicated faculty with its varied clinical and research interests. We pride ourselves on innovation in clinical care and teaching, and we are known for helping our residents develop their own areas of interest. 

Our program has a tradition of incorporating resident leadership as we continually strive for self-improvement. Areas we are actively focusing on include our procedures curriculum, didactic learning sessions and opioid management.

Do your residents pass their board exams?

Due to our success in recruiting high quality medical students and our excellent clinical training, our residents and graduates have fared well on all quality indicators. Specifically, they score well above the national average on in-training exams, and have a five-year 97% pass rate on the Family Medicine Board Exam.

How has your program done in the Match?

Our program has consistently filled with highly competitive applicants from our program Match List, several of whom perform Acting Internships during their fourth year of medical school. Successful candidates to our program often have distinguished themselves in academics and other achievements that have helped them build the character of an excellent family physician. Our residents also tend to be internally driven and self-directed in their learning.

Is Greensboro a good place to live?

Greensboro is a GREAT place to live! It is small enough to not have much traffic, but large enough to offer a variety of recreational activities and education/job opportunities for significant others. It is located just over an hour from Durham and Raleigh, a three to four-hour drive from the beach and two hours from the mountains. Greensboro is full of parks and provides lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation.

The cost of living here is very affordable, and typically about half of our residents purchase homes in the area. The public education system is well regarded, and there are also private and religious-based education options.

We have had residents from all over the country, many of whom choose to stay here in North Carolina after completing residency!

What major changes do you anticipate?

We live in a time of transformational change in health care as we move from our current fee-for-service/volume-based reimbursement world into a value-based world.  Our residency culture needs to embrace innovation.  We also have an impressive tradition of excellence and want to hold tight to the enduring values that have made us successful.  The trick is to balance change and tradition.  From a curriculum standpoint, we want residents to learn the major changes going on in health care financing.  We want residents to graduate with quality improvement skills to succeed in the pay-for-performance reimbursement systems.  We continue to teach the enduring values of teamwork, patient-centeredness and accountability.

What is it like to train at Cone Health/Moses Cone Hospital?

Most students have a skewed view of medical care in general and of innovation in particular.  In medical training, it is easy to reach the conclusion that the best, most innovative care is delivered at Academic Health Centers.  Cone Health provides the counterpoint.  In 2016, CMS awarded Moses Cone a 5-Star rating based on the quality of care we deliver.  We are #1 in the nation in hospital readmission rates post-myocardial infarction.  Our affiliated Accountable Care Organization (ACO), Triad HealthCare Network, is one of only 18 Next Generation ACOs in the country.  Cone is leading the way in quality and innovation.  

Cone Health is committed to working with physicians as partners to improve care.  When physicians are engaged with the work of their health system, quality and patient safety improves.  Cone generously supports our residency as an investment in our community's future. We want our residents to be engaged and satisfied, remaining in our community to practice.   

How does your program incorporate technology into education?

We support technology and in fact, offer a technology stipend to each resident as they enter the program. Our EMR is EPIC for both inpatient and outpatient charting. Many residents use smartphones, tablets and laptops to access the EMR, creating a more efficient work flow. In addition to UptoDate, we have access to the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) digital library. We also use an online web resource where residents can find clinical and curricular information such as handouts, lectures, goals and objectives for each rotation, article reviews and other tools.

Are there other residency programs within Cone Health?

The Family Practice Residency Program is the largest residency in our health system, with eight residents per class. The hospital is also home to an internal medicine residency program and the primary care track of the UNC pediatric residency. There is not an OB-GYN residency. Overall, there are no concerns about access to patient experiences or specialty teaching. In many ways, the other residencies contribute to our learning as they draw additional faculty who are interested in teaching residents. This is particularly true of pediatrics where you will work closely with UNC pediatric attending physicians in both the inpatient and clinic settings.

Where is the Cone Health Family Medicine Center located and what types of patients does it serve?

The Family Medicine Center (FMC) is a stand-alone facility on the campus of the main teaching hospital of the Cone Health System. We care for patients of all ages, and our patients represent the breadth of diversity of the Greensboro area. Roughly one-quarter of our patient panel is of limited English proficiency (LEP); the largest segment of LEP patients are from Mexico and Central America, and to a lesser extent from Asia and Africa.

Where does resident training take place?

Most of our in-hospital rotations take place at our main facility, the 550-bed Moses Cone Hospital. Our OB and newborn nursery rotations take place at the Women's Hospital, a facility dedicated to women's health care, located approximately three miles from Moses Cone Hospital. We also use private practitioners' offices and other outpatient facilities in our training.

Approximately 80% of the training of our first-year residents is in hospital-based rotations. By the time a resident reaches the third year, 85% of the training is ambulatory-based experiences. One advantage of our program is that training sites are close in proximity to our main campus, allowing most residents to be available for educational noon didactic conferences and to stay connected with colleagues and faculty.  All of our resident continuity clinics take place at the Family Medicine Center.

What about Obstetrical training at your program?

Our program has a wealth of clinical opportunities to learn low-risk obstetrics. The required experience consists of 1.5 months during the intern year and another two weeks in the second year. While the ACGME requirements have changed regarding delivery numbers, our program continues to require both continuity and total deliveries in the interest of the comprehensive education of our residents and as a service to our community.

For those with a strong interest in obstetrics, we have developed an Obstetrics Area of Concentration. This track is designed to offer additional guidance to residents who may be interested in incorporating maternity care into their future practice. We encourage residents to carefully consider their future practice goals with regard to obstetrics, and to consider the Obstetrics Area of Concentration as they plan to augment their obstetrical training during residency.

How do the residents get along?

Since the residents spend so much time working together, the program places an emphasis on recruiting people who will work well together. Each class has residents who choose to spend time together outside of work, whether is it is going to dinner or having an evening of bowling. We pride ourselves in being a residency that is teamwork-driven and relationship-focused. 
We have several activities every year to help facilitate these relationships, including our resident retreat every September and intern appreciation dinner in the spring. Our team-based environment is one of the reasons we attract such excellent applicants, and is also why current residents have input into the selection of future classes.

What is a typical day on the inpatient teaching service?

Our day starts at 7:30 a.m. with resident sign-out. Typically, we have a clinical pharmacist present for this morning sign-out. From 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. interns and upper­ level residents round on their patients and create a plan for the day. At 10 a.m., we have sit-down rounds and teaching with the attending, where patient plans are finalized.

Rounds typically finish up around 12 p.m., giving the residents about 30 minutes to work on the more urgent floor work before attending the noon conference. After lunch, the residents are either in clinic or working on floor work, discharges and any admissions, depending on the day’s schedule.