Rotations at PPMC

Our curriculum is fine-tuned with ongoing resident involvement allowing residents to develop top quality skills in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. Residents are simultaneously challenged and supported – creating a vibrant learning environment. Each subspecialty elective includes: 

  • Responsibility in the inpatient setting as well as outpatient experience in the subspecialists’ office
  • The curriculum integrates stimulating clinical experiences in a “real world” academic medical center and rigorous evidence based instruction by nationally recognized faculty. 

Rotation (weeks)




Inpatient Wards




Night Float








Outpatient Blocks




Evidence Based Medicine




Procedure Rotation




Subspecialty Rotations and Electives*




Quality Improvement




*Geriatrics and Emergency Medicine are included in Subspecialty Rotations and Electives

Inpatient Medicine Teaching Service

Key Features

  • Progressive Responsibility
    • Unique team structures linked to resident development
    • Step-wise increase in patient census as PGY-2
  • Diversity of patients
    • Varied demographics
    • Wide range of diseases
  • Emphasis on autonomy
    • 1:1 linkage with hospitalist
  • Interactive teaching conferences
    • New dynamic conference series
  • Night float system
    • No shifts longer than 16 hours at any PGY level
  • Superb ancillary support services

First Year House Officers

Duration: 18 weeks

Varying Team Structures

  • Interns work with upper-level residents in two different team structures:  First-year residents may either be paired alone with an upper-level resident or be part of a two intern, one resident team.  One of the senior house staff is from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and represents part of our formal affiliation with its medical school.
  • Our program also has a formal affiliation with the Providence Milwaukie Family Practice Program with each family medicine intern having an experience on one of our ward teams.
  • Teams usually have either one junior medical student or a fourth year sub-intern for each intern on the team. 
  • Teams average six to eight patients for each intern on the team.
  • Interns on the five inpatient teams admit 75% of days. There is night float cover every night.
  • We believe that a teaching service team overwhelmed with too many patients serves neither the best interests of the resident nor of the patient. So, a teaching service is closed to admissions when a team accrues a predetermined number of patients.
  • The 24/7 availability of personnel doing IV catheters, EKGs, arterial blood gases, blood drawings and transport markedly enhances the resident's ability to manage teaching service patients efficiently.
  • In addition to daily teaching during work rounds, the dynamic and interactive noon-conference series occurs daily.

Teaching services

  • Designed to ensure that house staff is responsible for patient management. 
  • When attendings admit to the teaching service, the physicians agree that only house staff will write orders on those patients.
  • All physicians admitting to the teaching service must participate in medical education-sponsored faculty development. Patients on the teaching services have either a full-time hospitalist or a core medical education faculty as their attending.
  • Each teaching service also admits patients from our own faculty resident practice.  Residents follow their patients as the primary physician.
  • A full-time faculty member supervises all hospitalized patients.

Second and Third Year Residents

Duration: 18 weeks. The call schedule for residents on the wards is identical to that described for interns.  Upper-level residents may admit one patient when the intern on a single-intern team is off.  Residents have no call shifts longer than 16 hours.

Team Structures

  • Second-year residents in the beginning of the year start on a team with no intern and are paired 1:1 with a single hospitalist and a Medical Education faculty member whose focus is to provide meaningful observations and feedback to the resident. 
  • This unique structure allows the new second-year resident to gain comfort with expanded responsibilities while intensely focusing on the continued development of excellent clinical skills and efficiency prior to assuming the added responsibility of managing teams with interns and medical students later in the fall of their second year.
  • Becoming an R2: prior to the start of PGY2 housestaff participate in a formal seminar series that focuses on the management and education skills needed to optimally run a teaching service.
  • Second-year residents then move on to lead the teams on work rounds, coordinate patient care and teach both interns and students during in patient rotations. 

Night Float

Duration: Average 4 weeks for all PGYs

  • Monday night through Friday night the night float team (one resident and one intern) evaluates medicine admissions coming to the hospital.
  • The team cross-covers teaching service patients, between 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
  • A float resident covers Saturday and Sunday nights for cross-covers and admissions weekend. 

Intensive Care Unit

Duration: 6 weeks for all PGYs

  • A combined medical-surgical ICU (24/7 on site support from board-certified intensivists).
  • The ICU allows our residents to gain tremendous experience in the assessment and management of critically ill patients.
  • Managing both medical patients and complicated post-operative patients gives residents the experience that will be invaluable in their future careers.
  • The high census, high acuity, create a vibrant learning environment.
  • Daily, multidisciplinary rounds with a board-certified intensivist allow house staff to learn both the latest in ICU management techniques and how to lead a multidisciplinary team.
  • The two hour rounds provide a strong foundation to house staff rotating in the ICU.
    Educational experiences in the ICU include:
    • Rounds with board-certified intensivist, daily
      • X-ray rounds, daily
      • ICU didactics, daily
      • Multidisciplinary, daily
    • Infectious disease rounds, daily
    • Ethics rounds, weekly

Team Structure

  • Two interns and a senior resident staff the unit each day.
  • Second year residents assigned to the ICU cover the unit five nights each week. A float resident covers the other night.
  • Each intern takes overnight call once every other week.

Outpatient Block

Duration: 6 weeks for all PGYs

  • Focus on resident autonomy 
  • Management of primary care panel of patients
  • Learn needed skills for real-world general medicine practice
    • Efficiency
    • Communication skills 
  • Formal self-directed, on-line ambulatory curriculum
  • Diversity of patient experiences
    • Urgent care (e.g. acute chest pain, pyelonephritis)
    • Complicated psychosocial issues
    • Direct observations by behavioral medicine specialist and general medicine faculty
    • Community education
  • Dermatology procedures clinic
  • Musculoskeletal procedures clinic
  • Behavioral Health Clinic
  • Work with multi-disciplinary team in Patient-Centered Medical Home model
  • Multi-disciplinary outpatient rounds to review complex cases

The Outpatient Block rotation is designed to familiarize house staff with general medicine outpatient practice. Formal didactics and observed patient interviews by general medicine and behavioral medicine faculty supplement the experience. Residents gain experience in the full gamut of outpatient experiences, including urgent care, chronic disease care, office orthopedics, women’s health, and dermatology.  The residency clinic is also a Patient-Centered Medical Home with a diverse group of staff including social work, behavioral medicine, clinical pharmacist, dietician, physical therapist and outreach worker.

Procedures Rotation

Duration: 2 weeks for PGY1

  • This experience is designed to give interns comfort and competence in a broad range of experiences.
  • High-volume, hands-on learning allows rapid acquisition of technical skills such as intubation, central lines and paracentesis. 
  • Point-of-care ultrasound training is incorporated.

Team Structure

  • Working one-on-one with interventional radiologists, anesthesiologists, and experienced nurses creates mentored experiences to learn best techniques.

Quality Improvement Rotation

Duration: 2 weeks for each in PGY2 and PGY3 years

Educational objectives include:

  • To learn about and utilize continuous quality improvement methods
  • To develop and carry out robust quality improvement projects focused on improving quality of care in the hospital or our clinic continuity practice. Residents work in small teams with faculty mentorship.
  • To present QI project work in academic forums such as ACP posters and journal publications
  • To emphasize important issues of caring for populations of patients
  • To understand the structure and function of our healthcare system and how physicians can contribute to the evolution of health care systems
  • To learn about and utilize continuous quality improvement methods

Learn more ›

Evidence Based Medicine

Duration: 2 weeks for PGY 1 year

Learn more ›

Subspecialty Rotations and Electives

Duration: Average of 16 weeks for all PGYs

  • Full range of medical and surgical electives available
  • 1:1 with subspecialty faculty
    • Personalized teaching
    • Opportunity for procedures
  • Most rotations combine inpatient and outpatient experiences

We encourage house staff to tailor elective choices to meet their personal goals. The proportion of inpatient versus outpatient can be adjusted. Specific faculty can be requested. Every month of residency training is precious. We want to maximize every elective’s value to every resident. The associate program director works directly with each resident to maximize elective education.

Geriatrics/Palliative Care (R2 Required)

Duration: 2 weeks

During the rotation

  • The resident will spend at least half of their time doing outpatient skilled nursing facility visits with a geriatrician. This will expose the resident to potential pitfalls in transitions from the hospital setting, as well as the scope of care available in skilled nursing.
  • Focused didactics on geriatric assessment, delirium and falls will be part of this experience.
  • Additional time will be spent in inpatient rehab at Providence Portland with a physiatrist and the therapy team; the resident will be exposed to the hands-on assessment by PT and OT.
  • The resident will also go to Providence Elderplace, a unique care model for frail elderly.
  • Finally to gain exposure to care of healthy elderly living in the community, the residents spend time with Marian Hodges, M.D., director of geriatric education, seeing patients in her practice. 
  • During the rotation, the resident will also do some home hospice visits with a nurse and a social worker.
  • Time permitting, they will work with the inpatient palliative care consult team.

The resident will use "Geriatrics At Your Fingertips" by the American Geriatrics Society as the core reference during the rotation. Grounding in geriatrics syndromes, geriatrics assessment, and familiarity with routine assessment tools (for mental status, falls, and depression) are expected.

International Elective

Duration: 4 weeks at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya

We feel that the perspective added by working in a developing country is a wonderful supplement to residency training. The resident gains several important benefits:

  • Inpatient wards
  • Teaching Medical Students
  • Visit outreach clinics

Learn more ›

Primary Care Elective

Residents on the primary care elective spend time with primary care physicians in a variety of settings.  They learn the pros and cons of individual practice, midsize physician-owned practices, and large multilocation practices.  They also get opportunities to perform outpatient procedures of their choosing.

Resiliency Rotation Elective

The department has created a 2 week elective for those that are interested to explore and develop resiliency skills to enrich and sustain a professional career in medicine.

The elective has been split up into half day sessions exploring a variety of topics. Some of these topics include mindfulness, self-compassion, communication, and dealing with death and dying. There are 2 sessions dedicated to narrative medicine with the topics of being with suffering and gratitude and acceptance.

Each session is led by a faculty member and some are facilitated by outside guests.

The elective not only fosters the development of skills to increase empathy and prevent burnout, but also allows for a unique connection between the participating residents and faculty.