Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many deliveries do you do during residency?

Obstetrics is one of our core rotations here in Duluth along with internal medicine and pediatrics. Upon graduation our residents can expect to have delivered up to 100 babies; the program also provides a significant amount of high risk obstetrics and the opportunity to collaborate with NICU admissions while on OB and pediatrics. The clinical portion of the OB/GYN rotation has also been enhanced with more outpatient procedural experience including colposcopy, IUD insertion and exposure to treatment modalities for precancerous/cancerous cervical lesions. Lastly, our OB/GYN rotation is now service based; this means our resident team covers all patients on the floor. As a result this improves continuity of care and augments our perinatal management skills greatly. We now follow all patients from the minute they are on the floor until they walk out the door; this contributes to a more robust experience because we are doing more than catching babies, we are managing complex patients with preeclampsia and postpartum complications from door to door. We believe this holistic approach better prepares our residents for any practice setting they may choose to enter.

Q: Can I get c-section training in your program?

Numerous opportunities are available to be the first assist throughout residency. Residents can apply for additional c-section training and may be selected into the track. This training allows the third-year residents to obtain 30-50 primary c-sections.

Q: What is a typical call shift like?

Our call schedules are unique to each rotation; a brief framework is provided below.

Family Medicine Service: Call provides coverage for the program’s continuity clinic patient population. A four- or five-resident team (including a first-year or third-year ‘ambulatory lead’) cover admissions to both St. Mary’s Medical Center and St. Luke’s Hospital. Twenty-four hour call is divided among second- and third-year resident team members as 12-hour daytime shifts and 12-hour nighttime at home call. Second and third-year senior resident members serve in a leadership and supervisory role to team members and medical students.

Medicine: Call is divided throughout a 28-day block with a four-resident team and includes a combination of 12-hour daytime shifts and 12-hour nighttime shifts. Team members do 5 nighttime shifts in a row during one week of the block.

OB: Call is a combination of 14-hour daytime shifts and one 24-hour shift a week for PGY2 residents at St. Luke’s Hospital. Third and first-year residents cover a combination of 12-hour daytime and 12-hour nighttime shifts at St. Mary’s Medical Center.

Pediatrics: Call is variable based on PGY status with a five-resident team and includes a combination of 12-hour daytime and 12-hour nighttime shifts. Second and third-year team members do 5 nighttime shifts in a row during one week of the block.

Q: What kind of critical care experience do you get?

Our critical care experience is both focused and longitudinal; both sponsoring institutions are regional hubs with trauma centers.  Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center is a Level 1 Adult Trauma Center and Level II Infant/Child Trauma Center and St. Luke’s Hospital is a Level II Adult Trauma Center.  We admit patients to multiple ICU’s during adult medicine as well as ur family medicine service rotations. Additionally all second year residents complete a one block critical care rotation where they work directly with the critical care physicians admitting and following patients in the ICU on a daily basis. This month is rich in both didactic and procedural experience; residents regularly perform procedures including intubations, chest tubes and central lines. Ultrasound guided procedures are commonly performed as well. Residents gain experience caring for critically ill patients as well as exposure to toxicology, ventilator management, acid/base disorders and treatment of sepsis.

Q: What clinic office procedures do you learn?

We perform an array of common office procedures including lesion removal, joint injections, excisional biopsies, IUD and Nexplanon insertion/removal, laceration repair, abscess drainage/joint aspiration, toenail avulsions and foreign body removal. Our most complex office based procedure is a vasectomy. Colposcopy is also an integral part of our training. With more focused experience for those who desire extra training. We are now offering dedicated procedure days. There is opportunity to gain additional experience in procedures based on resident interest. Examples are colonoscopy and vasectomy.

Q: What hospital procedures do you learn?

Hospital based procedural experience is garnered throughout the Duluth residency experience beginning with the emergency medicine and adult medicine rotations in the first year. The second year critical care rotation provides the backbone of our procedural training; during this rotation residents can expect to place multiple chest tubes, 10-15 central lines/arterial lines, perform numerous intubations with ventilator management and perhaps even be the primary during bronchoscopy. The procedural experience gained from the critical care rotation is valuable during the advanced rotations of second and third year; whether on the family medicine rotation, the chief resident rotation or moonlighting in a rural emergency department these procedural skills will be put to use. The opportunities for paracentesis, lumbar puncture and thoracentesis are present throughout the three years of training; circumcisions and neonatal resuscitations are performed routinely during the pediatrics rotation as well. We also provide ATLS (advanced trauma life support) for all residents and the fundamentals of critical care support course is offered in Duluth to all residents free of charge.

Q: Where do the Duluth Family Medicine residents come from?
Q: Will I spend time in rural practices?

We believe that a rural-ready physician is best prepared to practice anywhere. Skills gained in our program can translate to a practice in a town of any size with all doors open to our family physicians. In order to prepare residents for full-spectrum practice, we strive to expose you to rural training experiences in block rotation, on outreach, via tele-health and through preceptors and mentorships.

Q: What global health opportunities are available in your program?

We participate in the University of Minnesota global health track. Our program believes global health includes the most remote and rural areas of Minnesota and the United States. You will have opportunities to experience strong training in rural settings and can apply full-spectrum training to any setting. A good, solid base of training has taken our residents across the street, to International Falls, Minnesota, inner-city Minneapolis and abroad to Africa and South America.

Q: Where do your graduates practice?

Over 60% of our graduates chose to practice in Minnesota, with an additional 16% in Wisconsin. Approximately 63% of our graduates practice in communities of 25,000 people or less.

Q: What is there to do in Duluth?

Duluth is perfectly positioned between the beautiful waters of Lake Superior and one of America’s most spectacular wilderness areas. To explore all there is to do in Duluth and its surrounding area visit:

Q: What is the business economy and workforce like in Duluth?

According to the Northland Connection:

The Northland consists of seven counties in northeast Minnesota and Douglas County, Wisconsin. The region is uniquely situated for growth, thanks its abundant natural resources, diverse industry mix, strong education offerings, and proficient workforce. The Northland was built on its mining and forestry industries, and retains this base as its economy broadens to take advantage of its other assets. The Northland delivers goods through its strong multi-modal transportation network, and residents enjoy striking natural beauty and a high quality of life.

Northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin provide a world-class workforce. The region’s workers come with the exceptional education, work ethic, and skills necessary to attract and build businesses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that Minnesota was 4th and Wisconsin was 9th out of U.S. states in labor force participation rate.

According to NorthForce

The Northland is an attractive place to build or grow a business. It’s strategically located in the center of North America, with access to Great Circle air routes between Europe and the western United States. With a world-class port in Duluth and Superior, the region has access to U.S., Canadian, and global markets.

A diverse industry mix provides a stable economy. The Northland’s quality educational system and low turnover contribute to a proficient, reliable workforce. It’s those productive workers who help our growing companies achieve profitability.

The Northland produces world-class large equipment. Its healthcare is vibrant and features the latest procedures and technologies. Broadband crisscrosses the landscape. Natural resources are abundant, but also managed in an environmentally friendly way.