March in Anchorage
Still cold, but an amazing four weeks. I highly recommend rotating at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage!
- You will be given a choice of (1) outpatient clinic, (2) inpatient medicine, or (3) ICU. You can pick 2 of 3 if you want to mix/match. I chose a mix of outpatient clinic (and requested a GI focus) and inpatient medicine.
- For outpatient clinic, you can work with a general internist and see everything, but you can also request to work with the specialists, assuming they are available. There are two infectious disease docs, a gastroenterologist, a rheumatologist, a neurologist, a dermatologist, nephrology PA, pulmonary, etc. Many of the specialists see patients in the clinic, but also perform inpatient consults. You get more weekend time off.
- For inpatient medicine, I was assigned to an Attending (who rotates weekly). I carried about 5 patients of a 12-15 pt service. Rounds are pretty informal and you have independence, but still have opportunity to discuss the plan with the Attending. I admitted from the ED. There is good support for PT/OT, social work, etc.
- ICU is a busy service, generally. Less weekend time off, but a lot of procedure opportunities.
Alaska Native Medical Center:
- Beautiful facility. Very modern. The patients are also amazing, mostly Native and from villages hundreds of miles away requiring travel in by a bush plane. I learned so much about Alaska geography and native culture throughout the month. The patients are very warm and friendly. I really enjoyed interacting with them.
- A big city. Plenty of supermarkets, coffee shops (Kaladi Bros!), restaurants, gyms, museums, etc. Even in March, snow can be challenging and I would recommend considering upgrading to a slightly nicer car with all-wheel or 4-wheel drive, especially if you plan to take some road trips.
If you have time off, consider going to:
- Anchorage museum
- Drive 2.5 hrs south to meet up with the Soldotna resident and then continue on south to Homer, AK
- Hatcher’s Pass
- Seward (I never made it here)
- Fairbanks is quite far and unless you have a lot of time, you would probably need to fly. You can also take the Alaska Railroad
- In winter, plenty of downhill skiing, cross-country, snowshoeing. You can even organize dog-sledding/mushing, ice fishing, snowmobiling or a flight over Denali if you want.
- If in March, try and see the start of the Iditarod (pretty amazing!) and the Northern Lights.