Category Archives: Dillon

Rural Primary Care in Dillon

I had a great month working with Dr. McIntyre in Dillon, Montana. My month there was all outpatient, but the doctors all do several weeks of inpatient medicine a year so I think sometimes that is mixed in. The average day consisted of seeing about 10 patients in the clinic. There were typically 2 yearly physicals and the remainder were problem-based follow up. Dr. McIntyre definitely made an effort to get patients to follow up while I was still in town so that I could follow cases along. We suspected temporal arteritis in a patient while I was there and managed to get her to Butte for a temporal artery biopsy and get the results back all while I was still in town . I probably saw her 5 times during the month and I think that gives you a flavor for the type of devoted care that is given to the community. All of the patients were so nice and appreciative of the care they received. We also went into the hospital for personal visits to see Dr. McIntyre’s own patients and also to do procedures like EGDs. I also shadowed the orthopedist and OBGYN who worked across the hall for a few days as well. I think Dr. McIntyre makes an effort to let you do things like that if you are interested at all. It was never a matter if you seeing patients to “take work off of her hands” or anything like that, it was all catered to what experience you wanted and how to make that happen.

As for the Montana piece, I thought it was awesome. I had every weekend off and got to travel to Missoula, Bozeman, Livingston, Helena, and all the hot springs in between. For someone who had only driven through Montana, it was such a fun way to experience a new scenery and culture. I thought Dillon was a super cute and affordable community. The provided housing was great, the taco bus was delicious, and then there is the Patagonia outlet – which has new things on sale every week… Meghan Johnston can tell you more about because evidently she used to work there.

Anyways, go to Dillon!

Beaverhead Rock

Dillon, MT

make hay while the sun shines (a field near town)

I went to Dillon early in my R2 year and very much enjoyed my month there. I spent the first half working with Dr Ron Loge and the rest with Dr Sandra McIntyre. They are both wonderful (and beloved) internists who completed their residencies at UW–about 25 years apart. We rounded in the (20 bed) hospital in the mornings, spent the days in clinic, then rounded again in the evenings. We saw a broad range of medical problems and it was great being able to follow patients closely because I was in one place all day, every day.
I highly recommend this site to anyone interested in an experience of real rural primary care that is mostly outpatient with a bit of inpatient, procedures, nursing home visits, and home visits.

It was an unseasonably warm Sept/Oct and I hiked in the mountains around Dillon and went on weekend trips to both Yellowstone (3 hours away) and Glacier (about 6 hours). It was a great month! Email me if you have questions.

Lauren Carpenter

Dillon, Montana

The reason I chose to go to Dillon was to have the opportunity to experience what it is really like to be a small town rural doctor who does it all, and that is exactly what I found.  I worked mainly with Dr. Sandra Mcintyre who is a smart, dedicated, charismatic graduate from the UW program who is deeply loved by her patients.  Our days were spent going between clinic and the hospital to check on our inpatients.  On Monday afternoons we would do stress testing, and on many mornings she performs her own endoscopies.  One of the most rewarding parts of the month was seeing patients who I took care on in the hospital back in clinic after their discharge.  There were patients I saw 4-5 times during the month, true continuity!  Of course, you cant beat the location, so close to yellowstone, world class fly fishing, and miles of open beautiful prarie.  If you go in September you will also get to experience the big rodeo that comes through town…this is one of the truest cowboy towns in the country and a must see!

Dillon’s Famous Cherry Pie

As someone who was uncertain in what field of medicine to enter, I decided to take advantage of the WWAMI experience. The reason I picked Dillon was based on a chance conversation that I had with my clinic preceptor who had went out to Dillon and still reminiscing Mrs. Loge’s cherry pie and the beautiful Montana landscape. Being in a small town for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. Everyone whom I met were warm, helpful and extremely friendly. The patients were real “salt of the earth” especially the ranchers. The experience is unique in that we follow patients in all aspects of their care–from the clinic to the ER to the inpatient side and to the procedure room. Because of the limited access to specialists, Drs. Loge and McIntyre perform most of the procedures that we routinely fill out a requisition or refer to specialists. They perform bone marrow biopsy, thyroid biopsy, EGD, colonoscopy, treadmills and all routine primary care procedures. Both Drs. Loge and McIntyre were amazing preceptors and clinicians. On the weekend off, Dr. Loge invited me to his beautiful cabin and spend time cross country skiing and finding then chopping down a Christmas tree. It was the first time for me to do both. Lastly, Mrs. Loge’s cherry pie was as good as it was rumored to be and certainly worth the drive to Dillon.

Dillon, Montana

Skiing in Dillon
This picture was taken on a Sunday afternoon, Dr Loge and I cross-country skied out to a spring by his cabin. Once there we made a fire and roasted hot dogs :)

just got back from my WWAMI rotation in Dillon, MT a few months ago but it feels like it was so long ago – being back in the Seattle residency chaos does that…
My experience in Dillon was excellent. I plan on going into primary care and this was really the first opportunity I had to be in a primary care clinic on a regular, daily basis. The experience is completely different than the constantly rotating schedule we have in Seattle. Working in a small town was also different – by week two I was recognizing people in the grocery store and running into patients downtown, an experience I’m yet to have in Seattle. But I think the highlight of the rotation is the mentors. I was lucky enough to work with both Dr Loge and McIntyre. They are both very welcoming and involve you in both the care of the patients and the small town Montana experience. We went cross-country and downhill skiing, I was invited over for Sunday dinner, and went out to Dr Loge’s beautiful cabin with his family.
I recommend a WWAMI rotation to everyone, even if you’re not interested in primary care, the continuity of being in the same clinic on a daily basis is something we never experience of in Seattle. In addition, Dr Loge does many procedures — EGDs, bone marrow biopsies, treadmills, joint injections — regularly, and manages patient who would be managed by specialists here in Seattle, so there’s something for people with all interests.

Taking care of the same patients for years

River near DillonIn my Seattle clinic, I usually feel I have one chance to fix a patient and all I’m doing is trying to get in the ballpark, so Dillon was so educational. It’s the only rotation where you’re in the same clinic every day, eight hours per day. The patients were ranchers and cowboys, tough guys with terrible problems that you could do something about, like a guy with diabetes who brought me his home glucose numbers and actually followed up the next week. My clinical skills improved so much from seeing patients back and seeing if what I’d tried had worked. My preceptor, Dr. Loge, has been in Dillon twenty-five years. He’s one of the most important mentors I’ve met. He has that clinical intuition you only develop after years and years, and he really knows the medical literature. The rotation with him really changed my outlook, even though I’m not doing primary care. I’m going into cardiology and I’ve thought about being a small town cardiologist with a small primary care practice, now that I’ve experienced what it’s like to know patients for twenty years.