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Program Comparison

There are 13 four-week blocks in the academic year. The decision between whether to pursue a Transitional Year or a Preliminary Medicine internship primarily depends on whether you prefer to have operative experience as part of your intern year. Surgical rotations are specific to the Transitional Year, but both programs have access to the same breadth of elective experiences. In both programs, your educational opportunities and responsibilities are the same as those of your categorical intern colleagues on the team.

Breakdown of an average year:

Both Programs

Transitional Year

Preliminary Medicine

  • 1 month Emergency Medicine
  • 1 month Night Float
  • 4 outpatient electives (medicine subspecialties, Systems Based Practice, option to apply for scholarly block)
  • 2-4 months medicine wards
  • 2-4 months surgery
  • 1 month medicine ICU
  • 5 months medicine wards
  • 2 months medicine ICU

Medicine wards months include:

  • Admitting
  • Level 8 - Cardiac Telemetry
  • Level 9 - Progressive Care (ICU stepdown)
  • Level 18 - Oncology and Med/Surg

Potential surgery rotations include:

  • General surgery
  • Thoracic surgery
  • Vascular surgery
  • Plastic surgery
  • Colorectal surgery
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Cardiac surgery
  • Urology

For descriptions of the available surgery rotations, please visit the R1 tab for the General Surgery Residency. Of these, note that Burn Surgery, SICU, Trauma ED, and Surgery Night Float are not assigned to Transitional Year interns.

For descriptions of the internal medicine inpatient rotations and subspecialty outpatient electives, please see the “Inpatient Rotations” and “Elective Rotations”.

The Systems Based Practice elective provides an introduction to quality improvement (QI) and the opportunity to experience the Virginia Mason Production System first hand. You will go behind the scenes to meet directly with system leaders and team members directly involved with QI at Virginia Mason, and you will develop a better idea of the culture and unique, world famous quality improvement system that drives Virginia Mason. During this elective you will participate in Kaizen QI events and perform root cause analysis of patient safety events. Ultimately, you will emerge from the elective with a better understanding of system change, elimination of waste, and the forces that influence health care costs, demand and quality. You will emerge with the beginning skills and tools to lead implementation of improvement changes yourself.