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Benefis gets approval for Internal Medicine residency program

Benefis Health System hospital in Great Falls
Posted at 4:56 PM, May 30, 2024

Benefis Health System recently earned approval for its new Internal Medicine Residency Program from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, bringing more health care professionals to the central Montana area.

Physicians coming out of medical school become residents to further learn their specialty. It works like an apprenticeship with gradually escalating responsibilities and autonomy. Internal medicine providers for adult patients over time, treating chronic illness and monitoring wellness. Residents in the program will learn to take care of hospitalized patients and learn preventative medicine.

Internal Medicine Residency Program Director Michael Sheffield says, “Statistics say that when you finish your training, wherever you are, 60 to 70% of those residents will remain in the area. So if we train them here, we have a good chance of keeping about two thirds of them in the area to provide care for the future patient, future generations in this area.”

After the three year program, most residents will become internal medicine providers and later move on to a speciality like cardiology or critical care. Program leaders hope to gear residents towards relevant specialities like geriatrics and addiction medicine. With the new residency, patients will be interacting with students and residents which may take more time, but all care and decisions will be supervised by medical professionals.

Sheffield describes, “as patients become accustomed to it, the nursing staff, respiratory therapy, all of the staff will begin to work with residents more directly and change the way they work, and so forth in the way patients receive their care.”

Sheffield explains he is most excited for the resident’s “energy, curiosity are things that are refreshing every day. And so looking forward to having them here to have those discussions, to remember back when and what it was like when I started and what it's like now, to make sure they get the same sort of joy and excitement that we all had when we were training.”

The first graduates from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Great Falls, as well as will be eligible to apply for the Internal Medicine Residency in Fall 2025, in the program’s second year.

Benefis will be accepting applications this fall, with the first ten Internal Medicine Residents starting in July 2025.