LancasterGeneralHealth Family Medicine Residency Program


Frequently Asked Questions

Our residents selected and answered these questions to provide you with more information about our program.
Please feel free to email any other questions to our Residency Coordinator.


Are there any other residency programs here?
No. A true advantage of this program is that there is no competition for procedures or having access to teaching attendings. There is an excellent rapport between the residents and the hospital staff. Many of the physicians and staff are wonderful teachers, having seen many generations of residents start off as hesitant interns and leave as competent, confident graduates.

What are some social events and activities in Lancaster?
For its relatively modest size of 56,000 people in the city and 470,000 people in the county, Lancaster offers a variety of events and activities. For those that enjoy cultural events, you can check out the Fulton Theatre and the Lancaster Ballet Company. The live music scene has regular jazz and blues performances. You will also find a variety of restaurant options in the city and suburbs . This is also a hub of antique shopping as well as one of the largest outlet malls on the East Coast. Of course getting to the larger cities is quite easy: Baltimore and Philadelphia are 90 minutes away, Washington DC is about two hours, and New York City is a mere three and half hours driving. There is also a direct Amtrak line to both Philly and NYC. For more information about the area, check out

What is the patient population?

Most people associate Lancaster County with the Amish. Yes, we take care of the Amish as outpatients and inpatients. Most of the residents would agree that our Amish patients can present to the clinic or the emergency room when they are quite sick. Consequently, the experience of "doctoring" these patients is very rewarding. We often see classic presentations of diseases (pneumonia, for example) that are more unusual to see these days.
However, Lancaster County is surprisingly diverse. The Family Health Clinic at Lancaster General Health serves a substantial, underserved, inner-city population, including many Spanish-speaking patients from Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and other Central American countries, as well as a significant Laotian population.

Do you have a night float system?
Yes, brand new for 2010, night float was started in July. On the Family Medicine Inpatient Service, Obstetrical Service, and the Internal Medicine Teaching Service residents will cover the services at night and be off during the day. Other residents cover these services during the day and leave in the early evening. Weekend coverage remains similar to previous years and current other services. The Lancaster General Family Medicine Residency Program adheres to the ACGME work-hour regulations.

What is call like? Do you get any sleep?
Call is like anywhere else—some nights are easier than others. Unlike some programs where interns admit all hospital patients, our residents only admit patients to their specific service that block. On average, this varies between 2-6 patients a night. You may catch a few hours of sleep as an intern, but this certainly gets better as a second and third year. Night float lessens the burden of being on call month. OB call can be very busy with deliveries and triage evaluations. Interns are never without an upper year during their calls. Again, we strictly adhere to the ACGME work-hour regulations.

How many months of call do you have?
As an intern, four of your thirteen 4-week blocks are completely call-free. As a second year, seven blocks are call-free, and as a third year, nine blocks are call-free. All calls are in-house.

Does the program provide handheld devices?
Yes, the program provides interns with up to $300 for handheld devices if desiree. Our current models connect to a wireless system throughout the hospitals and clinics. This allows residents to check labs, answer emails, and conduct internet searches via their handhelds. This benefit is separate from their allotted CME reimbursement and can only be used during the intern year.

Is there an intern support group?
Yes. Once a month, the interns gather to discuss issues relevant to their experience. During this time, upper year residents are responsible for covering each service, so support time is protected. In addition, there are always informal activities arranged among residents, and we enjoy spending time together outside the hospital!

What kind of teaching and didactics do you receive?
There is daily morning report led by various physicians. Our pediatrics, medicine, and inpatient family medicine teams present weekly, and various other specialties, including cardiology, orthopedics, obstetrics, geriatrics, and sports medicine also rotate into the schedule.

Our noon conference curriculum focuses on appropriate, evidence-based Family Medicine material. Our program has always been known for its strong noon conference curriculum, which includes a broad selection of relevant Family Medicine related topics such as sports medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, psychiatry, ethics, and much more. Third year residents also participate at no cost in the week-long Family Practice Board Review Course that we co-host with Temple University.

Wednesday afternoon block conferences are an additional opportunity for learning. Each residency class has one half-day per month dedicated to teaching specific to its level of experience. The last Wednesday afternoon of each month is dedicated to all-residency teaching. Block conferences have included the following: cultural book discussions, neurology teaching rounds, women’s health and gynecologic procedures, and casting techniques.

I am interested in research. Are there opportunities for me?
Yes, there are numerous research opportunities, as many of our faculty are actively publishing. The research is very clinically oriented, in comparison to the basic-science research of a large academic institution. Many of our residents have co-published clinically relevant articles that stem from their day to day experiences, in addition to the formal studies that some of the faculty coordinate. Dr. Andrew Coco and Dr. Donna Cohen actively work with our Lancaster General Research Institute and provide education in this area. We are also proud of both Dr. Tom Gates (winner of AAFP article of the year) and Dr. Jeff Kirchner (winner of mid-career STFM award).

How does obstetrics fit into your curriculum?
Although all residents become proficient in OB care during their three years, not every resident practices OB once they leave. Residents who are interested in OB tend to pick up more prenatal patients over time, whereas those not interested in OB usually have a smaller number of prenatal patients. However, all residents are well-trained in obstetrics upon completion of the program. This allows them to make practice decisions during their third year. Interns spend two months on OB, second years have one month of OB (and take two additional months of OB call during their GYN and Nursery months), and third years have one OB month. Currently the RRC requires 40 continuity deliveries per resident in their 3 years.

What kind of procedures do you learn?
The program provides residents with those office skills that would allow them to perform the standard procedures in day to day practice. We are able to learn and achieve competence in skin biopsies (shave, punch, elliptical and excisional), hyfercation, suturing of lacerations, splinting and casting, sigmoidoscopy, basic colonoscopy (as an elective), and obstetrical procedures including vacuum extraction, laceration and episiotomy repair, and colposcopy.

Will I learn how to do C-sections?
The Family Practice faculty includes six obstetricians, who are exclusively dedicated to teaching us and consulting on our patients. All are very interested in teaching the residents how to do C-sections. For residents who show surgical interest, the obstetricians are willing to teach during a C-section, in order to allow residents to become more proficient. For residents who express less interest, you will still gain enough knowledge to first assist with C-sections.

Will the residency help my significant other find employment?
Yes. Many of our spouses have gotten jobs locally through various local connections. The practice management rotation also dedicated significant time to ensure residents reach their employment goals. Our residency connections are extensive, and we are very willing to help spouses find jobs in Lancaster County!

Are meals covered?
Yes, the residents receive an amount credited to their identification badge. The amount per year is generally much more than adequate. Hospital food is also discounted to employees.

Will I be reimbursed for mileage to our rural clinic in Quarryville or other trips?
Yes, the program provides a monthly expense check for each round trip. Also, Lancaster General Health reimburses any trips to nursing homes, home visits, or sporting events at industry rates.

Do residents and faculty socialize outside of work?

Yes, this happens regularly during our "liver rounds," at the annual Super Bowl and Christmas parties, new intern picnic in June, and Graduation. As well, there are numerous informal get-togethers at both resident and faculty homes.

What are the salary and benefits for the residents?
Our annual saleries increase each year. See our Salary and Benefits page for the current information. The health insurance is very reasonable, and includes dental and ophthalmic coverage. Residents also take advantage of the Employee Service Center which offers multiple discounts to local events and services.

Do residents have a voice in decision-making?
Yes! This residency has historically been very democratic with a very responsive administration to resident needs. Dr. Ratcliffe, our program director, strongly advocates for resident issues. The hospital administration is proud of the residency program and therefore is supportive of resident initiatives. Not only do residents voice their concerns at our monthly residency meetings, but also we sit on numerous hospital-wide policy committees. Residents actively participate in new intern selection by interviewing and shaping the final rank list prior to the match. Also, our Chief Residents and Resident Coordinator are chosen based on feedback from their peers.

Are residents involved in teaching medical students?
Yes, we have 3rd and 4th year medical student rotations and electives. Interns and residents precept these students in clinic, as well as teach on inpatient services. Another very satisfying resident-teaching opportunity is a project in which university students can pair up with residents and shadow them on a weekly basis. Many residents have taken part in this resident-run program with Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. Lastly, many students who rotate here join us as future residents.

For questions or more information about the Lancaster General Family Medicine Residency Program, please contact our office.