Two new medical residents reach for journals provided by Providence Health Care on their first official day as doctors.

Two new medical residents reach for journals provided for them at an orientation session this morning at Spokane’s Sacred Heart Medical Center.

“Welcome to your first official day as doctors.”

That’s how Providence Health Care Eastern Washington Regional CEO Elaine Couture greeted a roomful of medical residents at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane this morning.

It’s orientation day for these new physicians, most of whom who recently received their MDs or DOs. This is the start of the required three-year (or longer for some specialties) apprenticeship programs they must complete before they can apply for their licenses to practice medicine unsupervised. New doctors work under the tutelage of seasoned physicians and more experienced residents.

Beginning in August, the Internal Medicine and Family Medicine Residency Clinics in the Fifth and Browne Medical Building will move to the new Spokane Teaching Health Clinic, financed and built by WSU on its downtown Spokane campus. The clinic will continue to provide a resource for people who are unable to get quality health care elsewhere. It will be run by a partnership of WSU Spokane, Providence Health Care and the Empire Health Foundation.

Together, those three entities won a $900,000 federal Teaching Health Center grant to create new medical residency slots. This is the third year that the internal medicine and family medicine programs have each added three new physicians and the second year that a newly-created psychiatry residency has added three psychiatrists.

When the new facility opens it will also be a teaching clinic for WSU nursing, pharmacy, and speech and hearing and, ultimately, medical students. Eastern Washington University will train physical therapy and social work students there.

We join Elaine Couture in welcoming the new residents to Spokane. We look forward to your presence on our campus and hope you’ll consider staying in the Inland Northwest to practice after your training is over.