The unique experiences offered through the Rural Family Medicine residency program located on the West Virginia University School of Medicine’s Eastern Campus provided Robin Muller, M.D., with the tools she needed to become a confident attending physician.
A 2020 graduate of the residency program, Dr. Muller now operates as a full-spectrum family medicine physician for Carris Health Clinic in Redwood Falls, Minnesota, where she provides inpatient, outpatient and obstetrics care in a 12-bed critical access hospital. Muller said that thanks to the Rural Family Medicine residency program, she was able to come into her role as an attending physician with experience practicing community-based medicine.
During residency, Muller had experience doing inpatient rotations at Jefferson Medical Center, which just like her current workplace, is also a critical access hospital. She said previously being ingrained in that type of environment helped make the transition from resident to attending go much more smoothly for her.
“An important lesson I learned during residency was how to be creative with limited resources. When it comes to practicing community-based medicine, you often won’t have the same resources and personnel available to you that you would have at larger facilities. Being prepped for those situations was really helpful to me as I started my career here in Minnesota,” Muller said.
She added that another extremely beneficial aspect of the program was the level of freedom offered to residents during training, which allowed her and her fellow residents to treat patients the way they thought would be best.
“They had so much trust in us as doctors, which allowed us to learn by doing,” Muller explained. “It was primarily up to us to determine the best treatment plan for our patients and how to best implement that plan. Of course, the attendings were always there for questions and insight and double-checking the decisions we made, but that level of freedom was really instrumental in my growth as a physician.”
Muller said the attendings also taught residents to never be afraid to try new things, approach each day and patient with constant enthusiasm, and to always keep learning. She said all of the attendings stood out in these regards, but that she was particularly inspired by Madison Humerick, M.D., an assistant professor for the Department of Family Medicine on the eastern campus.
“Dr. Humerick had recently graduated from the Rural Family Medicine program in 2017, and was a new attending when I began my residency,” Muller said. “I immediately took notice of her excitement to solve new problems and her determination to never stop learning as a physician. Now that I am an attending too, I try my best to mirror her passion every single day.”