UNECOM Students

Welcome to UNECOM’s clinical campus at Maine-Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency (MDFMR). Our outstanding educational curriculum has been designed to expose you to many areas of medicine and offer the effective feedback that is conducive to building skills in each domain of medical competency.

Highlights of the curriculum:

  • Exposure to osteopathic manipulative medicine occurs through direct patient care with DO faculty and through didactic instruction.
  • Access to noon conferences, morning and bedside rounds, weekly hospital Grand Rounds, monthly Hospitalist University lectures, and other didactics covering a wide range of topics within the core disciplines.
  • A weekly afternoon session dedicated to medical student and resident education. Lectures are augmented by procedural and clinical skills training such as suturing, lumbar puncture, punch biopsy, and splinting.
  • A demanding internal medicine clerkship during which students work alongside family medicine residents and attendings on our inpatient service to evaluate patients, present an assessment and plan, and write orders. The rotation includes exposure to oncology, cardiology, pulmonology, radiology, and inter-professional education with Husson pharmacy students.
  • A psychiatric rotation that capitalizes on MDFMR’s geographic proximity to one of the state’s psychiatric hospitals. Diagnosis of psychiatric illness and substance abuse, inpatient and outpatient management, psychotropic medication management, cognitive behavioral therapy, and electroconvulsive shock treatment (ECT) are all addressed during this intensive experience.
  • A core family medicine rotation which features dedicated preceptors, shadowing opportunities, and scheduled appointments with patients.
  • A surgery rotation that offers opportunities to participate in general surgery and specialty surgeries such as orthopedic, gynecologic, or vascular, as well as exposure to advanced robotics systems used in surgical practice.
  • An OB-GYN rotation during which students follow patients in labor & delivery, attend cesarean sections, and see office patients with an attending. The block includes high-risk OB rounds, lactation rounds, and exposure to fetal ultrasound and gynecological procedures.
  • A pediatric rotation which combines outpatient pediatric care with time allotted to the pediatric hospitalist service. In the summer months students on this rotation might participate in “sick call” at a local summer camp.

Additional information is included in the FAQs below. UNECOM students assigned to our core clinical campus will receive detailed information and will attend a two-day orientation session prior to beginning rotations.

Is there student housing available?


What living situations and housing options are available to students?

Students primarily find housing near the Augusta area (Augusta, Hallowell, Gardiner, Waterville, Freeport, etc.). We do have landlords who regularly rent out to students and residents. Typically around April/May our student coordinator will start sharing information about available rentals with the incoming class of core clinical students as it is received.

What are your strengths and weaknesses as a clinical training site?

Our strengths lie in a hospital wide expectation of healthcare personnel to participate in education and to provide an environment that is open to curiosity and development. Supervising physicians are interested and open to working with and mentoring medical students. Additionally we have integrated medical students into our family medicine residency didactic curriculum to offer further exposure during the core 3rd year rotations.

Our primary weakness is based on services that are not available at MaineGeneral: we do not have a pediatric ICU or a neonatal ICU. We care for newborns +34wks in both an intensive nursery setting and on labor and delivery, but those requiring an increased level of care would be transported to Portland or Bangor.

Though students of the same clinical campus are separated on different tracks, how connected are we able to stay with each other (through academics, other extracurricular opportunities, etc.)?

We have didactics every Tuesday afternoon that all students and family medicine residents attend. We convene group check-ins to gather everyone together to find out how rotations are going and facilitate sharing of tips and tricks. We plan a wellness afternoon or two (depending on the didactic schedule) for the group to hang out and decompress. We also schedule an end of year activity selected by class vote (ex: Class of 2023 went on a seal watching cruise, and the Class of 2024 went lobster fishing).

What do students at your clinical site usually struggle with?

The transition from classroom to clinical is tough on everyone. The first block can be overwhelming in terms of adjusting to a new routine; however, there are MANY options for support and advice to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Is there opportunity to shadow/help in fields other than my assigned rotation?

YES! We encourage you to explore during your third year! We will ask what interests you have and will adjust your schedule to allow for maximum exposure to said interests.

How does your campus support students in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)?

As an organization, MDFMR deeply values diversity, equity, and inclusion. The family medicine residency emphasizes continued education for faculty, residents, and students around DEI in order to continue to improve in this area. We consistently ask for DEI-related feedback after didactic education on core clinical topics. We have an anonymous electronic form (the Pulse Check) for anyone in our community, including students, to use to report harms so that they may be monitored and addressed.  Additionally, we have pronoun stickers available for nametags (if your pronoun is not available please let us know and it will be ordered). We recognize that there is still much work to be done to build a diverse physician workforce, and we are open to any feedback or suggestions you have about improving our support of diverse learners.

What is the patient demographic of the site/region?

Based on 2022 census population estimates for Kennebec County:

  • 21.5% are age 65 years or over, 18.7% are under 18, and 4.6% are under 5
  • 95.3 % identify as White, 1.0% identify as Asian, 0.9% identify as Black or African American, 0.6% identify as American Indian/ Alaskan Native, 2% identify as Hispanic or Latino, and 2.0% identify as two or more races.
How many off-site blocks are there at your site?

All blocks are on-site at either MaineGeneral’s Alfond Center for Health (ACH) or our outpatient clinics in Augusta/Waterville.

Who do medical students work with most of the time, residents or attendings?

Residents play a key role in the education of students. Our residents also have a very strong presence at the hospital; however, there will always be a faculty attending present as well. On their family medicine rotation, students split their time between faculty and residents.

Are there other students at the site and if so, from what other schools?

We host 4th year students completing their SUB-I and various elective rotations from schools all over the country and even some international. We generally have a couple of core third year students each year from Dartmouth and Tufts  who complete their family medicine rotation with us.

What is the ratio of students to supervising physicians?

There is never more than one student scheduled per supervising resident or faculty attending.

What are some ways I can prepare now to be successful for third-year clinical rotations?

Once sites are selected in Jan/Feb, creating stability outside of the clinical environment is key, as it is throughout your medical training.  You might consider reaching out to rising 3rd and 4th years for recommendations around housing/ living situations as well as resources and study tools.

How many emergency room beds does your hospital have?

MaineGeneral Medical Center has two emergency departments, one at the Thayer Center for Health in Waterville, and one at the Alfond Center for Health in Augusta. UNECOM students are primarily based in Augusta and so are typically assigned to that emergency department. It has 26 exam rooms, including two trauma rooms and four dedicated psychiatric rooms. Additional care areas include hallway beds and four triage rooms.

How are medical students integrated into the care team at your site? Does it vary by specialty?

This varies heavily based on practice location and specialty. Students will at times be in a shadowing role, observing attendings during patient encounters or procedures. They may also be the primary history taker and complete exams and procedures in conjunction with attendings or residents, or may even present the patient case to the entire care team.  When possible, students will be asked to document within the EHR, facilitate consults with specialists, research unusual presentations or treatment options, and participate in literature review projects to help inform or update the entire care team.

What does the didactic curriculum look like at your site? Are medical students allowed to participate in Grand Rounds, M&M conferences, etc.?

Tuesday afternoons are set aside for group didactics with our family medicine residents, with some sessions dedicated to medical students only. Group didactics generally focus on inpatient care, obstetrical care, OMM, and chronic condition topics. The dedicated medical student sessions are driven by student interest and often feature specialists as lecturers. We also offer suture/procedure courses as schedules allow. Hospital Grand Rounds are held every Thursday in the noon hour; students are welcome and encouraged to attend. At the end of the year our students present clinical cases at Grand Rounds. We also hold an annual scholarly activity symposium, and students participate in the poster display portion of the event. There are other opportunities to attend lectures and conferences  throughout the year that students might also participate in, depending on their rotation schedule.

How long have you had a partnership with UNECOM?

We signed an affiliation agreement with UNE’s medical school in 1994.

Are there research opportunities available on your campus?

Students are expected to participate in clinical case presentations at Hospital Grand Rounds and create a case-based poster for display at  Maine-Dartmouth’s annual scholarly symposium.  Within our family medicine residency, there are periodically additional projects that would benefit from student participation – please speak with our pre-doctoral education director if you are interested in research opportunities.

What do past students report enjoying the most about their clinical rotations at your site?

Students really enjoy being part of the care team, having an opportunity to weigh in on a care plan for a patient, and being able to apply the knowledge they learned during their first two years of medical training. Students do play a vital role on the healthcare team at our site, and their input is greatly valued.

During my surgical rotation, is there an opportunity to rotate with surgical subspecialties I am interested in?

Yes. Please make the pre-doctoral education director or clerkship director aware of your surgical subspecialty interests so we can see what opportunities may be available during your surgery rotation.

Is there the opportunity to do an emergency medicine elective rotation at the site during third year? How busy is your emergency department?

Yes. During your IM rotations you will have 2 weeks each (4 weeks in total) to explore a subspecialty of your choice. The emergency room is perpetually busy, similar to most in the state.

How much hands-on experience will I have? Do medical students perform independent physical exams and procedures?

Yes to both. Procedures can be harder to obtain if working with the residency services (family medicine or inpatient). However, students are encouraged to follow their patients to the OR or endoscopy, or participate in bedside procedures with specialists consulting on patients.

Can you please tell me about your surgical rotations and how frequently students get to participate in the OR?

The surgical rotation includes general/trauma surgery and vascular surgery components. Students are assigned a minimum of 2 days per week in the OR, but more can be obtained based on discussion with the clerkship director.  Additional time is spent in surgery clinic or rounding on pre/post op patients or completing consults with the service in the ED or on the floors.  Additionally, suturing clinics are supported by the surgical PAs to facilitate skills while in the OR clinic.

What do students do in the area during their free time?

There are MANY hiking/biking trails to explore and several lakes/ponds for swimming or fishing. Beaches are only about an hour away, and there are plenty of great restaurants, movie theatres, bowling alleys, and shopping malls (i.e., Maine Mall) to visit. There is also the Old Port in Portland as well as lighthouses, the river walk in Augusta, etc. to explore.

What is life like outside of the hospital?

This is highly variable based on where you choose to live. Some students commute from Portland or Freeport/Brunswick area and therefore life is similar to your current experience in first and second year.

Does the clinical campus have a gym that I can use, or are there outdoor activities nearby?

There are nice walking trails around the hospital itself, and small exercise equipment is available for use in the on-call room. There are also gyms within the local community that students can join. There are numerous trails for hiking/biking in the area, as well as state and national parks within a reasonable driving distance.

What makes your site unique?

UNECOM has had a longstanding relationship with Maine-Dartmouth and MaineGeneral. There are other students who rotate with us, but UNE students are the core medical student group in the hospital.  This has generated a strong investment by both the family medicine residency and the hospital  in the progress and success of students.

Can I explore integrative medicine at your clinical campus? Or practice osteopathic manipulation? If so, how much time do students typically spend practicing OMM?

Osteopathic principles and practice is woven into family medicine student rotations, and once a month Tuesday afternoon didactics are focused on osteopathy. Students work with residents and faculty who incorporate OMM into their patient care on a regular basis; hands-on OMM time varies based on patient care needs. We also have faculty trained in integrative medicine approaches who are always eager to work with students. Please express your interest in integrative medicine to our student coordinator.

Does the site have residents? And if so, on which rotations will I have exposure to residents? Does rotating at your clinical campus make it more likely to get residency placement there?

Students will work with our family medicine residents during their outpatient family medicine rotations as well as their internal medicine rotations on our inpatient service. Rotating with us provides students an opportunity to thoroughly explore our program and get to know our current residents and faculty. Please feel free to ask them any questions you may have regarding residency while you are here.

What specialty do you find students end up going into?

The most popular specialties since 2017 have been internal medicine and family medicine.