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THE ROTATION YEARS

Every year the Department of Clinical Education at Rocky Vista University conducts a lottery to match students (upcoming 3rd years) with one of many core externship sites, listed below. This could require a relocation for 3rd year, so it is important to research and make a wise decision together with your significant other. 

We have compiled videos, stories, and advice from significant others of students in the various rotation regions RVU-SU has to offer. We're encouraged to NOT pester our students about all of the ins and outs of years 3 & 4

when they just need to be focusing on the schooling right in front of them, but as a significant other it's easy

to worry about finding housing & jobs, and what the implications of a move (or the lack thereof) for your relationship and family! So here's the place where you can dive in and learn some things for yourself! 

 

Of course, you can always use the Facebook Main group, Facebook Rotations group and other social media resources to ask questions and seek advice, but we felt this information needed a more permanent home on our website.

Region Map

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Opinions & Experiences from Past MSP Members

 
 
 
 
Cache Valley, UT
Centers around Logan and Tremonton.

Are you a Significant Other who did a 3rd year rotation here? Do you know a Significant Other who spent their region rotations here? Reach out to us! We would love to put your experience here to share with others!

Weber, UT
Centers around Ogden. Region may also include Layton.

Katie Harris (Class of 2023)

  

  • We found a place in Layton, and we’ve enjoyed it. We are on rotation #3 and so far my student’s commutes have been 15 min. Which is amazing! He’s had great preceptors. It’s been a great move for our family! (Missing st George this time of year) with every move we grow closer as a family. We are now closer to dear friends and all our family which has been SUCH a blessing to have more date nights/or mom “days off” for me.

  • I think it’s been nice that there aren’t that many students in this region so my husband will never need to double up with another student. His preceptors have all been stellar!

  •  Internal Med was at SL Regional, and my student rotated with the FM residents from the U - this was pretty much a Sub-I.

  • We loved St George, but we felt God needed us elsewhere and I’m really glad we followed through with that feeling. So if you have an inkling to rank somewhere “random,” definitely trust it!

Capital, UT
Centers around Salt Lake City, West Jordan, Millcreek.  Region may also include: Sandy, Murray, West Valley, and Draper.

Are you a Significant Other who did a 3rd year rotation here? Do you know a Significant Other who spent their region rotations here? Reach out to us! We would love to put your experience here to share with others!

Uintah Basin, UT
Centers around Vernal. 

Raqual Coburn (Class of 2024)

  

  • The housing is cheaper, we save over $400 a month compared to St. George (We previously lived in a Blackhawk townhome in Santa Clara). The Med Students get free food at the hospital. We had frequent dinners with physicians at their homes for med students and families. Most of the rotations are within 5 mins. Students shadow quite a few DO physicians. Students get to first assist on surgery.

  • Many “Small Town” events like fairs, markets, and festivals throughout the whole year. Shopping is a good range; Walmart, Smiths, Tj Maxx, Ulta beauty, lots of Hardware Stores. Only 3 hours to SLC and there is a shuttle to the airport from Vernal. Outdoor activities comparable to Southern Utah. Dinoland is a must see, Flaming Gorge is beautiful, so many hikes, trails, lakes and rivers to explore. 

  • Cons for us this year: There was no psych rotation, not the best surgery variety (only an OBGYN and orthopedic for surgery), not many specialists, and not many employment opportunities if you’re looking for a job.

 

Sara Lofthouse (Class of 2023) 

 

  • I’m in Vernal and it has been a good place to live. I would recommend it! I'm not a big shopper and I like rural areas. So it depends what you want to meet your needs.

  • I was a little terrified to live in an apartment setting, but it has been good for my family. My husband has liked his rotations. There are hikes and state and national parks, library, and community rec center.. My complaint is that our carpet sucks and family is a few hours away.

Utah Valley, UT
Centers around Provo.  Region sites may also include: Orem, Payson, Mapleton, American Fork, Heber City, and Mt Pleasant.

Debryn Light (Class of 2024)

  

  • Utah Valley is where I grew up, so my experience may be different than that of others. We had initially wanted to stay in St. George for rotations, but because of some changes in family circumstances in November last year, we felt that going to Utah Valley would be better, so we ranked Utah Valley as number one and Southern Utah as number two. Also, the students in the class before my husband had trouble getting rotations in the Southern Utah region, so we knew a lot of students that would have to travel to Utah Valley for multiple rotations. I don't think that has been the case this year, but it definitely influenced our decision - I didn't want to be alone in Southern Utah with our kids when we could just be up north with my husband and my family. 

  • Something important to consider is what kind of specialty your spouse is interested in. Of course, third year is the time where your student gets to finally experience the different specialties and decide what they are interested in, but if your spouse is interested in doing something that is traditionally more competitive, it might be good to be aware of the rotations available in those specialties in the different regions. My husband has interest in plastic surgery, so we wanted to go to Utah Valley because we knew there would be opportunities for him to rotate with a plastic surgeon. So do what you can to be aware of specialty opportunities in the various rotation sites if your spouse is interested in something that isn't a core rotation. 

  • We live in Vineyard and we are close to SO many things! There are multiple rec centers, libraries, grocery stores, restaurants, an Asian market, parks, Thanksgiving Point, etc. We also bought a family pass to the local climbing gym (The Quarry) for these winter months because we spent a lot of our free time in St. George rock climbing, but the weather here just isn't the same, but the cost is reasonable and it's a better fit for us than other winter activities. We live close enough to walk to some of the clinics my husband has rotated at. It's made it easy for us to do lunches together, which has been so nice! I feel like there is no shortage of things to do whether your family consists of a couple or if you have children. 

 

Richelle Warr (Class of 2023)

 

  • It was not our first choice, but it has worked out really well. We are living in Pleasant Grove and love it. So far most of the rotations have been close about 20 min drive. He will have to go to Payson for Peds, so that's a bit of a commute. But Surgery 1 & 2 were literally walking distance from our home -- so it balances out. The preceptors my student has worked with so far have been amazing. There are a lot more shopping/recreation options than St. George. There are also a lot more school-aged kids in our neighborhood here, which has been great for our daughter. We are also closer to family, which is nice.So far, we've had a great experience and I would wholeheartedly recommend it. (It's only been a few months, though.) I'm from Salt Lake, and it will probably always be home to me. So, I still kinda wish that had worked out. But we're close enough that it's easy to visit. And really, that's more about me than the rotation spot.

Rachel Doyle (Class of 2022)

 

  • Likes: For us, a huge plus was proximity to family. Fourth year is wicked expensive, because away rotations and residency applications cost an arm and a leg. We’re blessed to be able to live with family, which has been a huge help financially. There are also a wide variety of preceptors in our area, which means that The Student has had a really diverse experience, and a lot of exposure to clinic and hospital settings. Because it’s a more population-dense area, he’s been able to easily rotate with preceptors in his specific field of interest.

  • Dislikes: It’s not St George, haha. We miss the red rock! But besides that, the traffic up here isn’t great, and the Utah Valley region is large: I believe the boundaries are Murray all the way to Payson. We live in South Jordan, so when he has rotations in Provo/Springville and further, the commute takes a while.

  • I do really recommend the region. Like I said, there’s a lot of preceptors here willing to take on students, so filling his schedule isn’t hard. If your student is interested in a field that is a little more specialized, a populated area is going to provide more learning opportunities. My husband, for example, is going into PM&R/Sports Med, and he’s been able to do elective rotations with several physicians in that specialty.

  • St George was our top choice, and we’re sad we didn’t get to stay, but the pros of the Utah Valley region’s education outweigh the geographical pros of Southern Utah.

 
Price, UT
Centers around Price. Region site may also include: Castle Dale. 
 

Katie Allan (Class of 2024)

  

  • We ranked Price as our #1 choice. We had never visited the area prior to lottery day and we have no family in Utah, meaning our only experience of Utah was St. George/ Ivins during our first two years of medical school. I don’t know anyone from RVU who has been “sent” to Price that hasn’t loved it within a month of being here. I’ve had many friends cry for weeks prior to moving here. 4-5 weeks in they are loving life, laughing and full of joy. I could see it being our forever home.

  • All the RVU medical students in the area were invited to the ER doctor (clinical site director’s) house for a backyard BBQ. Dr. Engar and his family provided the main meal and we brought something to share. All the kids, both student and attending doctor’s, played all over their house. The medical students got the chance to talk to other attending doctors in the area, and we medical school wives felt like we were one with the attending doctor wives that were there.

  • There is little to no commute. The longest commute was 20 minutes, and that was for ONE month. Usually it is a 5-10 minute commute. They are NEVER sent out of region. 

  • There is stability between specialities. Every student doctor rotates with the same attending doctors for each specialty (family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, etc) so you have an idea of the hours/ schedule to expect based on other’s experiences.

  • Surgery: You get to experience both general and orthopedic surgery. Their schedules are both great - a little variable depending on the specific weekly surgery schedule, but nothing like I’ve heard other region hours being - it is rare to ever be called in during the evenings or weekends.

  • Side note: Physicians here take vacations often. You’re almost guaranteed to have at least one week off during the school year because your preceptor is on vacation. If you want to work with another physician during that time, they’re more than happy to facilitate that. Say you’re interested in anesthesiology, pathology, ENT, etc. They also recognize the importance of family time and study time and are happy to give you that week off.

  • We have all the major grocery stores (Walmart, Smith’s, Lin’s), hardware stores, and the cutest boutiques on Main Street. An easy day trip away for other stores- Spanish Fork is 60 minutes away, Provo is 1.5 hours away, and Salt Lake City is 2 hours away. 

  • There are so many activities for kids of all ages to get involved in - sports, music class (you have to sign up for “Let’s Play Music” if you have a kid between the ages of 1-7 years old), dance, preschool, etc.

  • I have had WAY MORE time with my husband during 3rd year than we had with him for the first two years of medical school COMBINED. We love it here, I wish we didn’t have to move for residency, and I hope we’ll be back some day! If anyone has any questions about the area, please reach out to me!

 

Hope Steele (Class of 2024)

 

  • Though we ranked Price 5th, we were assigned here. To be fully transparent, I cried, a lot, for no other reason than it wasn't what we thought we wanted. Knowing what I know now if I could do it over again, I would rank Price as number one. Here has been my personal experience:

  • Clinical Rotations - preceptors have been incredible. We've been invited over for dinners and parties and have felt like one of them rather than merely a student.

  • Schedules - as a family with kids, we have had more family time living in Price the past few months than we did during the first and second years of medical school combined. His furthest commute was half an hour away, for one rotation. Everything is close.

  • City Life - Price is a small town with limited options compared to bigger cities. The town puts on plenty of social events to keep busy. There is a wave pool (open year-round), sports teams (for kids and adults), and lots of great hole-in-the-wall food joints.

  • The people - you won't find down-to-earth, kind hearted, and sincerely giving people anywhere else. We've made some lifelong friends here.

  • Shopping - shopping is limited - so you'll save money here or you'll spend more online; your call. There is a Walmart, a handful of restaurants, and basic needs shops (hardware stores, mechanic shops, etc.) Costco is a little over an hour away but is near tons of shopping centers if you need it.

  • Overall cost of living - relatively low compared to other cities. However, due to the current housing market, rent is an average price, in my opinion.

 

Emily Poulson (Class of 2022)

 

  • We loveeeee it here. It’s a small town, but everything you could ever need is an hour away. We live in a little town called Spring Glen which is about 10 minutes outside of Price and it’s super cute.

  • I will say however finding housing here is hard. There’s not many options for renting. We actually bought our house (which def has it’s own pros and cons list) but it’s worked out well.

  • It’s SO good for the students. The doctors here are so excited about having them and are genuinely excited about teaching them. Lots of hands-on experience. They’re so nice to families too. Our basement flooded right before my husband left for an audition rotation and the doctor Austin was working with before he left, made sure that I had his number and not to hesitate to call if I needed anything.

  • I cried for days before and after we moved, but it’s such a good place and it’s SO good for students. I will be very sad when we have to leave and we’re hoping to someday come back!

 
Southern Utah, UT
Centers around St George, Cedar City, and Mesquite Nevada.  Region site may also include: Hurricane.

Michelle Hall (Class of 2024)

  

  • I’ve loved staying in St George for rotations. It was nice to be able to not add the extra expense to moving again & have some stability in where we live.

  • The rotations have been awesome for my husband and it is nice to not have to deal with traffic. Cedar and Mesquite are part of the region, but the drive isn’t bad for my husband. I’ve had to go to Northern Utah for PEDS and will have to go again for OBGYN, but for us, it’s been a fun time with family to do that. 

  • I have a great support system in Southern Utah- so I think my greatest advice is to go where you feel like you can have the greatest support for you and your fam!

 

Selina Hoffman (Class of 2024)

 

  • Likes: We didn’t have to move! We hate moving, so that was a big plus for us. When they had to do week long things at the school for some of the rotations (family med, and surgery are the two I can remember that had a week of classes), we didn’t have to come back to the school, since we were already here. And I personally loved that I could still be really involved in MSP stuff! 

  • Dislikes: Your student is most likely to have to do out of region rotations (like most other regions), as well as have to do locations that feel like they should be out of region, but aren’t. My husband did a rotation in Provo, another in Vernal, as well as two in Mesquite (which wasn’t too bad of a drive), and two in Cedar City (which was an hour drive, so lots of gas). The rest were in St George.


Katie Unger (Class of 2023)

 

  • We love it!! We like that we get to stay in the RVU community, and we love how family friendly St. George is. There is so much to do out here for the whole family. I would say the only disadvantage is sometimes we still do have to travel a little bit. So far our furthest has been Mesquite. We will be going to Payson in December. Josh has loved every preceptor he’s had. One of his internal med rotations was 10 days on, 10 days off! So it was really fun to have him home so much! His preceptors have all been so great and he’s had great experience. From my perspective it’s been so fun not having to worry about moving somewhere else, and I still have my friends up here!

Chalyse Christensen (Class of 2023)

  • We're in Southern Utah!

  • Likes: Didn't have to move! It was ultimately a big money saver for us to stay here. We had our hearts set on going back to Utah County (where we're both from to be near family) but last minute changed our minds to try to stay. We are so glad! It's been the right choice for our family. A big part of that was schooling for our kids (free preschool in our area and my oldest got to stay at her same school). The other bonus is being near campus for the couple weeks of training they're required to be here (surgery week and family med week).

  • Dislikes: Like Katie said the region is huge! Cedar City to Mesquite. So sometimes there's a lot of driving involved. For us though Joe hasn't had to leave St George. Totally luck of the draw! They did tell us during lottery time that if you choose a big region, it is likely you'll be rotated out once or twice. So that should be a consideration!

  • I definitely would recommend staying! But I think you'll be happy wherever. All the regions seem to be so great in different ways. And bonus! This year seems a little less crazy with scheduling... So hopefully that continues to get better for your guys' class.

 
Blackfoot, ID
Centers around Blackfoot, Idaho. (In between Pocatello and Idaho Falls)

Anya Cox (Class of 2024)

  

  • We love our rotation region. We live 15 minutes outside Blackfoot in a super small city called Firth. The community has made our experience living here so much better than we expected. The people are so kind here and the whole community is pretty involved with fun activities.

  • Each rotation has been hands on for my student and has had one on one time with each preceptor. He has been able to learn so much from each one of them.

Nicole Stevenson (Class of 2023)

  

  • Blackfoot is an awesome balance of Rural and city. We had the opportunity to live in duplex in the country, but still only be 7 minutes away from the hospital.

  • My Spouse had a pretty consistent work schedule (OB rotation being the exception) and still found time to study, spent time with family, and enjoy his hobbies. He had a diverse pool of patients throughout his rotations and enjoyed all of his Preceptors.

  • We had a hot summer full of swimming, and a chilly winter with LOTS of snow. There were lots of local activities to enjoy with kids, and with Pocatello to the south and Idaho Falls to the north, there were lots of options for entertainment and date nights. We loved the culture of a close knit community and the slower pace of small town life.

 

 
Evanston, WY
Centers around Evanston, Wyoming. (1 hour from Salt Lake City)

Harlee Maxwell (Class of 2024)

  

  • We had a really unique situation during 3rd year. My in-laws had just moved an hour away from Evanston and happened to have a need for renters in their garage apartment. With a toddler and a new baby on the way we decided to do it! My husband had to drive everyday, but he didn’t mind too much. 

  • He had an amazing experience in his psych rotation, it is rumored to be the best one offered from RVU. Evanston currently does not offer all rotations (as of 2022), so some of them will be out of region. Luckily it is very close to both Weber and Capital. My husband hasn’t had to travel farther than an hour. Like others have said, we have spent more time together this year than the past 2 combined. 

  • It is so nice being able to have a schedule, even though it does change every month. The clinical coordinator is AMAZING for this region. We love her so much. She is so kind and willing to work with your student and situation where she can. 

  • We ranked Evanston as 5th, not expecting to get it at all! There are only 3 students here this year. I have learned that you really can make the best of wherever you end up!

 

Ashley Thomas (Class of 2024)

  

  • We placed Evanston as our 4th pick because my husband wanted to do more rural medicine, but we didn’t think we would get Evanston… I tried really hard to have a positive attitude going into it and feel like I made the best out of the situation we were in, even though this was one of the last places I wanted to be in for rotations.

  • Evanston is very small, but I’ve felt really safe here and everyone is so kind and welcoming. On the plus side, housing is a lot cheaper in the area BUT was very hard to find because they control their market here and what goes on the market, so they don’t have many openings and when they do, they go FAST. I would recommend contacting reality companies or going onto Evanston Rentals FB page.

  • My husband has enjoyed this area overall. The doctors he's worked with have all been very kind, helpful, and knowledgeable and have let my husband be super hands-on. His rotations have been super laid back and at times can be slow, especially since they outsource all their “serious” cases to the SLC area because they have better resources.

  • My husband is the only student with his preceptor, whereas in some areas doctors have multiple students with them. He loves being one-on-one with the doctors. The only downside is that they don’t have all their rotations here and your student might have to travel for a few of them. My husband will be out of Evanston traveling for the next few rotations over the next few winter months.

  • Shopping and stores are very limited in the area, but Park City is just a 45-minute drive away!

  • The adjustment for me was very hard considering the fact we were one of the only RVU families sent to the area, so it felt kind of lonely since most other 3rd year RVU families had other students and their families to rely on as a support system in their area. I recommend getting involved in the community and what it offers. Having a schedule and getting involved immediately made all the difference for me.

  • Evanston has an amazing Rec Center with all the amenities you can think of. They have an indoor gym, shooting range, indoor swimming pool and hot tub, indoor basketball courts and pickleball court, indoor running track, and they even offer childcare in the mornings which I used every day! They also have lots of activities and sports for kids to get involved in and my daughter loved that! The community Rec center is where we spend most of our time! I'm going to be honest, Evanston still hasn’t been my favorite place, however, being involved in the community and getting out of my comfort zone here has made all the difference. I can say I made the best out of this situation and got involved in everything I could and have no regrets about that!

 
Showlow, AZ
Centers around Show Low, Arizona. (Near the White Mountains, with Native American Heritage.)

Sage Bell (Class of 2024) 

  

  • Show Low is a hidden gem in the RVU rotation lottery. Show Low is located in the white mountains of Arizona, surrounded by pine trees and lakes. There are lots of hiking trails, a ski resort one hour away, and plenty of outdoor recreation options. We have loved the community. Everyone has been kind and welcoming. 

  • There are two Walmarts in the span of 30 minutes, along with a lot of chain fast food places, and great mom/pop restaurants. There are not a lot of shopping places, but you are 3 hours from the 5th largest city in the United States (Phoenix) so if you’re willing to drive or make a weekend out of it, you can find whatever you are looking for. 

  • As for the medical side of the rotation, my student is really happy. The doctors are phenomenal and treat him more like an intern. For most rotations he is the only student assigned to a doctor, so he gets a lot of hands-on opportunities. As a student he gets all of his meals for free from the hospital and parks in physician parking. He also has a dedicated student coordinator hired by the hospital. Any issues are fixed quickly, she is constantly improving the rotation for the students, and she is really involved in their lives. She knows me by name, not just my student, and takes the time to check up on us. 

  • I know this is not always a universal experience of 3rd year so we see this as a real plus for the area. The students and spouses/partners were invited to an event hosted by the hospital at a state park this summer. They do a great job of making you feel welcomed. 

  • Overall we have enjoyed our time here, so much that we are considering staying for fourth year, and potentially even returning after residency. 

  • If you are assigned to Show Low and are struggling to find housing (there’s a lot of expensive cabins rented in the area, so a google search won’t be much help), have your student reach out to the student coordinator hired by Summit Healthcare. She helped guide us to places we could afford. Feel free to message me with any questions about Show Low or my experience here as well.

Christa Cobo (Class of 2023)

 

  • Student likes it, housing was not too hard to find, small-ish hospital where you basically get treated more like an intern than a Med student. No residents to compete with, doc only has 1 student most of the time. I am living in Phoenix near family and working full time as an RN so we go up there or he comes down on weekends (3 hr drive). This has been the hardest part but we FaceTime a LOT. I recommend it just because his experience has been SO great!

Devonee Christensen (Class of 2022)

  • We don't live there anymore due to my husband being able to schedule all of his 4th year rotations in Rexburg, ID instead. We really liked living in Show Low even with the pandemic in full swing. People are friendly and helpful and the surrounding area has so much to do like hiking and being outdoors. I will say that the Walmart there stunk and it would be better to go to the Taylor one a half hour away. Also, if you like a small town feel this is definitely the place. We stayed in Show Low for every rotation except psych where my husband arranged it to be in my hometown so we could visit my parents. My husband has liked the majority of his preceptors. A big hardship that you can run into is housing. There were only two apartment options when we looked in April and we had to sign immediately after looking but it was worth it because it was a steal. I also was a brand new mom right after we got here so as far as doing a whole bunch of stuff here... well, I didn't get much time. 

Colorado Campus Regions as of 2023
You do have the option to try and trade with someone on the Colorado Campus, if you wish. Just keep in mind, sometimes your student has to report back to the Utah Campus for things. 

Colorado Regions are:

  

  • Colorado Springs, CO

  • Denver Metro, CO

  • Grand Junction, CO

  • Greeley, CO

  • North Denver, CO

  • Pueblo, CO

  • Rapid City, SD

  • Cheyenne, WY

  • Laramie, WY

  • Rock Springs, WY

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