Trish Yerges
The La Grande Observer

Enticing physicians to practice medicine in Northeast Oregon has its challenges, but no one has to convince third-year OHSU medical student Nick West to return home and practice in Union County. That’s already on his radar after he earns his doctorate and finishes his residency.

West is the son of Union County Circuit Court Judge Russ West and his wife, Mary, a retired Imbler School District teacher. He was raised on the family’s cattle ranch northeast of Imbler and became a 2009 graduate of Imbler High School. He attended Oregon State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science in BioResource Research with minors in Toxicology and Chemistry.

He’s on track to earn his doctorate in 2019 after which he and his wife, Alex, plan to relocate to Klamath Falls where he wants to finish his training at OHSU Cascades East Family Medicine Residency.

Toward that end, he just completed a clinical exam at the Clinical Skills Evaluation Center in Los Angeles on March 12.

“I believe it went well, but I won’t find out until the middle of April,” he said. “This test was called Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) exam, where I had 12 standardized patients and (knowing only) their chief complaints, I went into the patient’s room, interviewed the patient and tried to figure out what is going on. Then I communicated what I was thinking.”

This is the second in a series of three CS exams West will take before he takes his board exam at the end of his residency —and that goal is fast approaching.

Currently, West is on a 6-month rotation through June with the Rural Scholars Program at the Winding Waters Clinic in Enterprise. He rotates through the emergency department as well as the outpatient and inpatient settings to gain a broad scope of healthcare experiences.

“I’m happy to be out here in Enterprise because now I can have first-hand experience without having several residents and fellows in front of me before I get to interact with the patient,” he said.

See complete story in Monday's Observer