What's New

Dr. Neal Clemenson Memorial Service

Michelle Wallace
The Great Plains Family Medicine Residency program is profoundly saddened to share that our Program Director, Dr. Neal Clemenson, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, March 1.

The Life of a Friend and Coworker Celebrated

Shonna Soria
Today we celebrate the life and service of our co-worker, Barbara Anspaugh.

Applicant Season

Dr. Jenna Geohagan, PGY 2
This time of year makes me reminisce on the excitement and accompanying stress that surrounds trying to figure out which program suits your educational, family, and overall life needs. Therefore, I wanted to highlight three of my favorite aspects of the Great Plains Family Medicine Residency Program, so applicants have a better idea of who we are as a residency program.

An Update from the Director

Neal Clemenson, MD

Integris Metro United Way Campaign - Wacky Bed Races!

Michelle Wallace
The faculty, residents, and staff at Great Plains came out to support the United Way Wacky Bed Races by entering two teams and they tied for 4th place!!

Integrated behavioral health services

Grace Wilson PhD
Nationwide, there is a movement towards collaborative medicine and integrated behavioral health services.

Home Where It Belongs...

Kelly Roberts
June 20, 2014 was a very good day...at least for the Great Plains Family Medicine Residents! The OAFP "Quiz Bowl" Trophy is now solidly at our home clinic for the 2014-15 year, thanks to Drs. Vonfeldt, Wright, Landt and Wheeler.

It's Almost Time!...

Kelly Roberts
Small changes are appearing around GPFM in anticipation of our incoming resident class.

Another Great Match!

Neal Clemenson, MD

New Year, Mid-Year

Terrence Truong, MD
After the blur of a whirlwind of a holiday schedule, GPFM physicians and staff alike reconnect with one another as we resume our work during this first full week of the new year.

Relationships and Balance: A Conversation with Dr. Riana Berry

Posted by Kelly Roberts on 06/11/2013

Riana BerrySitting down with Riana Berry, “soon-to-be-graduate” of the residency program was a pleasure.  She had just passed her National Boards exam, and was looking forward to a vacation planned with her husband…

“So, where are you two going?”

Oh, we’re going into Orlando and probably hit up the Universal Studios and the Harry Potter theme park, and we’ll spend a few days at the beach on the Gulf Coast – in the Tampa Bay area.

If you end up in some photo opportunity, I don’t know – with the sorting hat or something, please send us a capture of that moment…

Maybe some Butterbeer or something? (laughs)

Yes, Butterbeer! So, have you seen your new office yet, where you’re going?

I have…I actually went there a few weeks ago.  I toured the area and talked with the clinical director, but that was before the tornadoes touched down.  The physician whose office I was going to take over was supposed to go to the I-35 Mercy location [which was hit by a tornado on May 19th of this year], so it’s going to be three to six months before he can now move.  So, we’ll be sharing space for a while.

Well, let’s talk a little about you.  When you think back to who you were when you began and who you are now that you’ve almost completed your residency, how do you think you’ve changed?

I think when I first came in, I was fairly unsure of myself.  Just learning how to hear your name with “Doctor” attached to it, that was a huge thing.  And I remember my first rotation was the ICU, and the first time I wrote an order for something, how much power I felt I had at that moment (laughs).  And then realizing, “Man, if I don’t know how to use this power correctly, I could potentially hurt someone.”  And so, being unsure, “okay, what do I do in this situation?”…just being on call was scary.  Every time I was on call, I couldn’t sleep – I had bad heartburn, it was rough.  But now, having done so much call, I feel more sure of myself.  Those little phone calls that come in the night – those are no big deal now.  It was just gradually gaining confidence in my abilities, that I have the knowledge to do what I need to do correctly.

So the challenge you mention was just struggling to fit into those shoes, but now it sounds like the shoes are fitting just fine.

Well, I still get some blisters here and there…(both laugh)

Let’s talk about those.  Describe one or two of your rough patches.  What were some of your biggest learning moments?  Or maybe concerning moments?

Yes, maybe just learning how to deal with different types of patients.  I’ve had several types of patients over the last three years that have been frustrating or difficult to deal with, but I feel like they really taught me a lot.  I remember one woman who was going through dementia and was in an unfortunate situation, and unfortunately had some paranoid distrust of me…it made it very difficult to care for her.  But I felt like I needed to stick by her, and by her family, and try to get things sorted out for her.  Unfortunately, the patient ended up passing away – not because of anything I did, but because of all the health variables coming together.  But her family was very grateful, and her daughter/caretaker was thankful that I had stuck with her.  And I’ve had other patients that were difficult to deal with – chronic pain and stuff like that, kinda throwing me for a loop, but I feel like I’m more savvy now on how to deal with those patients.

Those are tough – the types of patients that have information they’re either not able to understand or grapple with…

And I think in this line of work, I try to approach everyone by giving them the benefit of the doubt…about how to deal with them – but, those are just things you develop with experience.  Just having that intuition like, “Okay – there’s something not quite right here, there’s something else going on…”

How about some levity?  Any funny stories you’re going to take with you from here?

Oh, I think there’s a lot of camaraderie here – our attendings are wonderful, like Dr. Truong and Dr. Owens especially, they just have kind of those fun personalities that you can joke with. And, some of the mischief Dr. Truong kind of gets us into, like noodling (laughs).  I don’t think I would have EVER gone noodling had it not been for him.

Are you going this year?

I plan on it, if the weather – and there’s no flooding…things like that.  That was actually a lot of fun last year, just being outdoors and stuff.

So, in a way – an attending who likes to have fun gives you some relief.

Absolutely, absolutely.

I think that’s one of the main reasons I came to this program – because of the wonderful faculty they have here, and I feel like, especially in this program compared with the other residency programs like OU, where I trained – the attendings are just not approachable.  Residents are scared to say anything wrong or make any misstep, but here the faculty is very open and caring and they really try to guide you and make sure that you’re doing well.

That’s a huge deal – you can’t really learn as well in a fear-based environment.


And, it’s problematic for a lot of people – even the patients.  If their doctors are scared to raise an issue, you know, then I could see that their care wouldn’t be quite as high level…How about this first year group getting ready to come in.  Do you have any words of Riana Berry wisdom to lend them?

(laughs)  “It gets better.” (laughs) Just KNOW that it gets better.  You know, they always say the intern year is your hardest year.  And it IS – your learning curve is very steep, but you gain so much knowledge, and really I think the most growth I had was in that first year.  From the first day I stepped foot in here, to the very last day of my intern year, which is like a big celebration in and of itself.  But you realize how much you change just in that short year and it goes by fast.  “It gets better.” (laughs)

So, I want to go back to this noodling thing for a minute. Did you have a specific role that you played during that event?

Well, the whole premise is that every year in Pauls Valley there is an annual noodling festival, and it’s a big deal for this part of the country. It’s really a cultural experience.  And so Dr. Truong had gotten wind of the event, and he’s very outdoorsy, he likes to explore a lot. And so he actually wanted to put together a team (laughs) and he made t-shirts…we were the “M.D.’s” which stood for “missing digits.” And we had a pharmacy student that had worked with us last year who ended up being our guide, and so a big group of us – I think I was the only girl in that group on that day…we went out to this little river that the guide knew had some catfish in the bank.  He kinda showed us the ropes, and – he checked the holes for us, and made sure there wasn’t anything dangerous…but, we just took turns trying to catch a fish.  You basically have to stick your hand into the hole, and the catfish latches on – it bites down on your hand.  They have little tiny teeth but they’re not really that sharp, and I wore gloves.  But they latch down on your hand, so you hook your finger through their gills and you have to pull them out.  It’s quite a feat (laughs).  I was able to catch one, it was small, probably five or six pounds, and so we let it go. But I mean it’s interesting, it’s interesting.  I just liked walking up and down the river and exploring – that was neat.  We saw some interesting wildlife.

See any snakes?

Oh yeah, we saw two cottonmouths.  Dr. Kraft is not fond of those…

Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share about something I didn’t question?

I really like this program.  Out of all the programs I looked at, this was definitely the most friendly and open and I feel like – there’s really…everybody looks out for each other here.  And I don’t know if you get that in other programs.  I feel like in other programs everybody’s kind of out for themselves, especially in those programs that are in academic institutions – like at OU, you’re competing with all these different residency programs for different things, and sometimes there’s a lot of belittling going on.  But here, you deal with the hospital in the real world, how specialists actually welcome you to call them, they welcome you to send them patients, they want you to bring them business.  You don’t really get that in an academic institution…and among the residents and the faculty here, there’s a lot of camaraderie, looking out for each other and making sure everyone’s doing okay.  It’s just good to take care, and be aware of what’s going on with other people – um, because you’re in it all together.  Each group is responsible for managing the in-patient side of things. And especially when you’re an intern – the intern is responsible for managing all that, and so your intern year you really have to learn how to play nice with everybody. It’s hard at times, it’s not easy – but that helps you be a better clinician in the end.  You know – knowing how to communicate with other physicians.

It sounds like you’re basically spelling out the difference between feeling isolated and feeling connected. And, uh, almost connected in a protected way. And connected in a protected way that has real-life applications.

Yes, knowing how to check out patients to each other, and make sure that you cover “the service” (family medicine service – inpatient rounding), you can get a lot of that in the first year.  And sometimes it’s difficult.  Like trying to work through conflicts with the call schedule…it’s hard being on call all the time.  There’s a lot of conflict there, and knowing how to work that out. The second and third years you are here, you get less of that – but really, during those years you start to feel a little more isolated, less connected.  I mean you still come together for noon conference, but you’re off doing your rotation, sometimes you’re away from campus for several weeks doing a certain rotation, and so you don’t feel quite as connected, like you’re missing a lot of things.  But you just have to learn how to develop the ability to talk to each other, to communicate with other physicians for the good of the patient.

It sounds like learning that inter-professional communication is huge.  Anything else you want to add?

No, not at the moment.  Something may come to me right after we finish (smiles).

Riana actually DID have something come to her after we finished.  Here are a few thoughts she sent to me today:

I thought of something else to add. I would encourage all incoming interns to really take time for themselves and make sure they take care of themselves, both physically and mentally.  For me, I tried to make sure I had time everyday to exercise.  That helped me control my stress and allowed me to have an hour to focus on something else other than work.  Plus, it helped me keep my weight and blood pressure under control, because, let's face it, residency is an unhealthy place.  As doctors in training, we spend a lot of time learning how to take care of our patient's health, but we forget about our own health.  I tried to lead my patients by example.  If I can make time in my busy schedule to exercise, so can they.  I think it helps patients relate you better if they know that you are following your own advice too.


Great advice, Riana - words to live by!

© 2008 Great Plains Family Medicine | 3500 NW 56th Street, Suite 100 • Oklahoma City, OK 73112 • 405.951.2623 [email protected]
Website designed by Back40 Design & managed by Javelin CMS