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Jul 7, 2009 6:46 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Southampton Hospital is hosting first residencies

Jul 7, 2009 6:46 PM

For the first time in its 100-year history, Southampton Hospital has its own batch of resident physicians, 18 young doctors who recently graduated from osteopathic medical schools and will spend the next two to three years under the wings of established South Fork doctors before they are certified to strike out on their own.

In the last two years, Southampton Hospital has taken in students for four- to 12-week rotations in various medical fields to help them decide what speciality to pursue, but now the hospital is offering full-fledged residencies. Residents are licensed doctors who have earned their degrees and will spend years with the hospital in a kind of apprenticeship program.

The hospital’s residency program is different from most others in that it is specifically geared toward community medicine and primary care, rather than specialties that are more lucrative for doctors but that won’t address the East End’s shortage of primary care physicians, hospital officials said. There are three tracks the Southampton Hospital residents can set out on: internal medicine, family practice or neuromusculoskeletal medicine.

Though some residents may go on to do other things, hospital officials said the goal is for Southampton to home grow its own doctors to fill private practices on the South Fork rather than trying to recruit doctors from Manhattan and elsewhere.

The 18 residents come from a variety of backgrounds and locations, including Hawaii, and even farther afield.

Hospital President and CEO Robert Chaloner said bringing in young, enthusiastic doctors will force Southampton to stay current with medical literature and to examine its practices, because the doctors will want to know, “Why do you do things this way?” “They’re going to be challenging us,” he said.

“I think it’s going to turn out to be an awesome program,” said Dr. Kim Jackson, a University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey graduate on the resident neuromusculoskeletal track.

Dr. Jackson is ahead of most of the residents in the program because she also completed one year of residency at Mercy, a community hospital in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Just one week into the new program, she said she has decided she would like to stick around Southampton once her residency is over and start teaching young doctors herself.

The residents officially began their two- to three-year endeavors on Monday, June 29, at 6:15 in the morning. A couple days later, 15 medical students began their rotations.

“We accept students in their third and fourth year of medical school,” explained Southampton Hospital Director of Medical Education Dr. Shawn Cannon. “The first two years of medical school is book work, so you’re sitting there reading texts and taking tests. Then years three and four, you start taking care of patients.”

Students in Southampton’s medical education program get to do everything doctors do, and that is not always the case for students on rotations in bigger hospitals, according to Dr. Cannon. He said that, for instance, a large Long Island hospital might have 20 students on an obstetrics rotation at a time, and in the delivery room they have to peer over each other to see what’s going on. But at Southampton Hospital, there is only one obstetrics student at a time. “They are in there, they are delivering that baby,” he said. “I can tell you, as a third-year student at North Shore, you’re not getting near that.”

Medical students do not make any decisions regarding patients that are not double-checked. “All of their work needs to be countersigned by a licensed physician,” Dr. Cannon said.

Residents, however, do not need another doctor to sign off on their work. “They have their own shifts. They’re the ones responsible,” he said. “So, when you’re admitted to the hospital and you have pneumonia, you could be seeing a resident physician.”

The Southampton Hospital residents don’t spend all of their time in the hospital. They have also been placed at clinics and doctors’ offices from Westhampton to Montauk.

Dr. Cannon has three residents at his practice, Amagansett Primary Care. Working in an office setting will prepare them to be out in the community working once their residencies are complete, he said.

“Dr. Cannon, I think, has a really unique vision,” Dr. Jackson said. She said community medicine is falling apart in the United States, and physicians are not developing the close relationships with their patients that primary care doctors are known for.

“We have to teach people to practice medicine in the real world, and this is one of the dysfunctions of medicine,” Dr. Cannon said. “Most doctors are trained at large hospitals in New York City and taking care of patients that aren’t real-world patients.

“No one teaches them how to do things in an office,” he continued. “You spend five years in a hospital and you’re supposed to open up a private practice in East Hampton? It doesn’t work. That’s why East Hampton has so few doctors. And Southampton.”

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It is about time the docotrs around here started to treat patients as people and not $ signs, agree they work hard but you need to feel as a pt. that you are a person and not just a herd of sheep
By roundswamp (4), amagansett on Jul 9, 09 1:21 PM
If doctors were paid a decent rate by insurance companies instead of pennies maybe would be different.Better yet, if patients with false names and addresses didn't skip out on bills maybe they could could muster up some compassion. I have never been mistreated or felt as I was treated like just a number in SH Hosp. Doctors around here are excellent, we just can't get anyone to practice here cause , in case you havent noticed doctors aren't making what they used to. Roundswamp , maybe you just ...more
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Jul 9, 09 4:06 PM