Medical residents train in Mid-Shore emergency departments

Dr. Walter Atha, of University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, poses for a photo with Dr. Jennifer Nichols, at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton’s Emergency Department. Nichols is participating in a residency program at the hospital.

EASTON — University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton has passed another milestone in its transition to a Community Academic Medical Center, said Dr. William Huffner, senior vice president of Medical Affairs and chief medical officer at UM Shore Regional Health, in a news release.

In collaboration with the UM School of Medicine and Department of Emergency Medicine and with funding from UM Memorial Hospital Foundation, UM Shore Regional Health has inaugurated a rotation for emergency medicine residents in their second or third year of training to gain experience in rural community emergency medicine.

The program, through which medical residents work in the UM Shore Medical Center at Easton Emergency Department and UM Shore Emergency Center at Queenstown for four weeks, was inaugurated in August.

“So far, we’ve had five residents training with our emergency physicians and care teams,” Huffner said. “They are getting a real taste of rural emergency medicine that offers a lot of direct experience with patients — and while they are here, they get a feel for our community and the quality of life that our five-county region has to offer.

“This supports our efforts in recruiting emergency medicine physicians to our hospitals in the same way that our physician assistant education program, offered in collaboration with Anne Arundel Community College and University of Maryland at Baltimore, has helped us recruit several physician assistants after they completed their P.A. clinical studies with us,” Huffner said.

The UM Shore Regional Health emergency care teams — including physicians, physician assistants and nurses — are seeing immediate benefits, the release states.

“When you have residents on site, you are teaching, and when you are teaching, there is more discussion on clinical issues that can include everyone on the care team,” said Walter Atha, regional director, Emergency Medicine for UM Shore Regional Health. “As a result, the whole team is learning, getting different perspectives on the best strategies for managing emergency care processes and providing optimal care for each patient. And all of us in the department appreciate the opportunity to show residents — who are at the beginning of their medical careers — what our health care system and our communities have to offer.”

Jennifer Nichols, a graduate of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University and second year resident with University of Maryland Medical System, recently completed the first of two, two-week stints working in emergency care at UM Shore Regional Health. She also has completed rotations in intensive care, pediatrics and trauma at other UMMS medical centers.

“This rotation offers a unique exposure to community medicine and therefore is an invaluable experience,” Nichols said in the release. “Academic and community hospitals operate very differently, and because we may end up practicing in either setting after residency, it is important that we train in both.”

Brian Browne, chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at UM School of Medicine and physician in chief of Statewide Emergency Medicine Services, was involved in the establishment of the residency program at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton, working with Huffner, Atha and UM Shore Regional Health Emergency Department directors Glenn Hebel, Eric Maniago, Jane Wang and Steven White.

“Offering this residency program expands the types of experiences as well as setting in which our residents can train,” Brown said. “It also further integrates Shore Regional Health with the University of Maryland Medical System, University of Maryland Medical Center and the UM School of Medicine.”

UM Memorial Hospital Foundation has played a key role in bring the residency program to life, said Graham Lee, vice president of philanthropy at UM Shore Regional Health.

“The board recognized this as an important opportunity for our emergency care team to participate in the training of future emergency physicians,” Lee said. “As a result, the foundation board voted to fund the program for three years. We are happy to provide the resources needed to expose physicians in training to the challenges and rewards of emergency care in a rural setting.”

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