JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - St. Bernards welcomed the inaugural class of their new Internal Medicine Residency program with an osteopathic focus.
According to a news release from the hospital, they recognized a need in the region for more physicians with advanced training in internal medicine.
St. Bernards established the residency program to train medical school graduates in the wide field of internal medicine.
The five physicians who comprise the first class began their three-year residency program on July 1.
The program will include intensive training through observation, lectures, and working under the guidance of other physicians to provide care for patients in the hospital as well as through a resident clinic.
Among the residents selected for the program are; John Brandon Allison, D.O., a graduate of William Carey University College of Medicine in Hattiesburg, Miss.; Ryan Costello, D.O., a graduate of DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harrogate, Tenn.; Richard Dylan Murphy, D.O., a graduate of Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pikeville, Ky.; Joanne Pardun, D.O., a graduate of Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Parker, Colo.; and Bobby J. Swinney, D.O., a graduate of William Carey University College of Medicine in Hattiesburg.
Under the direct supervision of attending physicians, they have begun extensive training to become specialists in internal medicine. The residents will see patients, write prescriptions, give medical orders, document in medical records, choose treatment plans, and review them with the senior attending physician, according to the news release.
After successfully finishing the three-year program, the physicians can become independent practitioners.
"Our hope is that some of these residents will choose to remain in this area after completing the residency program," said Dr. Veryl Hodges, the internist who is serving as program director.
Hodges also noted one of the reasons St. Bernards made a substantial financial commitment to develop the program was due to the need for more IMPs who will practice in rural areas. "This gives us the opportunity to expose young physicians to those needs and to see the types of patients in this region and the types of care they need," said Hodges.
Hodge said it's a challenge to recruit internists to rural areas like Jonesboro and other communities in North East Arkansas so it made sense to bring physicians in and give them a higher level of education in hopes that some of the residents will stay in the area where they were trained.
St. Bernards will accept a new class of internal medicine residents each year, with up to eight spots available per class.
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