SMH Emergency Medicine Residency targets regional physician shortage

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SARASOTA – Almost a year after launching the first residency program at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, SMH is launching a second program in partnership with Florida State University, This time in Emergency Medicine.

Starting in July 2019, a new class of residents will be joining the SMH family.

“We will have nine emergency medicine residents per year,” Dr. O’Keefe said. “It’s a three year program, so we will be gradually be building up till 27 total residents.”

The program which recently gained approval from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education will help target a shortage of ER physicians.

“Emergency medicine is relatively young as a specialty,” Dr. O’Keefe said. “And we’re still trying to get emergency residency trained physicians into some areas of the country, and this will go a long way to helping fill our local needs.”

The state’s physician workforce report shows the supply of primary care and emergency doctors in our region falls short of demand by almost 25%.

“Sarasota Memorial is one of the busiest emergency departments in the state,” Dr. O’Keefe said. “So that means at certain times of the year we’re going to have longer wait times then we would like, so certainly getting more physician hands rights up front to see these patients is going to help.”

Emergency Medicine Residency Program Director Dr. Kelly O’Keefe says the program will also improve the overall standard of care.

“We have a great level of care already, but anytime you have doctors teaching other doctors,” O’Keefe said. ‘They really have to step up their game and be on top of things.”

Dr. O’Keefe says the new program and SMH will also offer training in a community setting.

“A lot of training programs take place at academic centers,” Dr. O’Keefe said. “But the reality of the situation is that most physicians that graduate from residencies are going to be working in the community, so we’ll train them how in the community setting how to work in the community setting and it’s going to be a good match.”

Residents will also receive training in multiple departments throughout the hospital to help them get the background training they need to work in the ER.

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Samantha Sonner
Multimedia Journalist Samantha Sonner comes to the Suncoast from Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she worked as a reporter and host for KRWG TV/FM reporting on local politics, immigration, and border issues. Samantha grew up on Long Island, New York. She received her Bachelor of Science in Broadcast and Digital Journalism from Syracuse University. At Syracuse, she worked at WAER, the campus NPR station and interned at television stations in Central New York. Samantha is excited for the Florida Sunshine, and to be living so close to fantastic beaches. Feel free to follow her on Facebook and Twitter for story updates and news, or to send her story tips and ideas. You can also email her at samantha.sonner@snntv.com.