July 12 – Rappelling down a tower and using the “jaws of life” to extract someone trapped inside a wrecked car – these are just some of the training exercises performed by the first class of emergency medicine residents enrolled at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center.
A dozen residents preparing to become emergency physicians began training Monday at the joint Gainesville/Hall County Fire Training Center. The three-year residency begins with a week-long training that familiarizes residents with medicine outside of the hospital, before patients actually arrive in the emergency room.
“It’s a big part of medical care to know what challenges staff face before transporting a patient for us,” said Ziad Faramand, who left Jordan to enroll in the program. After his residency, he plans to work as an emergency physician in a small, tight-knit community.
“One of the strengths of our programs,” said Andy Ball, Hall County Fire Department medical director and hospital emergency physician, is that it provides a “solid experience” of what it calls prehospital medicine.
“I wanted them to have a good understanding of what’s going on in the field, because practicing medicine in a hospital is totally different from practicing medicine in the field,” he said.
Ball said the emergency medicine program at NGMC has been in the works for two years.
“The hospital started residency programs four years ago and started with internal medicine, general surgery and family medicine, then this year they added emergency medicine and psychiatry,” said Ball. At full capacity, the program will serve 36 residents.
Spencer Masiewicz, an emergency physician at the hospital and co-director of graduate medical training at NGMC, said their residents will receive more training in emergency medical services than most programs.
“I would say most programs have a day or half day of exposure to EMS and the work we do here, but we’ve put a whole week into our program,” he said.
Erin Harvath, with the West Virginia Air National Guard, said the NGMC program caught her eye because it offered more military-style training.
“Hopefully we’re going to be able to get on the planes with the flight nurses, like transferring critical patients, which is basically what I’ll do for the military,” she said. “So I kind of wanted to have a residency program to prepare for the military side.”
Banky Oderinde, who wants to one day open his own urgent care centre, said the hardest part of Monday’s practice was rappelling down the tower.
“I was shaking, but I made it,” she laughed.
People involved in the program, from instructors to residents, spoke about the importance of teamwork and how it will help physicians better serve their patients.
“The other part, which is essential, is the EMS, they actually transport the sickest patients,” Faramand said. “Working closely with them just helps us manage the sickest patients better.”