MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Grand Strand Medical Center announced its partnership with the University of South Carolina School of Medicine for two new residency programs Tuesday.
USC president and the CEO of the medical center said they both feel the partnership will go a long way.
Starting in July, 16 residents will be walking the halls of the hospital and fully involved in every day practice, procedure and care.
Ten graduates will train in the internal medicine residency program, while the other six graduates will be in the general surgery residency program.
The program is for graduates. These residents are not considered students; residency programs are meant for doctors to choose which practice they want to take on for the rest of their careers.
The residents will act as an extra pair of eyes and hands for patients.
CEO of GSMC Mark Sims explains the partnership will be full circle.
The university and hospital will not be the only ones to benefit.
"I believe that our partnership is poised for success, and success will be defined as developing excellent physicians. And as we are developing these excellent physicians, we are going to do everything possible to encourage them to consider Myrtle Beach, Horry County, or anywhere in the state of South Carolina, as a place to practice medicine," Sims said.
The program will call for 49 residents by 2017.
Thirty graduates with internal medicine and 19 graduates with general surgery. More than 550 physicians have already applied for the first 10 openings in internal medicine alone.
"It really helps you, to get that full grasp, of what you're really participating in when you're practice with the patients, and take care of them, and see them every day, and having those conversations and making those connections," Lance Register said.
Register is in his fourth year at the USC School of Medicine and is from Horry County.
"We're going to be having a residency education program, which means educating physicians, in their specialty, ultimately to take their board certification," said Dr. Robert Goldsteen the Program Director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program.
"It's what we came here to do. It's definitely a different process than from being in the classroom, which we are for most of our lives, until we get to that point," Register said. "Now, we are out doing what we plan on doing for the rest of our lives," he added.
The average medical student spends eight years in higher education before beginning a residency, which could be anywhere from three to five years.
"My goal right now, internal medicine, is the specialty that I want to practice in,"Register explained.
The fourth-year physician said he hopes to practice in his hometown of Conway.
The two programs offered at Grand Strand Medical Center will be in internal medicine.
"Internal medicine is a specialty of doctors for adults, and so we take care of internal organs in the body, the heart, lungs, GI tract, and it's also both a consultative specialty and also a primary care specialty," Goldsteen said.
The second program will be general surgery.
"They will be assisting us in our surgery," said Dr. Stephen ReMine, program director for the general surgery.
"The upper level residents will be first assisting us, the junior level residents will actually be participating as second assistants and first assistants in simpler cases," he added. "They'll be in the operating room quite a bit."
The hospital estimates each resident will average more than 1,000 major surgery cases.
By becoming a teaching hospital, program directors believe it will be the start of a transformation and will increase both the quality of care and access to care.
"You're obviously going to have more physicians; you're going to have different specialties, different capabilities, that those physicians bring to the table," Register said.
Program directors will use their first 16 residents to build up the new program starting this July.