Georgia Health Science University residents look for new experiences at University Hospital

Medical residents Jennifer Tomlinson, Jessica Williams, and Anxhela Treska get a tour of University Hospital from Clinical Nurse educator Julie Hendrick.

Dr. Danielah Gautier’s residency is about to get a whole lot busier, and she is excited about it.

Gautier, who is beginning her fourth year of residency in Obstetrics/Gynecology at Georgia Health Sciences University, is among a handful of residents who will begin rotations next month at University Hospital.

The move is a substantial increase from more informal relationships of one or two GHSU residents at University, which had traditionally been a teaching hospital for residents and students going back to the founding of Medical College of Georgia in 1828. That relationship was severed around 2003 when resident hours were restricted to 80 hours a week and MCG pulled back the residents from the University rotations.

Negotiations to bring them back began a few years later and more formal arrangements and memorandums of understanding have since been signed.

There will be about five residents at any given time at University over the course of the first academic year, or about 32 in 38 rotations, said Dr. William Farr, the chief medical officer for University.

“Our goal is to expand that over time, perhaps up to about 15 at any given time,” he said.

For Gautier, that means more potential patients. University had delivered 1,386 babies this year through May 31, compared with 431 for MCG Hospital and Clinics.

“This year, the number of births here at University is higher than last year and higher than we even budgeted,” Farr said.

“To date, we’re about 164 births more than we were last year,” he said.

“We’re excited about access to that,” Gautier said.

Residents must have a certain number of patient experiences to complete their residencies. That can be a struggle at times, particularly with a declining birth rate overall, Gautier said.

“I don’t think it is just MCG, I think it is kind of a national thing,” she said. “So I think us affiliating with another hospital will help us make those requirements and surpass them hopefully.”

It’s also a chance to learn from community physicians in practice, said Dr. Siva Krothapalli, who is beginning his fourth year in an Internal Medicine residency.

“There’s always a gap between what we’ve learned in training and what is actually practiced in the outside world,” he said. “This rotation will be great for us to actually get to know how it is practiced outside, and what we need to do to prepare ourselves to be better physicians outside.”

The community physicians are excited about having more residents around, too, Farr said.

While University will receive some reimbursement for the residency positions, it doesn’t cover the cost of the program, he said.

“But we do feel like it is a really worthwhile investment in the relationship with the school, for our community and to begin to really know our potential medical staff members,” Farr said.

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