HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - One year after Merit Health Wesley announced the start of two new residency programs, the hospital has welcomed even more residents.
This month, the hospital has welcomed 15 new resident physicians; nine in its Internal Medicine Program and six in its Emergency Medicine Program.
Dr. Shawn Weeks is a resident physician at Merit Health Wesley and is currently six months into the program.
"You see as many patients as you can, get exposed to as many illnesses and treatments as possible, so you feel confident and ready to take on anything that comes in the door," Weeks said.
In the past year, the programs have grown from four to 25 residents. Director of Graduate Medical Education Sherry Turner, D.O., said this expansion will help to improve the quality of healthcare in Mississippi.
"If we add graduate training education, which is the training after graduation from medical school, that increases almost tenfold the number of people that will stay in that area and practice," Turner said.
According to Turner, Mississippi has the smallest number of physicians per population in the nation. She said increased graduate opportunities may help to correct limitations to healthcare.
"As we train physicians and improve the number of physicians we have throughout, that will allow those patients that don't have access to primary care currently to begin to have it," Turner said.
Residents like Weeks said the hospitals new programs also help current doctors.
"The physician in charge is training us, there is an extra incentive for them to want to be the best physician that they can be and to stay ahead of the research and to teach us to be the best physicians that we can be as the next generation of doctors," Weeks said.