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Students tour Phoebe Putney

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY -- There are many advantages for medical students to enroll in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital's newly launched residential clinical program.

The hospital's clinical staff and other hospital officials took Saturday morning to showcase the advantages of studying at Phoebe with a tour for 23 interested Medical College of Georgia students.

"We want students to come here to study and to live and practice medicine here," said Linda Boyd associate dean for regional campus coordination at the medical college.

"They would be the first class of residential students to spend an entire year here in Albany," Boyd said. "Georgia is short of doctors, especially in the rural areas. This could help with that shortage."

The new program is designed for students to take their clinical third and fourth years while residing in Albany.

To tour Phoebe and get a feel for the staff and the physicians they would study with, the students broke up into three groups.

The tour took them through cardiac-care facilities, operating rooms, emergency rooms and facilities for other medical practices including the nurturing of premature babies that could be the envy of any hospital in any major metropolitan area.

Not only would the students use top of the line equipment, they would be taught by physicians who have dedicated their lives to practicing medicine, said Douglas W. Patten, senior vice president, medical affairs.

"At present we have no paid faculty," Patten said. "They do it because they want to. They do it because they care about those who will come along behind them."

Students would be guaranteed that they will have a one on one relationship with their teachers, Patten said.

"I've pretty much 100-percent decided to come here," said George Miller, 23, of Savannah. "One of the major factors is the personal attention that I would get."

There were other factors that the students could possibly even take to the bank to make their decision to come to Phoebe.

"You have an educational debt? I know one student who had a $160,000 debt," said William A. Guest, assistant dean for curriculum. "There are 15 hospitals (in Southwest Georgia) with CEOs who will take care of it. In three or four years after you sign with them, that debt is gone."

Plans call for a former middle school across the street from Phoebe to serve the campus with offices, classrooms, a conference room and other amenities such as a physician's lounge.

Come July as many as 20 students could be based at the Phoebe campus for their third year of study.

Considering that Georgia ranks 40th in the number of physicians per capita nationwide, according to the American medical Association, it might be a start in bringing more physicians to the area.