Roundtable: Training Future Physicians

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Preparing doctors to provide medical care for generations to come is vital work that impacts communities everywhere. Inspira Health’s residency program, which has 277 residents across 11 specialties, has been educating new physicians for over 10 years. We spoke with Inspira physicians about the educational training program and how its many benefits extend far beyond the residents it trains, and well into our South Jersey communities.



Scott Wagner, MD, President, Inspira Medical Group

Michael Geria, DO, Vice President, Academic Affairs

James Baird, IV, DO, Program Director, Emergency Medicine Residency Program, Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill

Karen Krieg, DO, Program Director, Ob/Gyn Residency Program Inspira Medical Center Vineland

David Aderholdt, DO, Inspira Medical Group Primary Care Physician/graduate of Inspira Vineland Family Medicine Residency program

Jessa Hernandez, MD, Family Medicine Resident, Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill

Bismarck Osumo, MD, General Surgery Resident, Inspira Medical Center Vineland

Nathan Fairbourn, DO, Ob/Gyn Resident, Inspira Medical Center Vineland


How a residency program benefits the community

Hospitals with residency programs have to be on the leading edge of medicine. They have to apply the most modern medicine to the care they provide patients, because they’re training young physicians to go out into the world. We’re teaching them the latest and greatest in medicine, so the community is getting the latest and greatest technology, techniques and knowledge. We’re leading the future of medicine.
Dr. Scott Wagner

Before the residency program, our hospitals were mainly run by community doctors who would come to the hospital to take care of patients before or after their office hours. The benefit of having the residency program is there are residents in the hospital 24/7. There’s always a physician to help. Having residents to be the backbone of the hospital system has been a huge positive note.
Dr. David Aderholdt

Statistics show that physicians will practice mostly in the geographic area where they train. So while many parts of the country are facing a physician shortage, residency programs are one way to help address that shortage. Also, residents increase the quality of care, because they’re learning and reading about the latest medical information.
Dr. Michael Geria

Starting Inspira’s residency program

Cumberland County was the poorest county in the state with the worst health outcomes, so the Inspira administration asked: How can we increase the quality of care? How can we recruit physicians to the area and how can we increase the footprint of the hospital? When I came to work for Inspira, I had experience in residency training, so they asked me to help. We started the residency program in 2011 with 4 programs. Since 2011, we’ve had a merger with Underwood Memorial Hospital and built a new hospital in Mullica Hill. Currently we have 15 residency programs in 11 specialties. As of July 1, we will have 277 residents across the Inspira Health Network.
Dr. Michael Geria

The appeal of Inspira’s residency program

I was kind of bright-eyed when I saw other physicians who came from big name university medical centers. I actually asked some of them, “What are you doing here?” They said, “This is where everything is. We’ve been to Harvard, we’ve been to UPenn. You don’t see the stuff there that we see here.”
Dr. David Aderholdt

You’re not going to get better training anywhere else. Attending physicians who trained at big academic centers come here and say they’ve never seen the types of cases we see here. We have a very high-risk patient population, and we’re pretty much the only player in town.
Dr. Nathan Fairbourn

Once you come here for your residency and you graduate, you could work anywhere in the world. Working here teaches you to be adaptable to any environment – you can work in a rural setting, in an urban tertiary care center, and everything in between.
Dr. James Baird

As a resident, you look for a program that not only gives you the training, but where you will feel you’ll be welcomed and supported, where your interests and your aspirations will be supported. That is exactly what I got when I came to Inspira.
Dr. Bismarck Osumo

When patients are unsure about seeing a resident

I’ve had patients say to me, “Who are you? I want to see MY doctor.” And I’ll explain that I am a doctor. I’ve graduated from medical school, but we go through something that’s like a master apprenticeship. I’m the apprentice, your doctor is the master. And she’s a fantastic teacher. She’s teaching me how to be the best, and I will talk over everything about your care with her.
Dr. Jessa Hernandez

I tell patients that I am the residency program director, and it’s my job to train 15 doctors – and they are doctors. We take a team approach to healthcare, and these doctors are part of your team. Patients get better care with a team than they would with just me.
Dr. Karen Krieg

If anyone requests to not have residents, we will ask them why and try to explain about the residency program, but if they still say they don’t want to see a resident, we acquiesce and still provide them with the highest level of care.
Dr. Nathan Fairbourn

Studies show that when an emergency department has residents, there are less medical errors and a better patient experience. Patients get through the emergency department faster. Residents elevate the care in emergency medicine for sure. I tell patients they’re getting what I call the “Inspira Special,” which is 2 doctors for the price of one.
Dr. James Baird

What makes a resident a good fit for Inspira 

I want someone who wants to be there every day, someone who comes in with a smile, ready to get busy and learn with a positive attitude. We get hundreds and hundreds of applications – in OB, we had over 400 applications for 3 spots. We look for residents who will rise to meet any challenge and do it with a smile.
Dr. Karen Krieg

Residency is a team game. Residents work with attending physicians, patients, social workers, nurses – everybody involved with the hospital system. So when we’re looking for residents, we’re looking for those team players who will continue the family atmosphere we have here.
Dr. David Aderholdt

The residency programs are a huge part of our future. These are the future physicians of the world, and we hope they’ll be the future physicians of our region. We do our best and have the utmost confidence in our residency programs to train them to become great attending physicians. And when they finish their residency, we have the utmost confidence in them and want them to stay as part of our team. We’re always happy when we’re able to bring our residents into the Inspira Medical Group family of attending physicians, so they can continue their career and stay right here in Southern New Jersey.
Dr. Scott Wagner

There’s something called the 2 am test. It has different variations, but you ask yourself, “Can I work next to this person at 2 in the morning, when I’m tired and exhausted?” It’s all about culture. But if you show up here every day and commit to the process, you’re going to be a great physician.
Dr. James Baird

The Inspira residency experience

I do believe I’m a very hard-working candidate. I wanted to be at a place where, not only would I be exposed to these pathologies, but my hard work would be utilized, and my hard work would enhance my clinical knowledge and experience. At Inspira, my hard work never went to waste. It’s been utilized. I believe I’m becoming a better clinician every day.
Dr. Bismarck Osumo

I’ve been in South Jersey since I was in middle school in Mullica Hill. And then I went to Stockton for undergrad and Cooper for medical school. So I’ve been in and around this community for umpteen years – I’ve grown here. It’s really great to have gotten so much from this community, and now give back and serve my community in a role they helped prop me up to become.
Dr. Jessa Hernandez

One of the things I looked for in a residency program was how did the residents treat each other. Did they look happy? Did they have each other’s backs? I could just tell that Inspira was a place where everybody cared about each other. I’d always planned on moving back home to Utah, but the more I was here, the more I grew to love the community. I now have children in the schools here. My wife is part of the parent/teacher organizations at their school. So I actually just signed on to stay at Inspira. So why is it important to have a residency program here? Because you bring people here and they see how awesome it is, and they stay. We’re excited to make this our home.
Dr. Nathan Fairbourn

Advice to incoming residents

I love when applicants to our residency program ask, “What can I do to be a good resident?” It tends to be a hard question to answer, but it’s really simple and basic: Show up every day, show up early, show up on time, ready to work, and always do the right thing, always take care of the patient. Be better today than you were yesterday.
Dr. James Baird

I tell the students: Don’t just look at numbers. Residency is the time when you want to see the most difficult cases, because that experience will make you a better overall doctor. So you could be in an OB/GYN residency program and do 7,000 deliveries, but almost none are high-risk. At Inspira, we have a lot of high-risk patients, we have a NICU and neonatologists, so our residents are very comfortable taking care of high-risk patients.
Dr. Karen Krieg

In addition to working hard and being part of a team, I think it’s really important to be curious and humble. You want to have a thirst for knowledge, to be a lifelong learner. You’re going to learn so much over the course of your entire career, because medicine is constantly changing and innovating. Even 20 years out, I’m still learning new things. And being humble allows you to to take all that in and become a better physician.
Dr. Scott Wagner  

June 2023
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