Doctors Leah Palifka, left, James Knutson, second from right, and Justin Routhier meet with their attending doctor Deborah Long while on morning rounds July 9 at Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital. (Tim Correira/The Enterprise)

Residents at Signature Healthcare are “adopted” by the hospital

By Jessica Scarpati, Enterprise staff writer

   There’s a reason they’re called residents.
   With long days, lonely nights and 24-hour weekend shifts, it’s not a stretch to say the first-year residents at Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital almost live there.
   “We adopt them for a year,” said Dr. Burton J. Polansky, director of the program and chief emeritus of the hospital’s department of medicine.
   Unlike more focused, five-year residencies in surgery or internal medicine — think, “Grey’s Anatomy” — the transitional residency program at Brockton Hospital trains new doctors in a range of medical specialties over one year.
   Instead of becoming surgeons, the residents are more likely to become anesthesiologists, radiologists, dermatologists and neurologists, said Dr. Dale Ellenberg, the program’s medical education director.
   The first-year residents — also called interns — will complete their licensing exam next year and go to other hospitals to practice their specialties.
   The program is among one of about 8,300 evaluated and accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
   Residents at Brockton Hospital make about a $45,000 and work from 40 to 80 hours per week, with three weeks of vacation.
   Most of Brockton Hospital’s residency is spent in the wards, caring for hospitalized patients who mostly have come in through the emergency room.
   Residents also divide their training between the critical care unit — working with the hospital’s sickest patients — and the emergency department.
   They also practice surgery, outpatient care, two electives and must work “nightfloat” — better known as the overnight shift, from 10 p.m. until relief comes in the morning.
   “We’re able to offer them a little bit of diversity, all of which we think is necessary to become a doctor,” Ellenberg said.

Follow three new doctors as they grow and mature in Brockton

By Norman B. Goodman, special to The Enterprise

    On June 1, a group of young doctors came through the doors of Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital to embark on a year-long journey that will shape the rest of their lives. Three of these doctors have opened up their lives to you, the readers of The Enterprise, to give a first hand look into the rigorous training, the successes and challenges, the joys and the pains they encounter, as they rotate through our inpatient units, emergency room and surgical suites.
    For more than 30 years, Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital has been a training ground for young doctors. Our academic affiliation with Tufts Medical Center includes residency programs in surgery and internal medicine. Additionally, we offer our own transitional year residency program which is being documented by “Making A Doctor.”
    This transitional residency program, started in 1976 under the leadership of Dr. Burton J. Polansky, was developed to provide the strong core of medical practice for doctors who will go on to establish themselves as excellent physicians in a variety of fields.
    In total, approximately 80 surgical and medical residents and a large number of medical students from Tufts Medical School rotate through Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital during the course of each year. We are proud of our teaching and training programs and proud of the many physicians who got their start here.
    Over the course of the coming year you will get to know James, Justin, and Leah. You will meet the doctors and nurses they work with, and the patients they treat. You will see them grow and mature.
    This dedicated group of doctors represents the future of healthcare in America. They are training in one of the most sophisticated community-based hospitals, learning the intricacies of electronic medical records, while training under the watchful eyes of some of most compassionate and clinically renowned doctors in the region.
    Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital is pleased to work with The Enterprise to bring you this coverage, and proud to serve the healthcare needs of this region.
    Norman B. Goodman
    Signature Healthcare