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Putting physicians on the fast track to family medicine

By Michael Modes

Dr. James Kent, a medium-height white male with brown hair and a beard dressed in a white lab coat and wearing a stethoscope around his collar, counsels a male patient seated on the edge of his hospital bed. The male patient has short, dark hair and is wearing an Oxford shirt.

Dr. James Kent is doing his residency as a family medicine physician at Hershey Medical Center.

Across the nation, especially in rural areas, America is facing an acute shortage of doctors to practice family medicine. Most medical schools are in big cities, so many small communities lack resources to draw top candidates to their region. With older practitioners retiring and fewer candidates ready to take their place, Penn State College of Medicine launched an accelerated program to allow students to complete medical school in three years and enter practice one year earlier.

In 2017, Dr. James Kent became the first graduate of the accelerated program, which allows students to complete medical school in just three years, followed by a three-year residency at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Part of the College of Medicine’s Family Medicine Accelerated Pathway, also known as a 3+3 pathway, the program allows graduates to save a year of tuition and living expenses, which could add up to $70,000. Kent was also selected for the Chambersburg Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC), which provides $20,000 in tuition reimbursement if he chooses to practice in one of Summit Health’s underserved areas.

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May 15, 2018 at 10:59 am Leave a comment

The Power of a Nurse: Penn State Health debuts photojournalistic project for National Nurses Week May 6-12

Mackenzie Bosse, a nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, leans over an older male patient and holds his hand. He is lying in a hospital bed and has a nasal cannula device for oxygen in his nose. A saline bag and other medications hang from a portable IV stand behind them, and a vital signs monitor is above the patient.

Mackenzie Bosse, a nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, helps a patient feel more comfortable.

By Carolyn Kimmel and Jenn Knepper

In nursing school, Chelsea Stoner learned all the necessary skills—patient assessment, medication calculations, charting—to train her for a career in health care, but nothing could prepare her for the raw emotions she would encounter.

“In every patient, I saw my neighbor, my father, my grandmother…I found myself crying in the supply room, in the parking garage and at home,” said Stoner, who works in Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s Medical Intermediate Care Unit (MIMCU). “To protect myself, I decided to shut it all off. I clocked in, did my job and left…But then I lost the most important part of nursing—the human connection.”

In time, Stoner, a registered nurse for four years, learned how to balance the many aspects of her role—technician, caretaker, physician partner, encourager—and contributor to some of the most important moments in a person’s life story.

“Some of these patients have lived for almost a century, and I get the honor of being the last person to care for them, to hold their hand and to pray with them,” she said. “This is what gets me through the day and helps me to keep doing what I’m doing.”

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May 7, 2018 at 10:48 am Leave a comment

College of Medicine students combine teamwork, community health

Hershey Plaza Apartments resident Millie Taylor sits at a table and practices brushing a large set of plastic teeth as Penn State College of Medicine students look on. Taylor is wearing a patterned blouse, From left, the students are wearing a sweater jacket, a sweater and a lab coat. Behind them are bookshelves filled with books and games.

Penn State College of Medicine students teach Hershey Plaza Apartments resident Millie Taylor proper dental care.

By Carolyn Kimmel

Millie Taylor is stir-frying healthier dinners and not spending a fortune on them, thanks to information she learned from Penn State College of Medicine students at monthly health fairs that she doesn’t even have to leave home to attend.

“They taught me how to eat healthy on a limited budget and all kinds of other things, too,” the resident of Hershey Plaza Apartments said. “It’s a wonderful thing they’re doing. A lot of our neighbors here don’t get to the doctor or the dentist on a regular basis.”

Over the past three years, the College of Medicine’s Interprofessional Student Organization (IPSO) has facilitated 21 health fairs at the senior apartment complex that combine multidisciplinary learning with community health service.

Students from all disciplines—including the physician assistant program, nursing, medical, pharmacy, physical therapy and nutrition—plan and carry out the health fairs around themes such as diabetes and cardiovascular risk, medication safety and bone density evaluations.

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May 2, 2018 at 12:40 pm Leave a comment

Cuban doctors work to reach their dreams through Hershey Medical Center program

By Diego Sandino

Participants use a heart monitor and mannequin to perform cardiology lab.

Participants of the International Medical Graduate Program work together on a cardiology lab exercise.

When Dr. Lidys Rivera Galvis arrived in the United States, one of her main goals was to take her licensing exam and then apply for residency to work as a doctor as she did in her native Colombia. What she didn’t know, however, was that achieving these goals would be a long and complex process — especially when one doesn’t know the language and has few economic resources or connections.

But with the help of Dr. Patricia Silveyra, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine, Dr. Daniel Weber, a retired obstetrician/gynecologist from Lancaster, Pa., and other community members, Rivera Galvis has successfully navigated her way through the system. She is currently serving as a fellow in Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s Simulation Education and Research Fellowship program and conducting her fellow project, an international medical graduate (IMG) program.

In January 2018, nine Cuban physicians began meeting at the Simulation Center once a week for four hours and learning from Rivera Galvis and Penn State College of Medicine faculty and students. After completing the yearlong program, these immigrant physicians will be better prepared to the United States Medical Licensing Examination. Step 1 of the exam assesses their knowledge and application of scientific concepts that are basic to practicing medicine.

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April 25, 2018 at 12:01 pm Leave a comment

Music and inspiration take center stage at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Draped in polka dots, Mary-Kate Spring of the folk band Seasons plays a harp in the Penn State Cancer Institute lobby on Feb 8. She is wearing a polka dot top with a sweater.

Mary-Kate Spring of the Celtic folk band Seasons plucks the strings of her floor standing wooden harp in the Penn State Cancer Institute lobby.

By Michael Modes

Music is a universal language. It can inspire, nurture and calm the soul beyond words.

And at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, music is a soothing balm for patients, family and staff who flow throughout the facility daily, thanks to the Center Stage Arts in Health program. Lobbies, waiting rooms and common areas become comforting oases from the waves of stress, anxiety and drama found in any hospital environment.

The founders of Penn State College of Medicine blazed the trail for Center Stage by launching a humanities department in 1967. Like the College of Medicine’s Department of Family and Community Medicine—also celebrating its 50th anniversary—the Humanities Department was the first of its kind at any medical college in the U.S. As with anything new and different, people at the time questioned why a college of medicine needed a department associated with liberal arts education.

The answer was very simple.

The importance of humanistic treatment is the guiding principle of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. And instilling this philosophy in the future doctors, nurses, faculty members and staff at the College of Medicine would result in a new breed of professionals providing care for the whole person – body, mind and soul – and elevate the college and its graduates in everyone’s eyes. The new department created a greenhouse for a variety of art and music therapies at the hospital like no other in the nation.

Center Stage Arts in Health - Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Some 50 years later, Center Stage arrived on the scene. “The program was a collaboration of hospital leadership, creative minds and the artist community.” said Claire de Boer, founder of Center Stage and current director of the Doctors Kienle Center for Humanistic Medicine, where Center Stage now resides. Today, Center Stage offers patients their choice of artworks to brighten their rooms, opportunities to create their own masterpieces while recuperating, creative writing classes with noted authors and more, in addition to its centerpiece of live music.

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April 17, 2018 at 11:04 am Leave a comment

Espenshade reflects on 35 years with Hershey Medical Center

By Lisa Maresca

A woman holds a retirement card in the card section of a gift shop. She is smiling. She is wearing glasses.

Sue Espenshade, manager of Volunteer Services, holds a retirement card in the greeting card section of the Gift Shop.

In October 1982, Epcot opened at Disney World, the USSR performed an underground nuclear test and Sue Espenshade started her career with Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Thirty-five years later, she’s preparing to say goodbye to her coworkers and volunteers – the people she calls her second family.

Espenshade first started with the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center at the Rehabilitation Hospital, located in Elizabethtown at that time, after earning her nursing degree at Lancaster General Hospital School of Nursing. There, she worked her way from night shift change nurse to assistant nurse manager, earning her bachelor of science degree at the College of St. Francis while she worked. In 1991, the Rehabilitation Unit moved to the new south addition of the main hospital in Hershey.

“It was a bit of a culture shock coming from a free-standing hospital ‘in the woods’ to a very large clinical setting,” she recalled.

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April 10, 2018 at 10:00 am 1 comment

The future has arrived: new automated laboratory testing system speeds up results and improves quality

By Katherine Brind’Amour

A woman wearing a lab coat and rubber gloves puts medical specimens in plastic holders. Behind her is a large automated lab testing equipment. A bio-hazard bin is on the right.

Senior Technical Specialist Terri Neibauer prepares to load specimens into the Roche cobas® 8100 system.

When you go shopping for testing equipment responsible for churning out 5,000 or more specimens per day—some of which have life-changing or therapy-altering implications—you have to make sure you really get what you pay for. That’s why a team of more than a dozen people took its time selecting the Roche cobas® 8000 Chemistry Analyzer and 8100 Pre-analytical System, an automated laboratory testing system so complex that you half expect it to whip up a cappuccino with extra froth for you while it processes patient samples on its conveyor belt-style “track.”

“We were looking for a way to consolidate several different analyzers into one system, connected by a very robust automation line,” says Terri Neibauer, senior technical specialist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s Automated Testing Laboratory. “We knew that the right system could help reduce the burden of manual sample tracking, expand our offerings for tests and improve our turnaround time, accuracy and quality.”

The team already has assurance they made the right choice.

Automated Laboratory Testing System - Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

A new way of doing things

“The initial perks of the Roche system were practical. It takes the place of numerous analyzers we had all over the lab, each one serviced by a different company with its own procedures,” says Thomas Stipe, manager of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Administration at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Starting in 2015, Stipe and his laboratory team members made trips to several other hospital systems to see the system and its competitors in action.

“The cobas system processes samples faster and more accurately, so it opens many future opportunities for capacity, quality assurance and research,” says Stipe. “Selecting it was the best way to make the possibilities we wanted available to us all at once.”

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April 3, 2018 at 1:47 pm Leave a comment

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