Dr. Thomas McLaughlin found it quite timely when, in 2006, he received a call about starting a new Emergency Medicine Residency program at CHRISTUS Spohn in Corpus Christi. Following an emergency medicine career in the Air Force, leading a medical residency program was exactly what he was looking for.

In 2007, Emergency Medicine joined CHRISTUS Spohn’s Graduate Medical Education Department along with the Family Medicine Program, which has been training family medicine residents in Corpus Christi for 45 years. Today, these programs have a national reputation for excellence in medical education resulting in Corpus Christi drawing some of the best medical students from all over the country. The programs have become very competitive with hundreds of students applying every year for an opportunity to rotate in the EM and FM programs.

Residents entering either Family or Emergency Medicine programs can expect a rigorous schedule – up to 80 hours a week for three years. However, their training is enhanced at CHRISTUS Spohn by not having to share patient care responsibilities with residents from other specialties, which is typical at other hospitals. Instead, they ARE the medical team that gets to work one-on-one with skilled CHRISTUS Spohn physicians and surgeons. Dr. Yvonne Hinojosa, Program Director for Family Medicine, and Dr. McLaughlin agree that this hands-on style of training makes the programs unique, and therefore attractive, to potential residents.

“It is the hands-on learning our family residents get during their years of training in multiple disciplines of medicine that’s important for their development as great physicians,” Dr. Hinojosa said. Those disciplines include obstetrics, newborn care, pediatrics, women’s health, adult medicine and geriatrics. This extensive training means that family physicians graduating from our program are involved in a patient’s health care for that individual’s entire life, a benefit to the community of the Coastal Bend.

Emergency residents learn how to respond to a wide range of acute medical and traumatic conditions by training in a hospital that is an accredited stroke center, chest pain center and trauma center. Training in this environment under the guidance of skilled emergency physicians, trauma surgeons and intensivists makes this a special place for learning. Dr. McLaughlin is proud of the fact that when he speaks to graduates or the doctors who hire them, a word he often hears is “well-prepared”.

CHRISTUS Spohn has undertaken a large construction project that includes new facilities that will enhance resident education and patient care. Recently completed projects include a family medicine health center, an urgent care center, a pharmacy, and specialty clinics at the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Family Health Center. Additional facilities that are slated to open in the coming months include a state-of-the-art emergency department, an advanced simulation laboratory and educational classrooms at the Shoreline Tower.

The Graduate Medical Education program graduated 12 Family Medicine residents, 10 Emergency Medicine residents, 2 Obstetrics & Women’s Health Fellows and a Geriatric Fellow in a ceremony held on June 22nd. Graduates head for new careers after graduation to all areas of the country. However, some residents choose to pursue their careers in medicine here in Corpus Christi, benefiting the local community. When Dr. McLaughlin arrived in 2006, there was a limited number of board certified emergency physicians in Corpus Christi. This summer, all 27 emergency physicians practicing at CHRISTUS Spohn are board certified or in the process of becoming board certified which is partly due to graduating residents remaining to practice here in Corpus Christi. Family medicine residents become board certified in April prior to graduation. A physician with a medical board certification has completed a residency and taken rigorous tests that demonstrate an exceptional level of expertise in their field.

Corpus Christi and the surrounding communities can rest assured that the Graduate Medical Education Residency Programs produce the best physicians to look after their health care needs now and in the future.

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