Methodist welcomes new class of LMU/DCOM medical students

Partnership and Friendship

Covenant Health and LMU–DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine Collaborate to Prepare Tomorrow’s Physicians

Last month, Covenant Health and Lin­coln Memorial University welcomed 33 medical students to their clinical rotations at Covenant Health hospitals with an orientation day and “white coat ceremony” in downtown Knoxville. The event celebrated the third class to participate in Covenant Health’s clinical partnership with LMU’s DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Clinical rotations give medical students a chance to apply classroom knowledge to the real world of patient care and take place during the last two years of medical school.

Each student received a personalized white coat to wear while working and learn­ing at three Covenant Health hospitals: Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, Cum­berland Medical Center in Crossville, and Morristown- Hamblen Healthcare System in Morristown serve as core rotation sites for the program.Methodist welcomes LMU/DCOM Class of 2020 during the group's hospital orientation day.

Under the direct supervi­sion of physicians, the medical students interview and exam­ine patients, review clinical information, make hospital rounds, participate in inter­disciplinary team meetings, practice appropriate documen­tation and perform supervised procedures.

In addition to the clinical rotation classes, LMU-DCOM students also have the oppor­tunity to take part in elective experiences at other Cov­enant Health hospitals. Since the program’s inception three years ago, medical students have gained hands-on training in a variety of clinical areas including primary care, neu­rology, perinatology, radiology and orthopedics.


Encouraging Servant Leadership

Brian Kessler, DO, vice president and dean of DCOM, encouraged the stu­dents to follow the servant leadership exemplified in Covenant Health’s pledge of excellence, which empha­sizes always putting patients first.

“If you come out of your clinical environment being a servant leader, you’re going to be a phenomenal physi­cian,” he said.

Dr. Kessler quoted Abra­ham Lincoln as saying, “The better part of one’s life consists of friendships.” He said the friendship that has developed between LMU-DCOM and Covenant Health will have a lasting impact.

“I look at our friendship with Covenant Health and its commitment to excellence,” Dr. Kessler said. “It’s a phe­nomenal opportunity for both institutions to continue meet­ing the healthcare needs of our patients.”

Luke Johnson, Covenant Health executive vice presi­dent of physician enterprise and ambulatory services, said he hopes the medical students will return to the health system as physicians after graduation.

“At Covenant Health, our job is to give you the best plat­form possible for you and your patient to have the best out­come possible. We take that very seriously,” Johnson said. “We need well-trained, pre­pared physicians to be part of our community, to be part of our system, to be part of help­ing our families.”


Preparing for Clinical Training – and the Future

The luncheon followed a morning of learning for the medical students. Covenant Health senior vice president and chief medical officer Mark Browne, MD, discussed quality, safety and service. Stu­dents also heard from Mandy Halford, MD, vice president and chief medical informatics officer, about professionalism, roles and responsibilities.

Debby Saraceni, vice presi­dent of marketing and phy­sician services at Covenant Health, told the students, “To­day is a declaration of your purpose. You are formally committing to a life of service, of giving back, of caring for the sick when they are at their most vulnerable. It is a calling, and the privilege of caring for people is a sacred trust that you must earn.”

In addition to gaining hands-on training in the medi­cal field, students in the pro­gram also prepare themselves for post-graduate education. Armed with knowledge, ex­perience and connections, they are well prepared for resi­dency.

With opportunities to ex­perience a variety of medical career options during clinical training, the LMU-DCOM students also get a clearer pic­ture of next steps in their medi­cal careers. And after working at Covenant Health hospitals for two years, they understand the high practice standards ex­pected of physicians working with the region’s top perform­ing healthcare network.

“Your opportunity to have a huge impact on people’s lives is real,” said Johnson, “be­cause it’s somebody’s mom, it’s somebody’s dad, it’s some­body’s child — and that’s a very serious obligation on both our part and your part.”

Jonathan Leo, Ph.D., ex­ecutive vice dean of academic affairs at the medical college, encouraged the students to make the college proud, and in turn to make Covenant Health proud. “They have a very high bar — you need to bring your ‘A game,’” he said. “Be enthu­siastic about learning and you will do well.”

To learn more, visit or­teopathic-medicine.

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