Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point has graduated its first physician from its internal medicine education program.
Dr. Katie Groff, an Ohio native, was officially recognized at Bayonet Point’s first commencement ceremony for its Graduate Medical Education (GME) Program in Internal Medicine on June 22.
In 2013, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) approved Bayonet Point to start an accredited Internal Medicine Residency Program.
Groff joined Bayonet Point as a second-year internal medicine resident in July 2014; she previously was a resident at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pennsylvania.
“It was an honor to be the first graduate, and be able to grow and work with all the doctors that were so helpful to me, teaching me everything,” Groff said. “I think that being a part of the new program was a unique experience that not everyone gets.”
Groff, now working as a hospitalist at Bayonet Point, said her middle school anatomy classes first piqued her interest in pursuing a medical career.
While she acknowledged the residency consisted of a demanding work schedule, she pointed out her two years in the program went quickly.
“Even though it was long hours, it wasn’t as terrible as it sounds,” said Groff, who lived in Spring Hill throughout her residency. “There was a bunch of residents that I became really good friends with.”
Adhering to a well-rounded lifestyle helped, too.
“My No. 1 piece of advice would be to keep a balanced life,” Groff said. “You don’t want it to totally be about medicine, because otherwise you’ll start to resent it. Keep your hobbies, and keep your friends and family close.”
Dr. Joseph Pino, chief medical officer at Bayonet Point, referred to the commencement ceremony as a “milestone” for the medical center and its upstart GME program.
“It was the culmination of a lot of effort,” said Pino, a primary care physician for more than 30 years.
Six more residents are on track to graduate from the program in 2017, said Pino, who joined Bayonet Point in December of 2013.
Residents train on general medicine teams and specialty services, including the emergency room, which is a Level II trauma center — the only one in Pasco or Hernando counties. Moreover, the hospital has 290 licensed beds, including 70 critical care beds.
According to the Florida Department of Health, there is a critical statewide need for physicians.
A study by the American Medical Association shows nearly 30 percent of Florida’s physicians are at least 60 years old, but roughly only 10 percent of the physicians in the state are under the age of 35. The study suggests that without an influx of younger doctors, the state’s demand for physicians will even further outpace the current supply rate.
“There’s not enough physicians in training programs throughout the state to accommodate residents, and not enough places to accommodate people who need medical care,” Pino said.
The medical center recently announced an incoming class of 16 residents, bringing the GME physician total to 30. Pino said he expects future classes to hover around the same figure, but added Bayonet Point may introduce more specialty graduate programs in the future.
Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, known for its nationally acclaimed heart institute, has more than 350 physicians, 900 employees and 500 volunteers on its integrated health care delivery team.
Published July 27, 2016