When Tidelands Health first approached the Medical University of South Carolina about collaborating on developing a residency program, Tidelands leaders had only two requests—they wanted a high-quality program developing skills physicians would need to be successful as the health system changed, and they wanted the program to be innovative. We spent a lot of time thinking about what both of those meant and how we incorporated that into the ACGME curriculum. We talked to newly minted physicians, read articles about new skill sets for physicians and thought a lot about culture and working in teams and how that impacts quality and safety. We looked at what patients said they wanted to change in health care and what nurses, pharmacists and others said about wanting to work as part of a health care team. And we looked at statistics on physician burnout and dissatisfaction with practice and wondered if we could build into our program skills to help physicians build resilience to better weather the toll of patient care, constant change and regulatory demands.
The Tidelands Health MUSC Family Medicine Residency Program has all the required elements of a traditional family medicine program delivered in a friendly, beach community setting. It is the first residency program in this health system and a source of great enthusiasm and pride for our patients, our physicians and our faculty. And all the resources of MUSC are available to you, as well. It is truly the best of both worlds—an unopposed residency with all the resources of an academic medical center. Tidelands hospitals provide a rich variety of patient complexity with patients who have chosen to come to the area from all over the United States.
But our program is so much more. We believe that in the future more and more health systems and practices will be physician led, and we need our physicians to have the skills to lead. We designed our residency with a three-year longitudinal experience (one month each year plus some didactic sessions during the year) that will train all residents to be Lean/6 Sigma green belts and educate residents about the health care system—how patients make decisions, population health, value-based purchasing and developing your own personal leadership style. In each year, a major project defines the program — a quality improvement project in PGY1, an interprofessional project in PGY2 to improve the patient experience and in PGY3, a project to design an innovative medical practice or solve a problem in a practice.
Another unique feature of our program addresses building individual resilience. Each resident will be given a fitness tracker and offered a gym membership. Weekly classes will be offered in meditation, yoga, stress reduction, nutrition and sleep. Residents will be encouraged to make healthy lifestyle and meal choices and learn how exercise can help address stress. It is hoped these skills will help our residents cope with stress, achieve a healthy work-life balance and be happy in their chosen profession.
Finally, the Tidelands Health board of trustees has committed $11 million to a brand new, state-of-the-art education and clinical center just for the residency program 10 minutes from Tidelands Waccamaw. It is slated to open in January 2018 and is located in Socastee — one of the fastest-growing areas in the United States. This facility will have 24 exam rooms, teaching and lounge space for residents, a garden for staff and residents to enjoy, a labyrinth for meditation and so much more.
The lifestyle here is unparalleled. Our area has extensive bike paths. There is a wonderful state park with wide, uncrowded beaches where you can surf and paddleboard after a long shift. There are great restaurants with fresh seafood and live music, and there is great shopping. Charleston is a short drive south and Myrtle Beach a short drive north.
This is a program you can help shape, grow and develop. We think the possibilities are endless. We are committed to training residents who can excel in practice anywhere. The Tidelands Health board is committed to the program's success, as is MUSC. If you have a genuine interest in working on a team, collaborating to improve care, building skills and leading change, we would highly encourage you to visit our program and see it with your own eyes.
Terry Steyer, MD